Steam Game Festival 2021: Windjammers 2 online hands-on preview

After a brief delay, Windjammers 2 has returned and Dotemu is showing off the new netcode system it built for online play. Was the wait worth it?

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Like many, I was disappointed last year to find out that Windjammers 2 would be falling off of the 2020 release schedule as Dotemu delayed it into 2021. However, once I learned the reasoning behind the delay, it was hard not to cheer Dotemu’s decision on. In an era where in-person tournaments are still very much a cloudy prospect thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the developers chose to rebuild Windjammers 2’s online system with rollback netcode. For a game where the main component is Neo Geo arcade-style, fast-paced, and head-to-head disc-throwing competition, good online play has become absolutely necessary. Finally, here in early 2021, I got to see a little bit of the fruits of their labor in action with Windjammers 2’s Steam Game Festival 2021 demo, and dang is it shaping up to be worth the wait.

The online play Windjammers fans need

On offer for this particular early version was an offline exhibition mode, three characters to choose from, and three courts to play on, as was available in the 2020 demo. However, the major new feature of Windjammers 2’s Steam demo is the availability of its online systems with the new rollback netcode, so I jumped right into a long gauntlet of online quick matches. Right away, one of the major things I noticed is that Windjammers will tell you what kind of ping your opponent is rocking right out of the gate and has some prominent warnings if the ping is high. That will probably be a relief to many players concerned about being caught up in a poorly connected match.

In game, I’m happy to say that my matches were buttery smooth. Nearly every match between my opponents and I was responsive, incredibly fast-paced, and thoroughly enjoyable. I got into some serious back and forth volleys with some competitors with no sign of frame delay during any of the competition. I did even eventually get into a match with a poor connection and got to see the rollback feature for Windjammers in action firsthand. Rather than delay the action or stagger it in serious lag, the game seemingly paused for a second and then returned to a previous state where the match continued on in completely stable fashion. It was everything I wanted to see from Windjammers 2 online and more.

See you on the courts

I feel like anyone who has been eying Windjammers 2 needs to see what its online can do for themselves, but I’m glad to have gotten a taste of what Dotemu put together with the release delay. In a world where we don’t exactly know when we’re getting together for in-person events, solid online play in a competitive game like Windjammers 2 was an absolute must. Having had a chance to take these systems through their paces and feel what they can do, I’m more excited than ever to see Windjammers 2 bring a new era of over-the-top Neo Geo-style disc-flinging competition to the table. When it finally launches, I can’t wait to throw down with friends and rivals, online and off.


This preview is based on an early Steam demo build provided by the publisher. Windjammers 2’s new online demo is available in the Steam Game Festival 2021.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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