This guide will focus on explaining some of the hidden or poorly explained mechanics of this game.
Windjammers 2 is the sequel to an almost 20 years old arcade game from Data East on Neo Geo systems. As the intent of the developer was to recreate the same gameplay of the original while expanding its mechanics and its content, we can expect that the majority of the knowledge about the first game will transfer to the new one. This is indeed the case: while adding some new twists, the core gameplay is almost obsessively faithful to the frisbee-tron-fighting game hybrid from 1994.
In this guide I will try to delve into some of the most obscure, poorly explained or less understood mechanics of this title. I will use both existing knowledge, my own experience with the game (from the arcade cabinet to emulators like Fightcade) and my own research in the attempt to give some extra tips to those who aren’t familiar with how the game works.
In this section I will only talk about the mechanics that are strictly new to WJ2. I will be referring to the default controls on a Xbox controller for this.
Slap Shot (X without disc)
The slap shot is a new move that allows you to immediately send the disc back without having to catch it. Its mechanics are mostly shared with Toss (we’ll talk more about that later), except it has a bigger hitbox. A perfect slap shot will be thrown back at max speed.
Pressing a direction other than back or forward while Slap Shotting will send the disc back at an angle following the same rules as regular throws – up-back and down-back will throw at a steep angle that bounces on the side walls a lot, while up-forward and down-forward will throw at narrow angles toward the corners.
Drop Shot (B without disc)
Drop Shot allows you to parry an upcoming disc and quickly bounce it close to the opponent’s net, which is the equivalent of a bunt. Not catching it in time counts as a miss (generally 2 or 4 points), same as a Lob. Once again, the mechanics for the parry are shared with Toss or Slap Shot.
There are two ways of dealing with a Drop Shot besides catching it: you can pop it off the ground with a Power Toss, or you can Drop Shot it back to the opponent (this will also give you an achievement!).
Jump (Y without disc)
Jumping lets you catch any airborne disc before it touches the ground. It works with Tosses, Lobs and Super Lobs.
All jumps move the player horizontally forward the same distance regardless of the character or direction you’re holding. Different characters however seem to have different jump speeds; this is mostly noticeable with J. Costa which has a significantly slower jump than the other characters (I’m not 100% sure if this is intended).
Smash/Roll Smash (A/B/Y with the disc during a Jump)
If you caught the disc during a jump, pressing any button except X while still airborne will quickly slam the disc to the ground. You can change slightly the direction of it by holding a direction on your controller.
The behavior of the disc after being slammed to the ground will change depending if you were charged or not before jumping:
- If you weren’t charged, the disc will will just hit the ground (same as a Lob) and will count as a miss if not picked up. This is called a Smash.
- If you were charged, after hitting the ground the disc will start spinning vertically towards the goal in the same way as a Super Lob. This is called a Roll Smash.
Like Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Windjammers 2 added a super meter to the bottom that will fill up as the game progresses. Any game action whether it’s throwing, slapping, lobbing or tossing will fill up the meter slightly, while scoring goals will fill it up the meter significantly for the throwing player and dramatically for the receiving player.
Power Toss (A+B without the disc)
Once your super meter is full, pressing A+B will unleash a powerful shockwave surrounding your character. Any disc caught in the range of the shockwave will be Tossed high up in the air for an easy charge, including discs that are rolling on the ground after a Lob/Roll Smash.
Power Toss is the strongest defensive move in the game; it’s a free get-out-of-jail card when used properly, so you should try to hold onto your meter as much as needed in order to have access to it in case of emergency.
Important: Power Toss will pop up the disc even if it’s on the opponent’s side of the field. Make sure to not perform it too early/too close to the net or you might be giving your opponent a free toss!
Power Disc (A+B with the disc)
Pressing A+B with your disc in hand while at full meter will unleash a powered up version of the Super Custom of your character. The trajectory and properties will be the same as the regular one.
Unlike regular Super Customs, this one is NOT affected by how fast you throw it, so you can delay it to catch your opponent off guard. I still don’t recommend to use this very often because it’s rather predictable and not nearly as useful as Power Toss.
Tips, Tricks & Secrets
Throw Strength and Supersonic Shots
The strength of your throws depend not only on the character you’re using, but on how fast you throw the disc back after catching it. The faster you send it back, the stronger your throw will be. You can’t hold the disc forever in hand either: after a set amount of time it will be sent to the opponent with the slowest speed possible.
This is not an expected mechanics in a frisbee game and it’s probably the mechanics that newer players fail to understand the most at first, although it only generally takes a few matches to grasp it.
If you throw the disc back to your opponent right after catching it you will perform what is commonly called a Supersonic Shot, clearly distinguishable by the glowing trail behind the disc and the character shoutout. The window to perform a Supersonic Shot will be larger for players who are behind on points and will become larger if the players is receiving a Supersonic. Also the window for Supersonics is larger for faster characters than for slower characters.
While throwing the disc back as fast as possible is recommended, there are some advantages in choosing to delay your throws:
- Slower throws can throw off your opponent’s reactions; they might slide too soon expecting a faster throw and/or start panicking because the disc wasn’t where they expected to catch it.
- Lobs will be thrown closer to the net the more time passes after catching the disc. This lets you force defensive opponents to get closer to the net.
- Curve Throws will change their arcs quite dramatically according to the throw strength.
Contrary to what the in-game tutorial suggests, Curve Throws only require quarter circle motions to be performed, and they can be done from ANY direction to ANY other direction (e.g. down to forward or up-back to down-back). The resulting arc will depend on the final two inputs of your motion.
The Curve Throw arcs are probably what differentiates the characters the most besides the movement speed and the Super Customs. Stronger/slower characters tend to throw at wider radiuses that deceptively bend towards the corners and can throw off many dash attempts, while weaker/faster characters tend to throw at smaller radiuses with sharp turns that can confuse the opponent.
Curve Throws and Super Spins are probably the best tools in the game for tricking your opponents and scoring goals, so I recommend to practice them in all directions with all the characters.
Directional Toss/Slap Shot/Drop Shot
Pressing any direction after tapping the Toss/Slap Shot/Drop Shot will make your character perform a short dash in that direction while retaining the corresponding parry stance. This can be performed even more easily by just holding A/B/X and then pressing the direction.
This above is probably the most important mechanics that is NOT explained in the tutorial (whether for the original game or this one). It significantly extends the range of all your Tosses, Slap Shots and Drop Shots, allowing you to get hits that you wouldn’t normally get, especially if you’re playing online with some input delay.
Super Customs are the equivalent of fighting game supers. While they are different for every character, the behavior of each character’s Super Custom will always be the same. You can only change its trajectory by choosing up or down while throwing it.
I will give here a quick rundown of each Super Custom in the game:
- J. Raposa: Tiro destrutivo (Destroyer Throw). The disc goes horizontally along the wall (like Miller’s super) for a while, then does a circle around the field and hits the goal on the same side it started.
- H. Mita: Lightning Wave. The disc moves in a wave pattern forward.
- S. Miller: Sonic Cannon Shoot. The disc sticks along the wall until it hits the goal.
- S. de Lys: Bomb Disc. The disc moves forward slowly, then after almost stopping it suddenly boosts forward at a narrow diagonal angle.
- L. Biaggi: Tiro a vortice (Vortex Throw). The disc spins twice in circle, then usually starts sticking onto a wall towards a goal. It’s pretty close to a Super Spin, although it can have more confusing patterns sometimes.
- J. Costa: Tornado matador (Killer Tornado). The disc zigzags a couple times diagonally then boosts straight for the goal at a diagonal angle.
- G. Scott: Black Shoot. The disc bounces on the wall at increasingly
- K. Wessel: Raketenwurf (Rocket Throw). The disc zigzags in a square pattern towards the goal.
- H. Max: (name unknown). The disc bounces once on a wall, then once hitting the second wall it starts tumbling towards the goal. This is probably one of the best Super Customs in the game due to how fast it is and how confusing it looks.
- S. Ho: (name unknown). The disc goes into a straight line, then disappears and reappear on the opposite side. This can happen multiple times and every time the disc reappears it will be closer to the wall.
- Disc-Man: (name unknown). It moves in a wave pattern towards the goal, similar to Mita but with a narrower pattern.
Super Custom Pushback
When receiving a Super Custom or a Power Disc, your character will suffer a certain pushback depending on the strength of the throw. If your character is too close to the goals while receiving a strong Super Custom you will actually be pushed right into the goal with the disc itself and the opponent will score.
It is recommended to position yourself slightly closer to the center when receiving a Super Custom in order to avoid getting pushed into the goals.
Positioning on the Field
Windjammers has been often compared to Pong for its mechanics; however, when it comes to the character positioning on the field it actually resembles tennis the most. In order to maximize the ability of catching incoming discs, your character should stay relatively close to the goals (but not too close – cf. Super Custom Pushback above) and in the middle of the field, which will give you the most time to adjust to the trajectory and cover most of the possible angles.
Obviously like in tennis you can also go closer to the net to pressure the opponent with fast volleys, but beware that if they catch the disc they can also abuse it to throw it back at angles where you cannot possibly catch the disc.