We're not entirely sure who's responsible for Windjammers' sudden surge in popularity, but we're thankful for it all the same. The Frisbee-based NeoGeo cult classic – which itself is set to get a PlayStation 4 port later this year – has inspired a string of copycats, with Disc Jam being the first to reach open beta on Sony's new-gen machine. But in an increasingly competitive market, has it got what it takes to stand out?
Actually, yes – it's very entertaining. There's a lot of depth on display here, from perfect throws all the way through to curved shots. Your objective is essentially to toss the disc beyond the reach of your opponent, using all manner of techniques to get the upper-hand. You can, for example, lob your adversary – or catch them out of position using drop shots. There are also super shots which act like smashes when you're underneath the Frisbee, but you can also block the disc to get the airtime required to launch a devastating throw.
On the defensive side, tight controls and a satisfying slide mechanic mean that you'll be sprinting around the court, desperately trying to block your opponent's throws. Good timing allows you to throw faster returns, though this can be finicky and is something that needs to be fixed once the game is out of open beta. The scoring system seems to take into account the length of rallies, but a little more feedback on that would be welcome.
But here's the all-important question: is it the next Rocket League? Well, no – not right now, anyway. While the gameplay is almost there – a bit of tightening on the direction of shots would also be appreciated – the presentation doesn't quite match-up. The game looks fine, but a big part of Rocket League's appeal is how compellingly it's presented and that moment of ecstasy when you score a goal; Disc Jam's not quite there yet.
But a bit of polish and it's in with a shot. Even at this open beta stage the net code is very good, and while there aren't many options, we're attracted to the concept of character customisation. Currently you earn currency which can then be invested into capsule machines in order to personalise your very own protagonist. Good stuff. It just needs that sprinkle of magic to spruce it up and take it to the next level, but it's a strong start.
You can claim your own free Disc Jam beta code through here to try it out for yourself. All you have to do is enter an email address and you'll be sent a code, which is nice, isn't it?