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Disc Jam (PS4) Review

"A modern take on a cult classic the next sports game phenomenon?"

In recent years, a cult classic has been getting gamers’ attention again. That game is Windjammers. For those that don’t know, it is a Neo-Geo disc throwing game full of simplicity and also depth. Many developers recently have been trying to tap back to it’s success in the 90s. Even though the game is getting remastered on PS4, the two-man team of High Horse Entertainment attempts a modern take at it. The result is Disc Jam, where it’s Windjammers but in 3D, but is it the next big sports game phenomenon?

Disc Jam is taking a route similar to Psyonix’s Rocket League. The game is free on PlayStation 4 thanks to PlayStation Plus for it’s first month of release. High Horse is hoping to establish a big player base before diving deeper into DLC and microtransactions. In it’s current state, the content offering isn’t much in terms of modes. Disc Jam is multiplayer heavy with online options of singles or doubles matches. There’s also local options with split or shared screens, but the meat of the package now is in the online. Unfortunately, no single player content like practicing against bots or a campaign of sorts is in. Plus I don’t think High Horse plans on doing a season mode like Windjammers or Rocket League.

What makes up the lack of modes is the gameplay and Disc Jam┬áis┬áindeed addictive to play. It definitely has this easy to learn, hard to master style of depth. Discs can be thrown in a variety of angles and mixing them up is effective towards success. The tutorials do a good job of teaching those mechanics before diving into online matches. Plus there’s a timing element with power throws. Throwing the disc the instant you catch is a perfect throw with more speed. Add that along with curving for a certain wall bounce and scoring is pretty satisfying. Rallies for higher points can get intense quickly with players executing consecutive perfect throws. Mixing in lobs to surprise opponents is also a big part of strategy depending on their position. However, a bad lob can lead to a super throw which it’s path can be customized in different ways.

The characters in Disc Jam also add some depth to the table as well. Currently there are four to choose from with different stats. Stanton is your bulky dude that throws discs with more power and slide better to get a disc. Gator is the all around guy. Makenna has faster speed and better curve throws. Lastly, the ninja Haruka is the fastest of the bunch and a tricky throw style. I’m interested to see High Horse keeps going with new characters with their designs and abilities. The roster now has some charm and the different stats do result in different playstyles. Customization consists of skins, taunts, victory poses and discs. These can be unlocked by the prize machine after accumulating money from matches. The prize machine drops a random item and dupes can be exchanged for money. We’ll see if microtransactions get involved with this in the future.

I found myself playing online singles matches with the majority of time I had with Disc Jam so far. Doubles add a whole layer of strategy where I noticed more players busting out shields to deflect disc throws. That alone makes it fun along with the chaos of four players duking it out. The servers have been going up and down during it’s first week, but they seem to be working fine as of this writing. Netcode can also be hit and miss depending your connection to other players as well. High Horse is planning more new modes after launch that will be fun alternates to the core gameplay. Hopefully they they release new stages quickly however because I’m already getting tired of the only arena matches are being played.

The gameplay foundations are definitely there for Disc Jam and it’s fun to play. I tend to get that “one more match” mentality whenever I play. Fortunately rematching online players is fast and easy especially against players with similar skill. The package currently is not there as more modes and leaderboards are gonna be out soon. Despite that, it definitely scratches that Windjammers itch for those that love that game. Can be it the next Rocket League though in terms of long term support and e-sports tournaments? Time will tell but Disc Jam has the potential to be the next sports phenomenon. The game is free on PlayStation Plus for the rest of the month, so if you got a PS4 now, get this game before the price is $15-20 like it is on Steam.

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • Fun, addictive yet deep gameplay
  • Fast rematching option
  • Characters with different stats and playstyles
  • Free on PS+
Cons
  • Lack of content in the current package
  • Servers were on & off but working now
  • Netcode hit & miss pending on connection

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