Disc Jam Review(Switch)
Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Time To Jam?
Disc Jam is an action arcade sports title developed and published by High Horse Entertainment released on February 8th on Nintendo Switch.
If you're thinking of Pong or WindJammers right now or while you are playing this game then you're right on point. Disc Jam clearly gets its inspiration from those games mentioned and even straight out of the Discs Of Tron,which dates back to 1983. This isn't a bad thing because it shows the developers at High Horse Entertainment have the pulse on what makes games like Pong still fun even in the modern age.
The game play of Disc Jam is like air hockey on steroids. Its fast paced and a very on your feet type of play style. Each match you play is either 1v1 or 2v2. Your objective in each match is to toss a floating disc back and forth against your opponent with the goal of throwing it past them into a goal line.
Pressing the throw button immediately after receiving the flying disc in your hands will allow you to initiate a power throw. You'll know you have executed the move correctly because it will turn pink and the disc will go faster than it did previously. This can help throw off your opponent if they've gotten used to any of the standard throwing methods.
There are a variety of different ways to get the disc passed your opponent to score and there are also ways to maximize how many points you get at the exact same time. In this game you have multiple throwing methods such as your standard forward throwing,which throws the disc in a straight path to your opponent. You also have curved throws using your left and right trigger buttons on your Switch controller that allows you to curve all your throws to the left or right to confuse your opponent. Finally there's a lob throw that tosses the disc high in the air and makes it land in a specific part of the arena in a very floaty manner.
In regards to maximizing your points,this is where it can get very competitive and sometimes makes it a game of who gets luckier. Every time you or an opponent blocks and catches the disc before it hits your or their goal, the point meter goes up in the middle of the arena. The point meter starts at zero and gradually moves up numbers every time the disc hits the walls or you and your opponent catches the disc. This can be vital in instances where you're down 10-15 points or more because ALL POINTS can be made back instantly if you score on a shot where the point meter is up in number. I.E. Point meter is at 20, but you're down 15 points, scoring on this shot would give you the lead.
There is a downside to the game that I will mention, if you're coming into this game expecting a single player arcade mode of any substance,you will not find it here. Instead the only ''single player'' aspect you will find is in the form of a Ghost Arcade mode. In the Ghost Arcade mode you are tasked with going up against various online players Ghost Data. Meaning its just an AI controlled character based off the online players data during their game play. This is actually very underwhelming as they do not offer the same level of difficulty as an actual designed AI that varies in skill level.
The core aspect of this game is its online play. This is the games strong point(but also weakness),which focuses heavily on the cross platform play with PC ,but unfortunately not PS4. If you want to have any amount of fun in this game, your best bet is to hop online and get your disc throwing pants on. The main problem with this game being online focused is the game's future viability and long term life is going to depend on how popular and how active the online community is and will stay. Once the game starts shrinking within the online community,then long term the game might not be very playable in the future.
Graphically Disc Jam runs really smooth and looks great while doing it. I've tested both handheld and docked mode and both offer relatively the same experiences on each in regards to frame rate and resolution. I personally didn't notice any frame drops,lags or problems with the resolution and look during my play sessions I had with the game. Which is a big plus to the developers of High Horse Entertainment in my book. For clarification purposes I'd like to add this game is 60fps w/ 1080p on docked and 720p on handheld.
Overall Disc Jam is a decent attempt at a Discs Of Tron,Windjammers type of game and that's saying a lot considering this was made by just a two man team,so you got to tip your hat off to what they were able to pull off with this. However having said that, with all the good they did,also comes with the bad. Lack of a real single player mode and over emphasis on the online aspect(which questions the long term future), for me personally I say hold off and wait for a sale for the time being. For those that don't care about single player and love online focused games only,this may be the title for you,but again,me personally, I say sit on it a little more.
Disc Jam is out now on Nintendo Switch
*Review copy provided by Terminal.io and High Horse Entertainment