When I first heard about Log Jammers after happening upon the game’s Steam Store page I honestly thought, “Oh no, not another one of these retro-style, obscure sports games”. After having spent some time with the game I am pleasantly surprised by its depth, unique spin on a niche genre, and just how fun it is to play. A couple of E3’s ago, a little title called Wind Jammers— which Log Jammers riffs off of and takes its inspiration from—was revealed to general excitement and enthusiasm from the gaming press and attendees of the show. I realized I must be missing the appeal of the genre and felt the need to check out this kind of game if I ever got the chance. I had never played any games like this before, and the closest comparison I can make to how Log Jammers plays is Super Dodgeball Advance.
In Log Jammers, play consists of a one vs. one match up between parodies of various horror movie characters and cliches. The skeleton man, zombie, murderous lumberjack, and many other popular frights are all represented here. The first player to win two out of three rounds is the victor.
As the game is called Log Jammers, each contestant is constantly running in place on a floating log while attempting to either knock the other player off of their log or score in the other player’s goal. Only, unlike the game Log Jammers is inspired by, a throwing axe is used here in place of a disc or frisbee. While gameplay reminded me of Super Dodgeball Advance, the game is more a combination of Dodgeball and Air Hockey, as plenty of strategy is involved in each match with how hard players can throw the axe and how they wish to angle their shots.
Players have an arsenal of random power ups that will appear throughout the match, as well as a special ability which acts as a super powerful shot that can be used to take out an opponent or send your axe flying right through him or her and into the goal. Bank shots off of the sides of each arena are also good ways to strategically aim for big points. You can even catch an opponents throw and send the axe flying right back at them or use your boost to launch a more powerful throw. Timing is just as important as any good throw and fake outs are prevalent, both from the AI and from the player during some more intense match ups.
For solo players, there is a Tournament mode and a quick match option that is best used for getting the mechanics of gameplay down pat before venturing online to challenge other players. There are currently 8 characters to choose from, including humans, skeletons, zombies, monsters, and even a bear. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses spread across any of three categories: Speed, Swole (stength), and Technique.
There is also a twist on the traditional 1v1 matchups in the form of Cheerleader Mode. In this mode, gameplay is basically the same except that each player has a row of cheerleaders blocking the entrance to their goal. This adds a new layer of strategy and mind games as players will need to decide whether to take out a few cheerleaders to make room for bank shots to clear the goal, or to use a powerful special ability throw to take out multiple cheerleaders at once while simultaneously scoring. Obviously, taking out the entire row of cheerleaders will leave your opponent’s goal completely unprotected, and they will have to rely solely on their own skills to defend against your axe throws and bank shots.
I look forward to seeing what developer and publisher Mega Cat Studios is able to accomplish with Log Jammers in the months leading up to its February 2019 launch. There is even a physical Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge that will be available through the developer’s website for all of the collectors out there who prefer physical copies of games over digital.
Preview code generously provided by Megacat Studios.