Disc Jam, made by a two man team at High Horse Entertainment, is a combination of air hockey and table tennis that allows players to play as one of four characters. Is it any good?
In a word: eh.
There are two tutorial sessions available to introduce players to the variety of standard and special throw types and other controls. Once those are completed, there’s nothing left to do but jump into matches. The controls are simple enough that pick up and play is possible, but some of the game’s more advanced mechanics will elude players who opt to skip the tutorials.
The idea is simple: players compete in best of three matches in which sets are played to 50 points. Points are earned by getting the disc to hit the ground on your opponent’s side of the court. Aces are worth 10 points, and remaining point values change based on the length of the rally—meaning that it could be in your best interest to keep a rally going and capitalize on points. It adds a bit of depth to an otherwise shallow game, which is a necessity.
The game is built for online play. Offline is available, but it’s tucked away at the bottom of its main menu. Once you get there, the first option, the one that’s highlighted from the second that screen is visible, is going back to online play. Sure, you can play singles or doubles matches offline, but it’s clear that’s not how the developers intend for the game to be played.
And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with online-centric games—but they have to make players want to keep coming back. Disc Jam doesn’t. I played a few matches offline and online, and there’s nothing imploring me to come back to either. The gameplay is good, but it’s nothing special. There are a ton of things to unlock in online play, but most seem superfluous and I can’t say the game’s given me any reason to care about unlocking them.
Disc Jam is fun enough in the moment, but it’s never fun enough that I wasn’t thinking about other things I could have been doing with that time or other online-focused games that took a firm grasp on my attention and didn’t let go for months. It doesn’t have the ‘one more match’ draw of Rocket League and others, which is essentially a death sentence for a game like this.
And that death sentence may already be underway. Matchmaking was sluggish at best. It took over a minute to find a match on every occasion, and I once got put into a match that didn’t actually have another player in it. Not exactly a promising experience considering the game’s barely out of the gate and it’s readily available to every PlayStation Plus subscriber.
High Horse Entertainment likely didn’t intend for Disc Jam to be the next Rocket League, but comparisons are inevitable when the two games share so many basic similarities—especially since both launched as ‘free’ games on PlayStation Plus. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand up to those comparisons. It barely stands on its own.
What I played:
Completed both in-game tutorials, spent a few minutes refreshing skills in training, played multiple offline and online singles and doubles matches.
Disc Jam is, at its best, a fun throwaway game to play for a few minutes. That’s not enough.