Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony review

Type: Action/Side-scrolling shooter Developer:  Final Form Games Release Date:  Jun 8, 2011 Official Website: http://www.finalformgames.com/jamestown/ Note:  This isn’t exactly a new game, but considering It went on sale multiple times and […]

Type: Action/Side-scrolling shooter
Developer:  Final Form Games
Release Date:  Jun 8, 2011
Official Website: http://www.finalformgames.com/jamestown/

Note:  This isn’t exactly a new game, but considering It went on sale multiple times and most notably during the Holiday Sale, I figured I’d give the game a once over.  Thanks!

I was never a fan of shoot-em-up games. Games like R-type, Galaga, and Defender were all lost to me as a kid, mostly for the fact that I suck. It’s true, I’m terrible. Hell, if you watched me play Who’s That Flying or any other of my let’s plays that involve holding down a button and laying waste to millions of enemies, then you already know this. So, I started up Jamestown without high expectations. I was going to play it to have as much fun as possible, without raging out like I normally do. It just so happens that with Jamestown, raging just wasn’t going to happen.

Let me say now, Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony is an awesome game.

Everything from the story, to the action, to the controls and art style, there is nothing that is lacking. You play as a man named Raleigh, a man hunted by his own countrymen for crimes that he never committed. Instead of standing and facing judgment, he flees to the colony of Jamestown on distant mars, looking to clear his name by helping fend off invading Spanish conquistadors and their Martian allies.

Head spinning yet? Good, that’s the awesome kicking in.

The game takes place in an alternate reality 17th century, where through steampunk-esque technology, Europe has taken to the stars to spread their vast empires. Enemies and allies alike are all dressed accordingly, from metal plated whirligigs fighting under the Spanish banner, to strange tentacle beasts that roam the skies and land. One of the opening levels actually shows off a troop of brave redcoats trying to fend off the invaders with laser muskets, but are forced to retreat onto an airship which looks similar to something you’d be seeing in Master and Commander. Being a huge history buff, I was pleased to see this kind of tampering with the timeline. It’s not every day you see something so original.

As Raleigh, you fly in some kind of jetpack-fighter-hybrid thing that is packed with more firepower than an A-10 Warthog. As enemies pour out from the top and sides of screens as with most shooters, you’ll find you can easily dispatch enemies by holding down the left mouse button, or whichever control configuration you decide to use. The levels are played out like the classic 1945, letting you destroy not only air, but land and sea targets as well. To me, this variety in enemies makes it a nice change of pace from some other games I might have played. (Cough! WTF? Cough!)

Killing enemies will disperse golden and copper nuts and bolts into the air. Called Gold, this currency is used to fill a small bar in the upper left of the screen. Once filled, you’ll be able to activate your “Vaunt,” a special attack which grants you a massive shield and doubles damage inflicted. Knowing when to pop your Vaunt ability and when to save it is key, as your shield will absorb every enemy shot in your vicinity, adding to your total score.

Doing well during missions gives you cash which you can then take to the Shoppe, a small vendor that can be visited in between levels and on the main menu. The Shoppe lets you purchase several new ships with different firing modes, as well as a slew of new content and game modes such as Gauntlet. Mastering which ship should be used for each level is a game in and of itself, as there are a huge variety of ships. This variety is a great change of pace, and can help you master some of the later levels which tend to be relentless.

The soundtrack and plethora of effects are top notch as well. The 16-bit look and heart pumping music flowing through your speakers are great additions to the fluid and sometimes nerve-wracking gameplay. Enemies explode in a satisfying boom, and guns blast in crisp laser pews. Nothing wrong in the audio/visual department.

With that said, everything isn’t all shiny and happy in Jamestown.

I do have a few gripes, some of which may or may not be the game’s fault. For one, the game is waaaay too short. It consists of five, maybe six levels total, all of which are short to begin with. Eventually, the game will stop you from progressing, forcing you to replay older levels on a higher difficulty in order to proceed. BLECH!

Now, I understand it’s an indie game and I also understand there are constraints, but forcing me to replay the game as a way to make it beefier just seems like a lame attempt to trick me. I’m not stupid. I’m not going to think it’s twice as long just because I had to play the same levels over and over.

I also felt that some of the ships you can unlock were considerably weaker than others, almost to the point of not being worth the money to unlock them. The “Bomber” ship for example, seems to only be in the game to make it harder.

So that’s it. I’d say if you’re a fan of shoot-em-ups, Jamestown should be a priority. If you’re new to, or like me never really cared about about the genre this game will get you hooked. Like most indie games, it’s cheap, fun, and makes time fly. You can buy the game on Steam if you’re a PC gamer. Which if you’re not… well I’m not sure why you’re here…But, I hope you are, because if you aren’t, then you might be out of luck until it’s released for consoles.

Just be forewarned. If the game ends before you want it to be done, all I can say is I told you so.

Watch me play Jamestown here for part 1, here for part 2, and here for part 3.

Graphics: 9/10
Game Play: 9/10
Replay Value: 6/10
Overall: 8/10

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