Thursday, 18 October 2012

Jamestown Review

Jamestown is a bullet hell game set on 17th century Mars in an alternate universe where the British colony their is contested by the Spanish and the indigenous Martians. Those words alone should make you want to pick this game up. Jamestown while a solid game when played alone really comes into it's stride when played with up to 3 other people. This is not only down the the devilishly hard difficulties but also because when you die other players can revive you by collecting a revival box. This is really helpful whether your ship is hit by a stray bullet or several thousand bullets.

Jamestown has a choice of 4 playable ships. Each have their own special attacks along with their own strengths and weaknesses. This ranges from the laser beam ship which is mostly and all rounder to a ship that fires a stream a bullets that can explode and deal massive damage. However, this ship has a flaw that the bullets alone are very weak and it required good aim to land them on targets sometimes. This is a very risky ship to play as and is admittedly the last one you unlock.

Jamestowns levels are can all be attempted both alone and with others but each follow the same pattern. They have you flying vertically across the level surviving everything thrown at you until the face some kind of end boss. These boss are a lot bigger and harder to defeat than the regular enemies and usually require some sort of specific tactic in order to beat them.In order to access further levels you have to go back and beat the previous levels on harder difficulties. This I take issue with. I would like to be able to play through the game by beating each level without having to first beat a level then beat it again on a higher difficulty. I would normally go back and attempt the harder difficulties anyway, regardless of whether the game forced me to or not. However, be forced to complete each level on higher and higher difficulties in order to just reach the next part of the game is pretty brutal and I would not be surprised if it puts other people off playing it all together since it really does stack up the difficulty.

The gameplay is slick and the soundtrack is awesome. The fact that your ships centre is the only part that can be hit in order for you to die can really be of help when dodging lots of bullets. However, Jamestown has another trick up it's sleeve for dealing with lots of bullets. This is Vaunt Mode. This mode not only creates a multiplier for increasing points gained but also creates a temporary shield that protects your ship for a few precious seconds as well as increasing your ships fire power. Vaunt can be built up by collecting gold from destroyed enemies so it is important to continuously collect this gold in order to keep Vaunt at max.

As well as the main levels of the game their are also bonus levels that have you completing specific objectives often under a time limit. Through both these bonus levels and main levels you can collect gold which can be spent to purchase addition bonus levels, new ships, and other goodies for use in the game. These are somewhat limited and past buying the additional ship types the others are fairly lackluster.

Overall I thoroughly enjoy playing Jamestown but would suggest that it is best played with others and could be improved by having the levels not be so darn hard to unlock sometimes but these are minor complaints about a game that holds true to a devilishly hard genre.

 Score: 90/100

General Information:

Game Name: Jamestown
Genre: Bullet-Hell, Action
Developer: Final Form Games
Release date: June 8th 2011
Bundle: Humble Bundle 6
Additional: Comes with soundtrack if you buy it from Humble Bundle 6
System Requirements:
OS: Windows XP or later
Processor: 2.4 GHz or better
Memory: 512 MB RAM
Video Card: Any OpenGL 2.0 graphics card with 256MB+ video RAM
OS: OS X 10.5 Leopard, or later
Processor: 2.1 Ghz or better
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Video Card: Any OpenGL 2.0 graphics card with 256MB+ video RAM
Processor: 2.4 GHz or better
Memory: 512 MB RAM
Video Card: Any OpenGL 2.0 graphics card with 256MB+ video RAM