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Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony is a shoot ‘em up that has a bit of an odd premise. It takes place during the 17th Century, and involves a British colonization of a new world, but the only thing is: the “world” is Mars!

Despite the game’s oddball narrative, one thing’s for sure: if you had told me that Jamestown was Final Form’s first title, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Jamestown’s gameplay is fairly simple: you control a ship that has a standard and alternate form of fire.  Throughout the game you’ll have the option to utilize a few different types of ships, with attacks such as spread fire,  beam cannons, and homing lasers. You’ll also gather rings from fallen enemies to obtain “vaunt” status, which generates a temporary shield and yields more powerful attacks for a limited time. I wouldn’t call Jamestown a bullet hell shooter, but there are certainly elements of the sub-genre in the game’s boss fights.

The game’s bosses have a very Touhou feel to them, with bullet hell formations and different “stages”, where you’ll have to change tactics depending on how much health they have left. In terms of controls, Jamestown thankfully fully supports  gamepads, including instant Xbox 360 controller recognition (although any gamepad will work just fine – when I plugged my third party PS3 Dualshock in, I was able to map my buttons instantly).

Presentation wise, Jamestown is easily one of the best shmups I’ve ever seen. The 18 months of work on the game’s gorgeous pixel art highly paid off, and resulted in an aesthetic that’s very reminiscent of Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy Tactics; which is never a bad thing.

Accompanying the stellar design are stellar a soundtrack and sound effects. The music in Jamestown is indistinguishable from a big-budget epic soundtrack, and the game’s sounds are an excellent mixture of retro and modern shoot ‘em up titles. Just wait until you blow up a large enemy ship: the lows are especially booming with a good pair of headphones. Make no mistake: a lot of work went into Jamestown’s sound.

Shmup lovers will be pleased to know that there are a few different modes packed in the game’s ye ol’ “shoppe”, including challenge packs, an alternate story mode, a gauntlet mode, and a few extra ships, which can be purchased with the in-game currency. Jamestown also supports multiplater by way of four players simultaneously, but [sadly] only offline.

Despite all these options, the main story is only five levels long, and will probably only last you around an hour. While shoot ‘em up fans will no doubt appreciate the added replayability factor helped by the five levels of difficulty that start at “Normal”, and a few bonus missions; casual users may be turned off at the short length of the core game.

While Jamestown is value priced at $9.99, it could stand to use a few more levels, and maybe online play. It’s a bit hard these days to find local shmup enthusiasts to play with, and there could have been a real chance to develop a community with an online component.

Overall, even without online play, Jamestown is a great title that’s worthy of any shmup fan’s time. The mechanics are solid, the presentation is great, and the price is right – I can’t wait to see what Final Form does next.

Gamer Limit gives Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony a 9.5/10

  1. avatar Dan

    Chris, how was the ending? I heard mixed reviews.

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