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Here's another review, I guess. So what was I playing last week? Well, as you probably guessed I played through Jamestown. Jamestown is bullet-hell developed by FinalForm Games for PC. Now, before everyone gets scared away, this does have difficulty levels, and is not absurdly hard at the lower difficulties like Japanese bullet-hells, which should be comforting to some. It certainly was to me. But don't worry, Bullet-Hell fans! There are higher difficulties for you play if you're not some n00by scrub who needs difficulties in the first place!

So what is the game actually about? Well, from what I could tell it was something about colonial Britain and Spain fighting for control of Mars, or something. You play as some guy who is trying to clear his name whilst running from Britain for some reason I don't think they ever explained. There was something to do with a Spanish guy and um, aliens or something. Yeah... I wasn't really paying much attention.

We should always look at the options menu, and this one is bare-bones to say the least, though it does offer three different sound sliders, which I like. However, it doesn't run natively in 1920x1080p unless you turn the option of 'crazy stretch' on. I find this pretty stupid since you should probably at least have full compatibility with teh two most common resolutions, but here you're stuck with it. No rebindable keys. Another black mark. They offer four different options for controlling your ship, but there is no reason not to go the full way and allow you to change any key.

So, mechanics wise, it's fairly typical for a bullet-hell. You control a ship, and you shoot stuff. You die instantly if a bullet touches you, but don't worry, you have 3 lives and 2 continue credits per level. You can also use your ships special ability, or you can vaunt, which increases damage (and briefly deploys a shield), but requires a bar which needs to be filled with these points which are dropped by pretty much every single enemy in varying amounts.

My first major complaint is that only one of the ships is really viable in the grand scheme of things. You start with the basic ship, Beam, which allows you to deploy a beam which does more damage. There is Bomber ship which lets you blow up your bullets, and a Charge ship which allows you to charge your shots. Then, of course, there is the best ship by an absolute landslide - The Gunner. The Gunner gives you two separate guns, one of which you can control to shoot in any direction as its ability. To me, there is no point in any of the other ships when one is simply so much better.

Next complaint. There are arbitrary difficulty completions for later stage, as in, 'Sorry, you need to complete all the levels on a higher difficulty to access this.' This shouldn't be a problem for most as it doesn't make you touch the two highest difficulties at all (Divine and Judgement), but it may be difficult to those who are particularly bad at these games, and it just feels like they're just trying to pad the games length a bit.

Next complaint. The difficulty scaling was really, REALLY bad. As in the difficulty of the stages from easiest went (in my opinion): 4, 1, 3, 2, 5. Yeah. Pretty bad. Final complaint! I promise! The spawns could sometimes be terrible and kill you instantly, especially in the last level where there were a few environmental hazards.

Onto the good bits! The soundtrack was great. It didn't opt for the very typical indie chiptunes in the style of cave story, but instead it went for a full orchestral score, which fitted the entire game very well as it seemed to be styled off a diary from somebody living during colonial Britain's prime. Chiptunes would have certainly ruined the aesthetic.

Local co-op! This is the only, and I mean the only game in my collection which I can play at my PC with a friend, and it's very enjoyable, even if your friend sucks (Yuggy). You could even have four people at the same PC, but that might get a little... cramped, to say the least. Unfortunately it lacks Online co-op, but even the addition of Local co-op is a huge plus in my books.

In conclusion, Jamestown is an excellent bullet-hell for both newcomers to the genre and veterans alike. It has some minor problems with scaling, ship balance and very poor options menu, but this isn't enough to prevent you from playing the game and enjoying it greatly.



[?] Karma: +1
User Comments (5)
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Wully
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Sunday, October 28 2012, 1:24 pm EST
Indie games and hardware

Age: 24
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Have they fixed all the bugs? Since last time i decided to play it, it crashed like once each ten minutes or even more often. Also preformace was really bad like my computer could not handle it at 60fps at all time

Anyway add more about the gameplay, since now it is mostly complaints

Some screenshots would be nice


Sorry for bad grammer and/or spelling, i am suffering from dyslexia.
Isas brother, mostly here for helping with computers
FlashMarsh
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Sunday, October 28 2012, 1:30 pm EST

Age: 21
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I personally didn't get any crashes, so yeah, I guess they have fixed the bugs.

I'll add a bit more about the gameplay now, and I'll get some screenshots when I return to my own computer.
jazz
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Sunday, October 28 2012, 5:15 pm EST

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I liked the environmental hazards, they made the game more unique than other shmups. One of my complaints is that most of the patterns were basically dodging aimed bullets along with a bit of pizazz. And yeah, the enemy/bullet spawning could be bs sometimes.
FlashMarsh
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Sunday, October 28 2012, 5:19 pm EST

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There was only one level that actually used environmental hazards, however.
Yuggy
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Tuesday, November 13 2012, 4:40 pm EST
I am a wise goat

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I'm flattered.

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