Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony is a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up from 2011 that is very reminiscent of pretty much any other similar arcade-style shooter, right down to the credits counter and the continue screen when you die.
It is very fast-paced and done in a 16-bit art style so as to further drive that message home.
One cannot start playing without going through the tutorial, which is a good thing considering the fact that the game has a couple of mechanics that the player has to be aware of whilst playing.
Gameplay is pretty much what one expects from this sort of arcade throwback – there’s a bunch of vehicles you can use, well technically there’s only one, the other ones you’ll have to “buy” with money you make during the game. The Vaunt Shield mechanic offers a bit of variation to how one would play through a stage but it’s nothing to write home about really.
I do have to mention that the game can be played with a plethora of controllers and the method of choosing which you’ll use is quite ingenious.
Jamestown does rely a bit too much on the player’s affinity towards the genre considering the fact that it makes you play through the same levels, at different levels of difficulty in order to unlock further stages. Granted, the levels are pretty short but that still doesn’t make the fact that you have to replay the shit out of them any sweeter.
Also, it locks off the big bulk of its content behind these artificial in-game “pay-walls”, meaning you can only access some play modes if you pay in-game currency for them, or again, if you replay the same stages on higher levels of difficulty. Nothing necessarily wrong with the approach, only that it relies almost exclusively on the assumption that the players will be sucked into the game for long periods of time. Suffice to say this was not the situation in my case.
Whilst the overall gameplay left me not so very excited – there are definitely more intriguing options out there – the storyline and setting is what I found by far the most fascinating.
The game’s story – whilst not really important – takes place in an alternate history 17th century where the Earth is a spacefaring steampunk civilization, with the game’s plot revolving around events on Mars which is a British colony that is under attack by Spain and the Martian residents.
That approach, as insane and ludicrous as it sounds, is used mostly in a tongue-in-cheek way, the game not taking it or itself very seriously, great stuff. I would’ve liked to see the world expanded upon maybe in comicbook form, an animation or a different genre of video-game altogether, an adventure game set in this world would’ve been quite interesting.
Even though Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony isn’t my particular brand of vodka, I see how it can be for many.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had a different experience with the game or if I missed something with my review.
See ya next time, again in the past… but not a weird alternate Steampunk past.