Monday, 1 August 2011

Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony - PC

The year is 1619 and Sir Walter Raleigh has escaped the shackles of the Tower of London and has set off for the New World in a bid to clear his name.

With the King breathing down his neck, Raleigh's one shot at amnesty is to clear his name by uncovering the dark secrets of the town of Roanoke. Unfortunately, an armada of Spanish and Martian foes lie between Raleigh and redemption.

Yes, that's right, Martians.

That's because Jamestown doesn't take place across the rolling plains and fertile lands of America, but the inhospitable and thin atmosphere of Mars. It's a completely bonkers plot, but one which is still strangely compelling.

While this turn of events might be perfectly suited to an RTS, Jamestown is actually a bullet hell, top-down shooter - and it's magnificent.

Cave's influence is clear, but Final Form Games have lavished their title with eye-popping pixelated charm and thrown in a bucketful of extras to make this one of my favourite shooters in recent years.

Blasting enemies in the carbon dioxide-heavy Martian heavens showers the player with golden shrapnel. Once enough gold has been collected, Vault Mode can be triggered. This gives the player a brief shield, increases weapon power by a whopping 50 per cent and doubles points earned from destroying tentacled aliens and high-flying Spanish troops.

Jamestown only costs £6.99 from Steam, but what makes the game such incredible value for money is the variety of difficulty levels to sweat through. Play it on the default setting and you'll only be able to sample a brief smattering of Jamestown's delights.

But by deliberately forcing the player to up their game by increasing the difficulty is genius and means more joyous levels open up, while you'll feel your skills get sharper with every playthrough.

Even though the levels are short, it's all about score chasing. But even if you become exhausted trying to best your friends' tallies, Jamestown throws even more at the player to keep them busy.

An abundance of bonus levels can be tackled and these stern tests of dexterity will tax even the most hardened bullet hell fan. As if this already appealing package wasn't enough, Final Form have really pushed the boat out with the awe-inspiring soundtrack. it's a stirring orchestral score which matches the mood of the game perfectly - although some of the sound effects unfortunately lack pizazz.

A four-player co-op mode has also been included, but as online play isn't catered for, this mode is something of a missed opportunity.

Still, being too critical of these slight blemishes would be churlish, as Final Form Games have clearly poured their heart and soul into Jamestown and delivered a polished and quite brilliant slice of software.

So grab a 360 pad, link up the PC to your HD TV, sit back and lose yourself in the frenetic action. Stunning.

No comments: