capsule review

Go to Mars in Top-Down Shooter Game Jamestown

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Jamestown

    PCWorld Rating

    You won't learn much history from Jamestown, but you will blow up a lot of aliens.

As we all know, the Jamestown colony was founded on Mars in the early 1600s, where it was destroyed by invading Martian war machines allied with the Spanish. Well, perhaps not, but that's the basis of Jamestown ($10, buy-only), an exciting top-down, retro-style, co-op play, buzzword-compliant game from Final Form Games, whom, I suspect, are in league with the manufacturers of mouse buttons. I nearly wore mine out frantically clicking to evade ever-increasing waves of Martian attackers, exploding scenery, and continual pyrotechnics, all while trying to swoop and swerve to catch the falling coins and gears that would extend my life or power-up my little craft.

Jamestown review and download
We learn the fate of the Jamestown colony... it was overrun by Martians! Of course, it was on Mars.
Jamestown brings a unique theme to the top-down shooter genre, namely, "Pilgrims...in.... spaaaaace!" (at least, I've never seen any other game with it), and adds in co-op play (you can have one player use the keyboard while you use the mouse, or add in extra controllers via USB). There are single player leaderboards to record your high scores, and I mean your high scores, because I'll never be on them. There are achievements to unlock, and new ships to buy as you earn coins, and unique, powerful, boss monsters at the end of each levels whose attack timing and weaknesses must be learned to defeat them.

I experienced one acknowledged bug with a game freeze (I escaped from it, however, and didn't crash my system). This is being worked on and is reportedly rare.

Basically, either you like this style of gameplay, or you don't. If you like it, Jamestown gives you a top-notch example of the 2-D, topdown, action shooter, with enough fun twists and interesting concepts that it's worth downloading for anyone who likes frantically blowing stuff up while trying not to be blown up in turn. In addition to the main storyline, which must be unlocked in stages--you can't get to Chapter 4 unless you beat Chapters 1-3 on the "Difficult" setting instead of the wimpy "Standard" setting I used--you have a number of challenge-type games. In these, you must destroy a certain number of ships in a limited time, or stay alive for a period of so many seconds, and so on. There are several ships to buy, each with different weapons, strengths, and weaknesses, and thus requiring different skills to master.

Compared to some indie games, such as Dungeons of Dredmor or Cthulhu Saves The World, the total content for the price is a tad on the low end, but Jamestown is still a very inexpensive game with a lot of replay value--especially if you want to beat it on higher levels of difficulty or enjoy the co-op aspect with friends, something few games of this nature offer.

Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the game.

--Ian Harac

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    You won't learn much history from Jamestown, but you will blow up a lot of aliens.

    Pros

    • Fast action
    • Original theme
    • Many expansions

    Cons

    • Quick levels
    • Some glitches
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