It took me a while to figure out what was bothering me about Jamestown, when it so clearly seems to be my sort of thing. A vertical shooter with lovely retro pixelart graphics and a great soundtrack is 100% me, but playing Jamestown left me cold.
It was actually while looking for a screenshot to add to this post that it occured to me. A lot of the deaths I had were from some enemy that I had no time to get to getting below my ship and off screen but still shooting at me. The source of this problem is that Jamestown is a vertical shooter entirely oriented horizontally- not only in the screen dimension but also the fact it has a significant amount of horizontal scrolling. Enemies enter from the sides of the screen and are already below the playing area by the time you can even see they exist.
This was coupled with a bug affecting the most recent build that turns all enemy projectiles grey, making them frustratingly hard to see. It’s been that way since 2015 and will likely never get patched at this point, but there’s a way around it by running a Legacy build.
Fin or Bin:
This is a real tough decision. On paper everything’s in place for this to be an obvious Fin, but I wasn’t enjoying my time with Jamestown. Even the level select system is a bizarre choice in this genre- most STGs you play from start to finish, with the main challenge being resource management. Ultimately, I want to give the game another chance to impress now I’ve realised some of the issues were caused by fixable bugs, but I’m going to put in in the Bin, next to Jet Set Radio. I feel like it deserves another chance.
Jamestown is actually the game that has been on my backlog longest, having been bought in December 2011. It took seven years, but I finally justified that purchase!
(Update: I didn’t buy it! I won it! It was one of the prizes available in Steam’s Christmas sale event! My backlog is overloaded with games I somehow received free of charge and it started right here!)
Hard to say. It reminded me a lot of Axelay on the SNES as I was playing it, but the two aren’t directly comparable. Jamestown is pretty tough, but in a lot of frustrating ways. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, specifically, but I also definitely wouldn’t caution anyone against it if they were interested.