Modern 2D shoot-’em-ups are infamously demanding. But while their hyperactivity and hails of bullets make them a darling of hardcore cliques, the genre is less inviting for casual fans despite attempts in the past to dilute the “shmup” DNA, often at the expense of quality and depth.
Jamestown+ is a rare case of a 2D shooter that serves both audiences with flair, thanks primarily to a smart approach to difficulty. And, despite rigid obedience to the established formula of dodging bullets, downing enemies and manipulating scoring systems, gameplay flow and aesthetic character remain pleasingly distinct.
A remix of the 2011 PC, Mac and Linux release, Jamestown+ adds two original stages and a bounty of new ships that offer fresh ways to approach the established levels. Elsewhere its pixel art is full of detail and character, and the rescored audio is superb. Final Form Games is a modest developer, but with Jamestown+ has created a shmup that will appeal to the genre’s keenest fans as comfortably as it will to the ordinary player.
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