By Josh Speer / September 9th, 2019
Even though I enjoy the occasional SHMUP, I had no idea what to expect from Jamestown+. I hadn’t played the original game, and all I knew was that it was set on British Colonial Mars. Nothing could have prepared me for how creative and quirky the game was, as well as how challenging. But overall I had a fantastic time demoing Jamestown+, for a variety of reasons.
I quickly found out that Jamestown+ and the original game were developed by Final Form Games, a three person team. That sort of math always gets my attention, as I find smaller teams make up for a lack of resources with pure passion, and the games often fare better as a result. That was surely the case with my demo of the game, and I was crazy impressed. Sure, the game is hard as balls, but it’s also beautiful and charming. Despite my relative lack of skill with the genre, I play my share of SHMUPs, and I’ve never seen one with this much replay value. There’s a ton of stuff you can unlock in the game, including new ships, weapons and more. I’m used to most SHMUPs taking all of an hour or two to get through, but I can see returning to this one again and again.
Another thing that surprised me about Jamestown+ is that porting duties are largely falling to another team I’m more familiar with, Batterystaple Games. They’re the fine folks responsible for 20XX, a game I’ve had a lot of fun playing. This game ran pretty buttery smooth on the Switch when I played it at PAX, and the only reasons I died was running into too many bullets. While I usually prefer single player games, Jamestown+ worked quite well in multiplayer. It offers up to 4 players at a time, and given that a single Switch offers two Joy-Con, it’s easy to muster a small crew to take on giant crabs and space scum. Plus your pals can revive you if they’re good enough, which is a nice touch.
In case it wasn’t painfully evident, I really enjoyed demoing Jamestown+. I played a lot of 2 player and a few rounds of 4 player, and either way it was a ton of fun. I tried many different ships, and found many diverse playstyles to suit all sorts of strategies. When you add in great art, pumping tunes and a wholly unique plot, I think this will be a very popular game when it releases on PC, PS4 and Switch. Especially since the “plus” in the title means there’s new content, including new stages. If you love SHMUPs or just want a fun challenge, stay tuned for more info on Jamestown+ as it arrives.
Batterystaple GamescooperativeFinal Form Gamesjamestown+oprainfallPAX West 2019Shmupup to 4 players