I wasn’t sure what to think when I first booted up Jamestown+ for the PlayStation 4. Instead of the unexplored colonies of the early Americas, I was instead transported to a 17th century version of Mars where an alternate version of the history we knew was taking place — it’s quite the twist.
Originally released on PC, Mac and Linux several years ago under the banner of Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, Jamestown+ outlines developer Final Form Games’ efforts to bring the title to the console space. In addition to everything found in the initial release, Jamestown+ adds in new ships to control, new levels and more to its already absurd story. Consider it a “director’s cut” if you will, and a chance for new players to experience another indie addition to the PS4’s ever increasing library.
The game opens with you playing as Sir Walter Raleigh; the main character of the game and a man who has barely escaped his own death (and clearing his name, too). On Mars, Spain has joined forced with alien lifeforms to battle against the British colonists who have made their home there. It’s an alternate version of history, if you hadn’t guessed already.
The story plays out through a series of old-school cut-scenes. The game has been designed to call back to its 16-bit contemporaries and so its use of 2D backgrounds and detailed sprites is apparent here. Its plot is simple at best — put in place to clearly move the arcade-like game structure along, but that’s not a bad thing. It serves its purpose in creating something truly unexpected.
The meat of Jamestown+, however, is its gameplay. In between the imagery of British soldiers firing away at aliens large and small is a top-down shooter where you the player take control of a ship and blast through mobs of various aliens with several weapon styles at your disposal.
Between dodging enemy projectiles you’ll be collecting little bits and gear-like things from what you destroy. These items increase what is known as the Vaunt Meter which — one full — can give you a weapon power boost, an invincibility shield and bonus points. This mechanic can be increased as well so as long as you continue to collect destroyed wreckage.
Jamestown+ is fairly straightforward though, all things considered. The game does offer local multiplayer up to four people which adds a fun cooperative play element to the mix when you consider the story mode is actually quite short. Even with the added content in this new version you’ll find yourself clearing through rather quickly. Replay value does open up a bit with the different difficulty levels and additional ships you can purchase.
For what it is, Jamestown+ is a fun game worth its asking price on the PlayStation Network. If anything, it’s a fun little distraction calling back to the classic games of yesteryear. Fans of bullet hell certainly won’t be disappointed.
Jamestown+ review code provided by publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.