Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Publisher: Grip Digital
Developer: Grip Digital, Terrible Posture Games
Genre: Action, Roguelike, First Person Shooter
Official Site: https://www.mothergunship.com/
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Where To Buy It: Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Steam
Mothergunship is a first-person shooter roguelike game. The player creates crazy combinations of guns to take out room after room of deadly robots aboard alien spaceships. For anyone who has played the studio’s last title, Tower of Guns, this is very much a pseudo-sequel. It feels the same as its predecessor, yet builds on top of it to create a different enough project to justify its existence.
The player has a right and left arm to equip with whatever weapons they acquire over a specific run through an enemy ship. Depending on the mission, players can bring with them a set of items to start with; otherwise, starting with armor that use power fists (which is incredible). Certain mission types will give the player a set of items to use, though it is possible to ignore them and only use the power fists (seriously, they’re fantastic).
Items split into three categories: connectors, barrels, and caps. Connectors are the pieces that guns attach to and allow players to put many different guns on the same arm. Barrels are the guns, which come in various sizes and shoot in all sorts of different ways. Caps are small attachments that act as modifiers; some will make shots ricochet, others might increase damage or have the shot pushback.
Combining everything into a mangled mess of a gun is where the excitement comes into play. Throughout each run, enemies will drop coins for the shop. The shop will randomly show up in rooms and accessible once the room clears of enemies. Items have different levels of rarities, and depending on the rarity and impact of an item, the cost varies. Guns also only are edited at the beginning of the level or in one of these shops.
In general, there are two to four opportunities to utilize the shop, and there’s plenty of opportunities to have a modified gun on both arms. Either the shops or the crafting station will get you the guns you need. The levels are short enough to prevent any crazy gun combination from being concocted. In fact, I lost track of how many times I created exciting gun combinations only for the level to be over. I’d be collecting coins and anticipating the next shop, just to have it be in the very last room. Since it only unlocks when all enemies are dead, it was a moot point.
The guns and parts collected in a run go to a permanent bank for missions in the future. However, players do have a cap of 100 total items total. I understand the need for this, but it becomes incredibly frustrating once you’ve reached the cap. After a mission, if the bank is over 100, the player removes items they don’t want. An awful process that feels archaic and clunky also very unnecessary for the player. 85% of the screen contains a picture. Players are forced to scroll through a list of items that shows maybe seven at a time. Most of the time, I just wanted to select the things I picked up on the previous run, but they were already all lumped in together. Again, I understand the need for this cap, but maintaining it needs streamlining.
Rooms are randomly selected, as are the enemies within. So while you may encounter the same room many times, the enemies may be different. It seems as if there are certain combinations of enemies per room. I have seen the same room more than once, including the enemies and their placements. These missions also don’t have boss fights, so the mission ends after stepping on a self-destruct button. Even the story missions have only a few bosses in total, which is a major disappointment.
Regarding the story missions — they’re quite challenging. These missions are usually on the painful side of things, and the idea is to play the side missions to gather items. Then utilize the best ones in the story missions. Since dying in a mission results in a loss of the guns and parts took with you, I would generally enter a story mission with nothing. Just my super formidable power fists and see how far I could get. By the end of that usually-failed run, I would know what items were best to bring in to help guarantee success.
The plot itself is told by a cast of characters over a communications line and is easily one of the most memorable parts of Mothergunship. The voice acting and writing are hysterical, and I loved every minute of it. There’s an interesting twist at the end that completely caught me off guard! The lines of dialogue only instruct when in the central headquarters or while in the waiting chamber in between rooms. For such a fast-paced game, it was a joy to kick back and listen to the crew every so often and crack a smile.
Oh and believe me, this game is fast. Upgrades are available for your armor, and among the enhancements are increasing the number of jumps and increased movement speed. Jumping med run gets you more jumps. There’s a whole lot of jumping and circle-strafing here.
The game doesn’t entirely end when all of the story missions are over. Other than the endless mode, there’s an endgame that allows the player to keep going, leveling up and facing harder and harder ships. There is also a slew of planned updates, including more guns and two-player co-op. There are some odd and annoying design decisions, and it can feel frustrating to get to let loose with the gun creations rarely.
Mothergunship is a marvelous blend of roguelike randomness, and self-serve zaniness that you can be assured delivers what you need from a first-person shooter. Despite its minor struggles this small studio creation has you whirling. From creating your own guns to fighting robots and alien spaceships. You’re sure to have a fun time. Hopefully the small screen list issue is fixed over time, but otherwise, it was still gratifying.
- Fast responsive shooting
- Inventive gun-crafting system
- Thrilling run-and-gun pace
- Solid roguelike elements
- Repetitive locations
- Abrupt ending leading into a shallow endgame