Blasting evil robots with huge guns is extremely fun in Mothergunship, but the game holds back when it’s time to craft your own weapons.
I take a look around the boss room. All I see is a hole in the floor, so naturally, I jump in. “Weird. Shouldn’t there be like, a boss inside the boss room?”, I think to myself as I head for the exit.
Suddenly, I realize the giant wall behind me is not a wall at all – it’s a giant wall turret. It has enormous wings with missiles spewing out of them. Then they spin around, and I see even more missile launchers; flamethrowers too.
But I’m no rookie. My left-hand weapon is a dual-headed, mine-shooting machine gun. It does massive damage and destroys a few of the boss’s wings-with-rockets-on-them. In return, it extends new wings and spawns more enemies.
My smart weapon design pays off, and I manage to take the massive boss out, leaving loads of pickups for me to grab.
Mothergunship is a first-person bullet-hell game with rogue-lite elements, where you build a massive gun and destroy spaceships full of deadly robots.
It’s fast, intense, creative and incredibly fun. I’ve perfected a few amazing weapons, and using them to blast enemies is immensely satisfying.
After evil robotic aliens known as the Archivists have taken control of Earth, Mothergunship puts you in the mechanic battle armor of the newest recruit to the resistance. You are joined with a small but hilarious crew of resistance members overseeing your operations.
I freaking love every single one of those guys, and not just because we fought side by side. The game has some of my favorite dialogues in a long time, on par with the likes of Portal.
The different characters all have their unique personalities, and a load of great lines to throw at you. Among my favorites was the admiral saying “I take personal pride in your accomplishments. That’s how I justify taking credit for them”. It should go on an inspirational poster with a picture of a winking cat or something.
But this is just one of the many great quotes in the game. You’ll constantly be laughing and giggling as you go through the story, and it feels great.
As you go on increasingly difficult missions inside enemy spaceships, you gain new weapon pieces and upgrades, until you can eventually take on the meanest one of them all – the Mothergunship.
There are two main aspects to the gameplay in Mothergunship. The first of which is weapon building. You start every mission with an assortment of pieces to make a gun or two out of.
As long as you keep the barrels aimed forward, towards the enemy, you can build pretty much whatever you like. This gives you a lot of freedom for designing cool-looking and practical guns, as long as you have the right pieces.
That’s the tricky part. Although I dreamed of crafting a twelve barreled rocket launcher, I could never do that at the start of a mission. In fact, I was only able to create genuinely awe-inspiring guns in the sandbox mode or the training room.
I felt this was a bit of wasted potential since while I always got to make cool guns, I rarely could craft truly over-the-top firearms.
The 100-parts inventory limit doesn’t help things either. I often had to choose between diversity in weapon parts and keeping the ones that I felt were more practical.
Now it’s not that the weapons I crafted were lame or ordinary – they were beyond awesome. But I did feel like I would have wanted to use bigger f’ing guns more often than I did.
Taking your favorite weapon into a mission comes with a huge risk – if you die during the mission, you lose all the parts you carry. There are ways to get some of them back, but all in all, I found myself not wanting to risk my best weapon parts for most missions, which meant that I rarely got to use them.
I feel like this decision was directly hurting the creative part of the game. Even though losing parts isn’t that big of a deal, it still feels pretty terrible when it happens.
But at the heart of the gameplay is the action. You sneak into a gigantic spaceship, build a weapon, and you unleash bullet Hell upon that ship.
Mothergunship puts you up against increasingly large mobs of robots. As you get further in the campaign, these shootouts will transform into very intense bullet-hell action. It’s both marvelous and exciting to dodge countless missiles raining down on you, which is never too difficult thanks to your character’s incredible mobility.
You start each mission with the ability to triple-jump, but as you advance you can find pickups or increase your jumping stat. Slowly, you gain the ability to jump more than three times, giving you some pretty wicked airtime. Combined with jump panels and hoops, you are quickly transformed into a flying, blasting badass.
Almost every time you clear a room, you’ll be able to choose where to move on next. While you never know what maniacal monstrosities might be hiding on the other side, you do get some indication of special rooms.
These rooms are divided into challenge rooms, which give you a small challenge to pursue while battling the robots (which in turn will net you some in-game currency) and random rooms.
In random rooms, enemies drop better parts, but you can also encounter some challenging environmental hazards. You can also find weapon workshops from time to time, which will let you improve your weapon and purchase new parts during missions.
Exploration remains pretty diverse through it all, and while you will find yourself traversing similar rooms from time to time, the robots and layouts of these rooms will always be different, giving you unique experiences all the time.
The ships themselves provide unique and interesting environments to battle in. You’ll be invading three types of alien ships – harbinger ships are made of tight spaces and few environmental hazards, foundry ships are filled with lava and large open areas, and neon ships glow in beautiful colors and have lots of platforming involved. Each can be a challenge to navigate across, but my favorites are the foundry ships; they feel like the most demonic of them all.
While most levels do not end in a boss battle, the ones that do, have the most intense and epic battles in store. Fighting against them usually involve a balance between navigating away from the endless bullets and missiles, and completing light platforming sections.
Not only that, but some bosses transform, summon enemies, or extend extra missile launchers against you. These, combined with the way those battles keep you moving, provide for exciting boss battles that are the most intense parts of the game.
To deliver all this action, Mothergunship makes the most out of the UE4 engine. The graphics and visual effects are well-optimized, and the game even runs smoothly, with over 60 FPS on PC.
This is a significant improvement over the Mothergunship demo which had a few frame drops. In fact, I don’t think I ran into a single bug as I was playing the game, which is awesome.
Whether it’s lava in the foundry ships or the vibrant lights of the neon ones, everything is lit up in beautiful colors. But it’s the unique art direction which really makes the game special. The studio managed to design alien robots that look as demonic and infernal as anything you might expect from Doom.
The in-game menus are probably my least favorite part, visually. They look incredibly simplistic in comparison to the rest of the game.
Sound effects are good. Gun blasts are crisp, missile launchers fire loudly, and lasers make the appropriate futuristic “woosh.” Everything has that oomph I always expect for shooters.
Mothergunship is fast and intense and provides the bullet-hell experience it promises. Combat is fierce and rewarding, with a monsoon of missiles and bullets mercilessly bombarding you. The graphics are great, with a distinct visual style.
While weapon creation has a lot holding it back, I’ve was able to craft my dream, over-the-top gun and blast robots into oblivion.
So why not craft your own outlandish gun and join the resistance?Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.