Do you like guns? Do you like BIG guns? Do you like guns that can fill up your entire screen, shoot 15 rockets with one click and also set lava mines at the same time? Yes? Well good news, I may have found the game for you. Mothergunship is a Bullet Hell FPS Rogue-like in a similar vain to Borderlands with the gunplay and speed of DOOM mashed together to create an interesting dungeon crawler game that seeks to impress it’s audience with massive explosions and even bigger guns. However that can only hold your attention for so long so how does it stand as an actual game?
The story is, expectedly, not the main focus of the game at all. It gives us a standard alien invasion story with you being a sole soldier of the resistance fighting off the armada by jumping from ship to ship (which acts as this game’s version of dungeons) until you blow them all up and get to take down the main ship of the invasion, the Mothergunship. The story is very simple however it gives you a clear objective to follow and ensures that things don’t get too complicated when you’re busy blowing things up. There are actually some interesting plot points that come up to make the story a little more than your average forgettable adventure however it’s very clear that’s not what you’re here for. Interestingly enough however the dialogue and characters you meet in this story provided a great amount of humour, especially the colonel character. It almost feels like the humour of Borderlands mixed with the dialogue of the portal games providing many laughs and interesting scenarios as the game progresses. Unfortunately this is hampered by the game’s biggest flaw, the length of the story, which after it’s done leaves you to simply complete endless dungeons without any further story progression which certainly makes playing it a little less fun without the witty comebacks and snarky remarks between characters.
The presentation is a strange mix of cell shaded with a hint of borrowing from the neon colour selection used by various Halo games, especially when aboard the various enemy ships. With this being a rogue-like the dungeons are completely random so you can’t really create interesting environments based on endless shooter corridors. This also became a problem when I started noticing rooms repeating, especially on endless dungeons. The soundtrack too wasn’t very memorable and despite it looking and feeling like a retro-futuristic classic shooter I didn’t really feel the oomph that a game of this genre should have when it comes to it’s music. The voice acting was fantastic from most of the characters as they provided plenty of laughs and were able to speak clearly even when all the chaos was ongoing. However I found the enemy variety in the visual department to be severely lacking as despite there being some fantastic boss battles with briliant setpieces behind them I found most of the enemies simply represented turrets or turrets with legs. There are a few exceptions but this felt like every room I was walking into if I had a long range weapon I could simply stand back and take pot shots from the door without feeling much threat due to the general non mobility of so many of the enemies. As the game goes on however more mobile enemies start to pop up which keeps you on the move, this helped to rememedy the situation however visually they still looked rather bland to me. The framerate was also fairly unstable depending on the scenario however the developers have stated they are working on making the game more stable after launch so that shouldn’t become an issue.
The big thing you want to focus on in a game like this however is the gameplay. As I mentioned earlier on the gunplay itself feels very DOOM-ish as you move at a quick pace and start off with a triple jump (first time I’ve heard of that being the standard) and rather than focusing on precision trigger-aim it boils down to spamming as many bullets/rockets/energy blasts as possible in the near direction of the enemies. The biggest draw to the game is the customisability of the guns. You have three categories for parts; Connectors, Barrels and Caps. Connectors are gun body pieces that have sockets which allow you to connect more and more pieces together. Caps are modules that give different attributes to guns such as gravity defying bullets or more damage and finally Barrels are the actual weapons that come out of the gun such as shotguns, lasers, rockets etc. The amount of customisation that guns can have is incredible especially when you add onto the fact that by completing missions you get new gun parts as loot, similar to the loot grinding in Diablo and other ARPGs. This combines with each mission’s custom objectives such as only being allowed to use certain parts or only being able to carry a small amount of parts means that you have a huge variety of weapons to use throughout your campaign. Alongside the normal story mode missions there are also training and endless dungeon modes that you can try to see how long you will last and various side dungeons that let you earn new and more powerful parts.
Unfortunately that’s pretty much all there is to the game. After beating the story campaign which I found very short (I beat it in around a few hours) you get the ability to challenge endless dungeons to get better loot and thus gain new weapon parts. It’s clear that the developers are planning to add more stuff into the game, this is even indicated by the message they give you when completing the story, however as it is right now after beating the short story there isn’t much to do. You would think that trying out new custom guns would be the main appeal and while yes this is true the biggest drawback to this is that each normal mission (aside from training ones) limits you to only a few different pieces which really limits what you can build. Sure you can buy more parts along the way inside each dungeon however at that point you’re picking from a randomised assortment which in some cases are not at all beneficial to the gun you’re wanting to make. This means the biggest draw for the game, building massive, screen filling guns becomes only possible when trying it out in training. It’s a damn shame as during my campaign I really wanted to build ridiculous guns but I just ended up using simple barrel parts with damage upgrades which allowed me to sail through the game without much trouble. The game in its current state feels a lot like an Early Access title with many features planned for the future but simply not in the game currently (such as online co-op) meaning that for the price you are paying you aren’t getting that much game (unless you like loot grinding of course).
So in the end how do I feel about this game? Well I enjoyed my time with it, despite how short it was, but I consider it to be slightly dissapointing as the premise seemed incredible. As it stands now though it’s simply too short for my tastes and the only way right now you will get your true money’s worth is if you like to endlessly grind for loot which some people like to do. As a result of this I recommend this game to those people as you will certainly get a lot of time out of this game and the gunplay itself is really fun when in the full heat of battle. For everyone else however I’d wait until the price dropped a little bit or until future content updates. I feel as though this should have been labelled as an Early Access game as if it was being put to the same standards such as that it would be an incredible purchase. As it stands now though, Mothergunship is a fun, if short, romp which I hope will continue to get better as time goes on.