“Wait, have I played this game before? Guess not…” – but then I looked at the arrow/jumps indicator in the HUD and said, “Heck yeah, this is Tower of Guns, how dare they steal from that game?!”. Then after a quick Google, I found out that it is made by the same developers…silly me.
I really liked Tower of Guns, the simplicity of it, jump around, aim and shoot powerful weapons at a variety of enemies. But the aesthetics, mainly in the colors department, were quite lacking, the game looked plain, brown and boring even though it had a twitch like gameplay. Luckily in Mothergunship, the devs decided to turn the saturation slider up to 11 resulting in a quite beautiful looking game.
Alien robots have invaded so you have to fight against them, boarding ship after ship, destroying them from within by pressing the “Not self-destruct button” until you finally reach the Mothergunship. Yes, the premise is silly, but at the same time, the game knows that, the characters that talk to you know that and it makes the whole experience a lot of fun.
For the uninitiated, Mothergunship similar to Tower of Guns is a bullet hell roguelike-ish FPS. And also similar to ToG, it’s gameplay is as well simple, but don’t take that as a negative, far from it. You do jump, aim and shoot like the previous game, but this time around you can craft your own crazy weapons and dual wield baby! The weapon crafting system is also simple, but the more you play around with it and the stupid amount of crazy combinations you can do, the better weapon you will end up with at the end.
There are only 3 main elements when it comes to weapon crafting: connectors, barrels, and modifiers. Connectors come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and they allow you to basically create the frame of the weapon. Then depending from the type of connector you have used, you can attach all sorts of crazy barrels like shotguns, blasters, cannons, railguns, flamethrowers, lava gun, barrel thrower, saw disc launchers and so many other silly and interesting ones. At the end, you can attach modifiers to it, if of course there is space left on the frame, to up the craziness of the gun/barrel effects. Congratulations, you just have made a stupid looking lava, two rockets, railgun, barrel launcher gun, with a bouncing modifier that will obliterate everything anywhere on your screen, even though you can only shoot this once every few seconds.
But with a weapon like that, one shot is all you need, am I right? Well, you still have the other hand empty so why not go for a fast energy blaster in the middle with 3 3-barrel barrels around it that will purge every robot in your line of sight? With this system, the possibilities are truly endless and half of the fun is finding out which synergies work and which don’t. If the energy requirement for each shot is too high, remove a barrel and a modifier and try again. If it’s too low and there’s plenty of energy to spare, attach another barrel.
Now all of this sounds like fun and believe me it is when the game actually allows you to do so. See, the game is mission based meaning that you have to select a mission from a screen and depending on the type of mission, you can bring a few parts that you have collected in previous runs with you or you will have to use just what the mission has already selected for you. They do have a funny explanation about these types of missions in-game, where the marketing people of the manufacturers require you to use this or that barrel to promote it, but it still feels strange you know, to offer you this endless array of possibilities to then take that away and limit you. The Endless mode sorta corrects that, but you have to play for a while to just unlock it.
So what ends up happening, in the end, is that you just buy everything you see in the shop of each run hoping that the RNG gods are with you and that the parts that you just bought can actually make a good gun to use for the rest of the run. No two runs are the same, due to the nature of the procedural generation of levels, so one time you might get lucky and have two badass guns that tear through the enemies and next time, not so lucky having only a lava thrower to deal with the turrets and the flying saw enemies…fuck those flying saws. You die, you lose all the coins and experience gathered and any parts collected or that you brought with when you started the run.
But in the end, that’s the roguelike experience that any roguelike game offers and as such Mothergunship is best experienced in short bursts. Play 2-3 runs and then move on to another game, watch some Youtube or Final Space on Netflix or chill with your friends, then come back after a few long hours or the next day and play some more runs. That’s what I did, that’s what I am doing with Mothergunship and I love it. Come August, the devs will be releasing more levels, more barrel types and they will be adding co-op, so what’s not to love? Thanks for reading!