Stardate July something, 2018. I had made my way over to the PAX East 2018 Indie Megabooth and attempted to locate my team when suddenly a tractor beam had locked on to me. I was stuck and being pulled over to a chair with several monitors. There were some rather weird looking control devices as well. My… GOD… I’m staring right at the mother of all gunships, Mothergunship. Then I was handed a controller and for the next 15-minutes, I was in sweet gaming bliss.
Ok, yeah, that was a bit over the top but I was trying to get into the mood. A fun, frantic FPS with a really silly story with lots of cool gameplay; this is what Mothergunship is all about.
The game plays out like a cheesy sci-fi B-movie. It’s so damn bad that it’s funny and I doubt there’s anyone who won’t make it through the game without laughing just once. That’s what gives the game its charm, though. As soon as you start, you’re introduced to a lovely dimwit named “Colonel”, chief officer Wilkinson, and an AI called Jasper. Not only are these NPCs part of the games’ comic relief, they’re a refreshing change of pace from the ultra bad-asses that we tend to find in these sort of games. In fact, I’d love to see more developers take the tongue-in-cheek approach in telling stories like this. Especially the “Colonel”. The stuff this guy says is hilarious.
Of course, one of the biggest draws to the game, well with the exception of the action, is the gun crafting. Here, you’re free to build any kind of outlandish weapon that you want, as long as you follow several directions. Barrels must be pointed out, and they must be able to fit properly. Outside of that, there’s really no limit to what sort of weapons you can build. However, just because you made a six-foot cannon called “Battleship Owner” doesn’t mean you’re going to own the game. You see, there is a soft limit built in so that you simply can’t breeze through the game with the ultimate bad-ass gun. You’re given an energy meter which – you guessed it – is used to fire your weapon. Building a weapon that consumes all your energy means you’ll have to wait to fire it. While building a slightly smaller version means you can fire off some rounds more often. Thankfully, each weapon part tells you just how much energy it will consume. You’ll need to pay attention to that if you want to succeed. Build too weak of a weapon, your damage per second (DPS) suffers. While shooting your load only once and needing to recharge will definitely cause some survival issues. Outside of the gun crafting, you’ll also have the ability to upgrade your stats. More health, faster energy recharge, higher jumps and more. You’ll need to take advantage of whatever edge you get. If you don’t, well things aren’t going to be easy for you. Balance, my friends, balance.
But Keith, how’s the gameplay? I’m getting to that. geez. Ok, so have you ever wondered what a first-person 3D bullet hell shooter would be like? If you have, great! Hold that thought in your mind for a minute. Now, what about a first-person bullet hell shooter that tosses in platforming as well? That’s what Mothergunship has, in spades. Each level is designed to test your mettle by not only putting your pew-pew skills on display. But also your ability to maneuver around the levels, avoiding environmental dangers such as lava, jump pads, molten beams of, er… more lava and others. Just like a bullet hell shooter, well, minus all the jumping. At first, I thought that it was just a gimmick. That is until I started embracing the ability to jump over to a ledge to avoid being shot or hiding behind a pillar with barely any life left. It definitely feels like a bullet hell game.
There’s also plenty to do here, as the game is procedurally generated. While some levels are straightforward, other rooms will provide you with multiple paths to proceed. Then there’s the challenge rooms that range from killing a number of enemies within the given time. Other rooms will throw randomly generated effects at you as you play as well. Ever wanted to play “the floor is lava”? Well, if you haven’t, you will. This keeps things refreshing and you on your toes. There’s also a fair amount of secrets to be found in the game as well, so you’ll need to make sure you don’t fly through it all.
Of course, a game like this needs spot-on controls. I’m happy to report that this is exactly what you’ll find here. Whether I used a gamepad – which feels right at home here – or a keyboard and mouse, I had zero issues playing the game. There’s even the ability to adjust the sensitivity for the X/Y axis. Everything looks good here; except the ability to remap your buttons. I’m not sure why this is missing, but it really needs to be available – especially for those who are playing with the keyboard and mouse.
Now, it’s time to get technical. As with every PC game I review, I tend to get dirty with what the games offer to the PC gamer – adjustable options like field of view, frame rate, graphical options, etc – and the game does not disappoint. There’s plenty to do here, including tinkering with the textures, effects, antialiasing and more. There’s even an option to enable a dynamic resolution, in case there’s too much going on and your framerate starts to flatline. Speaking of performance, I did notice some stuttering during my review of the game. However, things are running rather nicely now. I’m able to run at a brisk 60fps at either 1080p or 1440p. Of course, YMMV – your mileage may vary – just be sure to tinker with those settings.
Sadly, at the time of the review and the retail release, the co-op function isn’t available. This will be added via a future update in August 2018. Once that gets added, we’ll come back and update this review. Still, the game is amazing without it, don’t let that discourage you.
Good luck, soldier. You’ll need it if you want to make it to the Mothergunship.
Review Disclosure Statement: This copy of Mothergunship was provided to us by Evolve Terminal for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Mothergunship is a special kind of game. It combines the right about of bullet hell shooting, tosses in some platforming and makes you laugh at the same time. Lots of things to blow up, lots of cool gun configurations, tons of secrets to find and a game that you won’t tire of so easily. Loving this game.
- The b-movie vibe makes this game
- Gun crafting is only limited by your imagination
- Bullet hell in 3d is fun
- The Colonel
- No ability to remap controls
- Co-op is missing for now