I love it when a video game gives me the freedom to customise my own weapons, but Grip Games’ MOTHERGUNSHIP has really gone all out with it. I mean, you can literally create the zaniest and most ridiculous of weapons that offer utterly insane destruction, with the player able to craft the entirety of its design. Great right?
The thing is, it’s all well and good customising guns, but that doesn’t count for much if they’re not actually fun to kill enemies with. Thankfully, MOTHERGUNSHIP delivers there too, with it providing non-stop intense gameplay that’s always a blast to play.
MOTHERGUNSHIP puts you in the shoes of a hero who has to save their planet from an onslaught of aliens, all of which come from the titular ‘Mothergunship’. It’s up to you to put together some weapons and blast the hell out of them, something which turns out to be a pretty fun job. The narrative can be cool, it can be funny, and it can be corny, but it does a good job of adding a bit of context to the action-packed gameplay.
Gameplay-wise, everything boils down to working through levels whilst blasting away at enemies with your concocted weaponry. There are plenty of different types of enemies to kill that unload bullet hell equivalents of shots your way, along with some pretty epic bosses that are massive in scale and incredibly deadly – sure, they could be a little formulaic in design as far as beating them was concerned, but they never stopped being impressive. It’s all about killing as many enemies as you can, but also keeping yourself moving to avoid the attacks they send your way. The more enemies you kill and the longer you survive though, the more you progress which, of course, leads to more weapons.
Being able to create your own weapons is the core feature of MOTHERGUNSHIP, with plenty of customisation options in place to make all kinds of different weapons. You could go for something zany and fun, something simple and effective, or even something hulking and powerful – there are a ton of different modules for you to customise that allow you to essentially make your own Frankenstein of a weapon. You can take two weapons out with you at a time too, so you can have a good mixture of utter destruction in both hands.
The creation tool is intuitive and works well, though it could be a little difficult keeping track of all the parts at your disposal at times. You find so many as you progress through the game and have to go through them all when creating a weapon, whilst all of the different stat boosts they offer can be difficult to keep track of too. It’s not a big problem (better to have too much than too little), but it can take some getting used to.
MOTHERGUNSHIP utilises rogue-like elements, but rather than losing any experience points or cash when you die, you instead lose the weapons you took with you on that mission. Brutal, right? Nothing worse than losing your favourite freak creation during a shootout gone sour.
Fortunately, there are plenty of shops to buy new weapon parts as well as side missions to find new ones. Whilst there are main missions that progress the game, you can keep yourself busy grinding for weapons if you feel a little under-equipped… something which is a bit of a rarity, in fairness. With different weapon parts offering different perks though, it’s worth amassing a collection just to see what you can put together next.
Outside of the weapons, you can also upgrade your own abilities with things like your jumping, movement speed, and health being able to be improved. It might not seem as vital as putting together some stupidly powerful weapon, but having that extra bit of life or being able to jump a few steps further can be the difference between life and death in some levels.
The levels of the game are all procedurally generated, so everything will feel completely different each time you play. It could be guilty of getting a little predictable in design at times and you’ll see a few repeated set pieces, but the different enemies you face off against combined with your ever-evolving arsenal meant that they never grew boring. One thing you could guarantee though was that each level would be full to the brim with enemies to vanquish, some of which are easy fodder that let you feel like a badass to kill and some of which will provide a genuine challenge. Prioritising which ones you take down first is imperative though and if you leave the wrong enemy alive for too long, the consequences can be fatal.
Whilst MOTHERGUNSHIP is a blast to play, it also looks the part with some great sci-fi visuals on show throughout along with some intensely represented destruction (thanks to the sheer ferocity of your weaponry). Everything is smoothly animated and the framerate was consistent too – sure, you could see a little bit of slowdown during some of the more intense and busy sequences, but never enough that it felt jarring or ruined the gameplay in any shape or form. It’s definitely a pretty game to look at.
If there was one real noticeable flaw I could point out it would be the loading times. They’re not a huge issue, but you’ll definitely want a smartphone by your side to keep yourself occupied whilst waiting for a level to load. Oh, and there’s no reload button, which left me in a pickle on more than a few occasions thanks to my FPS-tendency of reloading after every enemy I kill. I know, it’s an amateur move, but not being able to reload all the time made me feel like I didn’t have my comfort blanket.
Developer: Grip Digital, Terrible Posture Games
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): Xbox One (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC