When I loaded up Mothergunship I truly had no idea what to expect. That’s the best way to review things in my opinion, not knowing what the bloody hell you just managed to get yourself into. That feeling remained with me for the first mission where you, some nobody who managed to wake up inside a meka suit that would make Hammond from Overwatch jealous, meet your allies and shoot some aliens in the face.
You don’t really know why you’re going gun-happy on these idiot aliens until after the tutorial mission, but I find that quite refreshing as the tutorial pretty much lets me know what I’m in for for the rest of the game. It doesn’t try to hide that fact either, showing you from the get-go that the main thing you’re doing is building a fuck-ton of guns of all shapes and sizes to kill the robot aliens that took over Earth.
Simple concept and doesn’t require me to think too much equals a perfect kind of chill game that I need after spending hours working. The best part? it never gets old. Sure, you have the same ‘mission’ throughout the game, but there are a lot of other systems involved to shake the experience up and make it so you’re not just going through the motions repeatedly.
For example, you’ll have the choice of taking on side quests that limit you on what you can take. You see, while Mothergunship lets you build the guns of your dreams, you’ll need to invest in three things to make it happen: the structure that’s going to hold up your beautiful guns, the gun you want to be blasting at robots and the enhancements that’s going to turn it from a lame pea-shooter into a weapon of mass destruction.
But don’t be fooled. Building a gun sounds boring, but when you manage to craft one that has flamethrowers, energy missiles, dizzy rockets and laser beams? There’s nothing more exciting than targeting the mother of all bosses and seeing them disintegrate before your very eyes after five blasts of your guns. Excuse me as I Italian Chef Kiss my hand right now.
That said, it took me a while to truly get comfortable with Mothergunship’s controls. As someone who really enjoyed Crema Games’ Immortal Redneck, I was used to just smashing the square button and reloading. But no, this game hates your terrible reload-spamming ways and isn’t afraid to say it to your face. Try and reload in Mothergunship and you’ll end up turning 180, putting your defenseless back out into the open for your enemies to shoot at while you scream helplessly.
Once you’ve managed to stop reload-spamming, you’ll finally have to focus on making skilful choices. Picking between buying that extra health or weapon can honestly make or break your chances of getting out of the dungeon alive. That said, the game does allow you to do what you want without really going out of its way to steer you anywhere. You want to punch the shit out of robots? DO IT.
How do I know this? Because I died. A lot. What makes it so difficult is that you can’t truly pin anything down as each room you go to is a unique one, and that goes for enemies too. No matter how many times you die, the mission you go on will forever be different to the point you must address each room with brand new eyes. You enjoying Mothergunship or not is dependent on that, otherwise you’ll feel like each room is a slog that adds nothing but new enemies to kill.
Of course, some rooms are more different than others. You’ll have challenge rooms, dice rooms and much more to make your experience playing a distinct one. But again, unless you’re just happy shooting things and taking an occasional detour from shooting things, then the game doesn’t have much else to offer you. A damn shame, but it is certainly something to be expected from a game that focuses more on its bullet-hell aspect than the story.
Though don’t get me wrong, there are quiet moments where the heart (and humour) of the game’s characters shine through. As you make your way through the story, hoping to god you don’t die in the most embarrassing way possible, the characters who will be speaking in your ear will truly provide some laugh-out-loud moments that genuinely sets you at ease. Their inclusion is also a great reminder to you that this isn’t the serious alien sci-fi game. Heck, it’s not even close to being serious when one of the characters is a talking frog.
And that’s what makes Mothergunship so superb: it is a parody of itself, and if you love a good parody, then you’ll love this too.
A copy of Mothergunship for PS4 was provided by Evolve Terminals on behalf of the studio. Make sure to visit the official site for more information.