Release Date: July 17, 2018
Developer/Publisher: Grip Digital s.r.o. / Terrible Posture Games
Platform: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Steam
Mothergunship distills the core of the First-Person Shooter genre to it's basics and injects it straight into your eyeballs. A very basic story talks of an alien race, an unending war, and an expendable army's feeble attempts to fight back. You are one of the grunts out to take down the robotic alien horde, but a new experimental process brings you back after every death. Your commanding officers let you stock up with the official gun supplier and then throw you right back into the fray. Eventually, your goal is to get to the titular Mothergunship and take down the enemy leader.
Mothergunship is a procedurally-generated rougelike game where the rooms and enemies are pieced together randomly to allow you to have a different run every time you play. The gameflow involves going into a room full of enemies, taking them down, collecting power ups and coinage to go into a nearby shop to upgrade, then go back out into the carnage. In the stores, you get to upgrade your guns in one of the most versatile ways I've ever seen in a game. Between connectors, add-ons, and barrels, you can build insane weapons that shouldn't be able to be carried, but so long as the barrels face forward, are ready and willing to blast holes in anyone or anything that gets in the way. Connectors help make the base of the weapon, add-ons change the abilities involved, and barrels indicate the kind of boom that happens. Depending on the power versus the fire rates, you can craft about anything, even if it's something that can ahnillate anything with a single shot, but might take the rest of the level to recharge.
In true roguelike fashion, death means losing anything you may have earned during the run. There is progression, though, as victorious runs allow you to bring back all the death dealing weapon parts back with you for other levels. As time goes on, you also gain experience that you can add towards extra health, additional jumping powers, speed, and the like. This works well in that even though you are going through the same basic story each time, you are slowly building up a stronger character and weaponry that will eventually push you further. Sometimes, going through the same area feels frustrating, as you end up with the same jokes over and over again, especially in the little rooms where the game is loading the next randomized section. If they would have been hallways you have to walk down it would have been different, but you end up standing still and waiting, listening to the same things you heard the last time through. Gameplay gets better with each playthrough, as new parts turn your original pea shooters into serious instruments of destruction.
Taking a rougelike into the third dimension poses it's own set of problems, as it requires more of a set pool of resources, meaning eventually it feels like you've seen areas before. The mix of enemies will change the overall dynamics: sometimes a familiar room will be easier than others. In short bursts, this game is quite fun, so that the rooms and humor doesn't get stale. Marathoning through the game will show it's flaws, but the action and smooth gameplay do a good job of covering up those issues on their own.
Mothergunship may prove repetitive at times due to it's limitations, but the deep gun customization and genuinely amusing humor keep it fresh enough. By the end of the game you'll unlock a marathon mode, sandbox mode, and a true rougelike with no progression whatsoever, along with other modes and bonuses that unlock as the main game goes on. With online leaderboards and the in-game advertising promoting an upcoming multiplayer co-op update, this value-priced title is great for anyone looking for a solid single-player experience with more variety than your standard story-based shooter.
-Procedural generation allows for a variety of gameplay
-Progression within the rougelike allows you to eventually defeat the alien horde
-The in-game chatter and humor is fun and smile-worthy
-Create some genuinely massive guns and mow down the enemies
-Future fun (hopefully) with co-op multiplayer
-Humor and level design can get repetitive when powering through levels
-Some deaths feel cheap when you are first learning and have to die a few times just to see attack patterns
Special thanks to Grip Digital s.r.o. / Terrible Posture Games for providing a code for review!