The year is – yeah, I don’t know that. The location is – don’t know that either. Look, let’s skip the irrelevant setting info and get to the important part. MOTHERGUNSHIP is an FPS/bullet-hell hybrid from Grip Digital and Terrible Posture Games in which the Earth has been conquered by artificially intelligent computers and robots of various size, shapes, and – colors called the Archivists. A small contingent of humanity exists, somewhere off-world and are attempting to retake their home planet with onsite and expansive gunsmithing against seemingly endless waves of enemies. Oh, and the GUNS. Don’t forget the GUNS. Did I mention the GUNS? This is our MOTHERGUNSHIP review.
What?! You want more on the premise? Fine. You’ve crash landed onto an Archivist ship, all alone – or are you? Right from the start, you are contacted by members of the human resistance: The Colonel and Wilkins. The Colonel is full of bluster and propaganda while Wilkins is a specialist who guides you through the ins-and-outs of the basics, and as a bonus both are amusing. Once you reach your own base ship you’ll be introduced to Jasper, the onboard AI – I know, trusting an AI to help fight AI seems counterproductive, but hey! The Colonel says it’s cool. Along the way, you will be introduced to other characters, such as a pilot who is a frog? (I’m suddenly bombarded by images of Slippy.)
The Archivist ships are broken up into sections which are randomly generated each time you attempt your incursion. So, the layout never gets boring or redundant and you are constantly faced with new challenges and unique barrages of imminent death. At the end of each section is a Joe’s A&A shop that has various gun parts and sometimes health that you may purchase. No, no one will think you are a wuss for buying health. In fact, I would recommend it.
In between each section of the enemy ships is a quick “loading” hallway, that I wish would have been just that. Apparently, they wanted to give you free movement during these loading times but the game stutters so badly at these points that moving is not something I’d recommend until the loading is done. Dice rooms, Challenge rooms, and various other rooms each with their own kind of challenge and more gun parts to add to your collection. As the player progresses along the campaign more gameplay modes will be opened for them, such as Nightmare mode, Endless Sandbox, etc..
While the game uses the Unreal 4 engine, the movement, despite offering triple (or more) jump capability, seems very underdeveloped. As my daughter noted, “Why isn’t your head bobbing when you run?” Personally, I feel like first-person shooters as a whole have moved beyond the time when movement seemed more like sliding everywhere than mimicking actual natural movement. That was definitely a mouthful, but it needed to be said. And triple jump? It’s probably for the best that they offer it, as a single jump in this game feels more like a hiccup than an actual effort at jumping.
Graphics are a bit simpler than what might be standard with today’s first-person-shooters and put me more in mind of games like Descent or Doom. However, the style lends itself well to the overall feel of the game which is a lot less serious and more about just good ol’ shoot’em-up fun. The simplicity of visuals aside, this game boasts some pretty interesting mechanics, such as weapon crafting. Alright, mostly weapon crafting. Yes, I’m talking about the GUNS. Again. To be honest, that’s where I found the strongest case for setting this apart from other first-person shooters. The sheer vastness of the range of combinations you can assemble, even with just the starting parts is staggering and often left me cackling like a mad scientist as I experimented with the possibilities.
At the beginning of most missions, you are able to select items from your collection of gun parts that you want to use for the mission. Some of the side missions will force you to use specific items instead, but I rarely found an issue with what was given to me and was often pleasantly surprised, so no worries there.
The basic guns (barrels) themselves consist of a large menu ranging from various types of chain guns to a plethora of energy weapons or missiles, shotguns and flamethrowers. With a large selection of connectors also available the options to combine weapons and parts explodes (ever wanted a gun that was a flamethrower-missile-launcher-chaingun-gun-cluster-thing?) The parts are modular and freely interchangeable in many configurations. Almost anything you can think of can be constructed, and you have a gun in each hand! A word of caution: There may be some drawbacks. The energy required to power these guns is finite, and while it does recharge rather quickly and you can upgrade your suit to increase your energy stores, running out of energy in one of the many bullet-missile-beam laden battles, even for a few seconds, can be detrimental to your health. But who am I kidding, really? I just wanna make crazy gun combinations and watch the aftermath.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on (X-box One) with a code provided by PR.