Welcome to hell on Earth. Well just above Earth actually. You see these robots arrived and wiped out most of Earth’s defences, before taking people to “catalogue their information”, making ISO images of people before killing them. You are part of a last-ditch effort to bring down the robotic threat by wiping out their central processing hub, situated on their mothergunship.
Mothergunship has a tongue in cheek story that teaches you the basics of how to survive in this roguelike bullet-hell shooter. Each level has a simple enough objective: get to the end room of a spaceship and hit the self-destruct button. You arrive on these ships in a one way spaceship that looks a lot like a large bullet with space for one person inside. You can only take a few parts with to start a mission and this is where the game’s core mechanic comes into play. You need to build your own killer guns.
This is my boomstick
Ever wanted a gun that shoots more than just boring bullets? Or a lot more bullets? In Mothergunship you can get creative with the pieces you buy as you make your way through the level, making for robot killing masterpieces. You could keep it simple, with a single rocket launcher, but why not slap guns onto a connector piece that can hold three weapons? Things only get more ridiculous from here on out. Find the right connectors and gun parts and you can build a weapon that you only fire once or twice before you have to wait for that weapon’s energy to recharge, like this monstrosity:
This gun has two machine guns, shoots out a saw blade, sends balls of fire skimming along the floor and shoots out a massive barrel that is full of explosives. It also has a few attachments on to increase damage, reduce pushback while firing it and to speed up the projectiles. Who cares that you can’t fire it more than twice without running out of energy? Lasers, fireworks, rockets, barrels, saw blades, lines of energy, shotguns, railguns, lightning guns… there is something for everygun to help your robot killing needs.
Lasers, fireworks, rockets, barrels, saw blades, lines of energy, shotguns, railguns, lightning guns… there is something for everygun.
Oh hi RNG
Of course, finding all the correct parts can be a right pain. Some missions let you take four pieces of gear with you, which is enough to take two nice connectors and two serviceable barrels. From here on out you need to kill enemies and look out for coins, find a market room and buy from the items lining the walls before upgrading your guns. Have a bad run and you might end up without enough firepower to deal with what is ahead. You also want to make sure you can handle whatever comes your way. Are you fighting at long range against tanky robots, or are there swarms of things rushing towards you? While taking the highest damage dealers might sound like a good idea, getting swarmed might end your run really soon and if you die, you lose those gun parts you took with you, so be careful.
To help you against the odds, you get XP when completing missions, which you can use to upgrade the power armour you run around in.
To add fuel to the RNG bullet-hell flames, there are also challenge rooms and dice rooms that you can choose to enter (or sometimes have to enter if the layout so wishes) that will add modifiers for a chance of better loot. Who doesn’t want more loot? Just don’t die. I hope you wore your strafing shoes, because the bullets are everywhere.
Training wheels off
The campaign of the game is really a primer for taking on the real meat of the game. More intricate scenarios are presented once you beat the game, modes that punish you if you die by resetting progress on killing accessing and killing a big ship. There is also an endless mode that drops you into a ship that just carries on forever. Instead of being about whether or not you can survive, it becomes a matter of how long you survive. You fight from room to room, trying to take as little damage as possible so that you can spend your coins on new gun parts instead of health packs.
To help you against the odds, you get XP when completing missions, which you can use to upgrade the power armour you run around in. Maybe you want more health, or more energy for your weapons? How about movement speed or taking less damage from the environment? Maybe you need a hand spotting secrets in the levels? There are many things to spend your points on and they can be freely moved around if you end up not liking certain upgrades.
Mothergunship didn’t need to have a story, but I found myself enjoying my completely useless CO, the beleaguered AI that helps you prepare for missions and the way the game dodges the question of how what seems like a pretty useless enemy force managed to beat Earth in the first place. As the game stands it is a whole lot of fun and scratches an itch to be fast and strafe while killing lots of things. If you want fast-paced shooting and guns formed by your own mad creativity, you should check this out. With a few more modes and variety this could become my go to for letting off steam by murdering hundreds of silly robots.