Bullet-hell Doom with Rouge lite elements and gun crafting? What's not to love? As I've previously broken down, rouge-lites and procedural generation are seemingly all the rage now in gaming. Hype up a “New Experience Every Time,” add some loot grinding and you have a bonafide success, in theory. The foundation of MOTHERGUNSHIP seems promising, now let's find out if procedurally generated levels can stand against a handcrafted campaign.
MOTHERGUNSHIP: Building Guns for a Better Future
Speeding through corridors, blasting baddies and saving Earth all while creating a new gun for every mission has great potential, but misses out due to bullet sponge enemies and a bland aesthetic.
MOTHERGUNSHIP has a simple plot, with a mildly humorous supporting cast. You must destroy the MOTHERGUNSHIP while creating new weapons to blow up robots. The gun crafting has some limitations. For starters, you don't keep the same gun through every level. Instead, you bring in a selection of parts into each level and then build the gun in the level.
A gun consists of three types of parts. Connectors hold your gun together, barrels determine the ammo you will fire and modifications add properties to your gun. Some may dislike that your gun doesn't carry over from level to level. Fortunately you only lose gun parts when you die; not when you use them to build a gun. This is great because you are constantly unlocking new barrels with varying degrees of rarity and are encouraged to experiment.
Do not expect rainbow rockets and bullet bouquets in MOTHERGUNSHIP. Crazy weapon combos are the game's selling point but it's nothing we haven't seen before. There is much room for creativity, but after 10+ years of Ratchet & Clank and Borderlands, the allure is gone. Even your own homemade Flamethrower Gatling Gun that shoots electric bullets seem tame. We also have to address the question of whether there is anything cool to shoot at.
Stationary Turret Gunship
The variety of enemies or lack thereof accentuate a problem with the game: the generic look and feel. MOTHERGUNSHIP has the speed of DOOM with bullet sponges that feel straight out of Destiny. While you may be quadruple jumping and dashing around with the speed of the DOOM Space Marine, you'll be fighting generic turrets that take longer than they should to kill.
Fear not, the industry staple of having numbers fly out of the enemies when you hit them is present. This lets you know how weak you truly are. There's only so much strafing around a turret one can do before it becomes boring. When you do get hit the game does an awful job telling you that you are actually taking damage. Either the indicator is non-existent or is so hard to read in the heat of combat. From my experience with the game, it might as well not exist at all.
The bland look extends to the graphics. The framerate is smooth, but load times between each room are unbearably annoying. It would be unfair comparing MOTHERGUNSHIP to God of War in terms of load times. I can however compare it to other procedurally generated titles. No Man's Sky for example, can generate entire planets in less time than MOTHERGUNSHIP can generate a 1600-ft2 room. Sadly, MOTHERGUNSHIP looks more like a late-era PS3 game than one for its successor.
It's hard to recommend MOTHERGUNSHIP when there are strictly better titles on the market. It may be unfair to compare MOTHERGUNSHIP to its contemporaries, but when the game keeps its inspiration on its sleeve, the comparison is warranted. If you are looking for something to scratch the DOOM itch, just wait for DOOM Eternal or RAGE 2. If you really need a loot based shooter, even Destiny 2 is worth your time over this.