Having a gun with the barrel facing forward should be a nonissue for any game. When that game lets you craft a gun with an attachment that throws bouncing flames and a giant light cross, well, take nothing for granted.
Mothergunship, the lovechild of Terrible Posture Games and Grip Digital, is described by developer Joe Mirabello as a roguelike, bullet-hell, randomly composited FPS. To use fewer characters, the game is chaos with a crafting system.
During my ~15 minute demo, I fought through a metallic and surprisingly spacious spaceship littered with jump pads and screen-filling salvos from the Mothergunship’s minions.
“Earth has been taken over by an armada of kleptomatic- kleptomaniatic? I can’t even say that word… kleptomaniacal? Maybe that one?- kleptomaniacal robotic aliens and you’re trying to take back the earth by destroying one ship at a time,” Joe explained during his interview with Pardon The Gamer.
The game has 13 ships to fight through, with each one acting as a level with a boss at the end. As you can imagine, a roguelike with entire rooms of projectiles is going to lead to quite a few restarts. Joe is aware of this, and wants the player to still feel a sense of progression with each attempt.
“There’s a little bit of a kind of permadeath situation going on, but at the same time, you don’t lose EVERYthing,” he stressed.
With no XP bars or character stats to level up, this leaves you one place to maintain that progress: Guns. Lots of guns. Sometimes guns next to, on top of and inside other guns.
“The crafting system is the most interesting thing about the game,” Joe went on with the light of pride in his eyes. “It’s a little bit like… have you played space simulation games where you can make a ship and add, like, thrusters and engines and wings? It’s kind of like that but for your gun.”
As a player, you have to make the choice between power and quantity: As you add barrels and modifiers and possibly a literal fish tank, each shot takes more energy which leads to more down time between shots. Inversely a basic, predictable weapon isn’t as showy, but it gives you a steady, smaller damage stream.
The crafting system is daunting, if not admittedly under explained in the demo, but once you have your bearings straight it can lead to some clever combinations. Joe fondly remembered his favorite player creation, a flamethrower with a bounce attachment that set loose fireballs in all directions.
“We built one the other day that we nicknamed ‘The Window’ and you could fire it, like, once, before you ran out of energy. But it was glorious. It was, like, 15 barrels at once.”
After listening to feedback on his previous game, Tower of Guns, Joe seems to have a worthy successor in the cooker. The controls are intuitive (clicking in the left analog stick is one of multiple ways to jump and frees up the right thumb to aim uninterrupted), the chaos is controllable and the customizations are a game in themselves.
You can hear the interview in full here!
Mothergunship will launch in 2018 with online co-op multiplayer on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. There are no current plans for a Switch launch.