"Roguelike" games are becoming more common, but something you don't see often is one designed as a first-person shooter (FPS). This is what you get with Mothergunship — and between the DOOM-inspired mechanics and the experience of crafting new guns in each randomly-generated level, this game guarantees a good time.
An arsenal with limitless potential
In Mothergunship, you take control of a soldier tasked with boarding the space vessels of alien robots and murdering them. To accomplish this, you need two things: a good suit of armor, and some weapons. Luckily, the game emphasizes both, and frequently gives you opportunities to create your own loadouts. You will randomly come by weapons caches when inside enemy ships that contain gun parts for you to collect, and your armor can be upgraded between missions.
The freedom allowed when crafting is incredible, especially with firearms. By limiting the process to three parts — connectors, barrels, and statistic-altering mods — making a weapon is easy and fun. If you wanted to, you could create a gun with forty barrels. Crazy things like this are balanced out by Mothergunship's energy system. As you make weapons more ridiculous, they burn through energy quicker and you'll need to wait for it to recharge frequently. In this regard, you'll be balancing raw power with the length of time you can shoot.
When you've finished making your new toys, it's time to play with them. The gunplay in Mothergunship is fluid, as is your movement; it reminded me of DOOM 2016. Mastering both mechanics is crucial to success as you will often be fighting over a hundred enemies. Dodging the unending barrage of enemy attacks while taking them out with your own is exciting and intense, and thanks to the randomly-generated design of Mothergunship's levels, no two areas are the same.
However, it isn't without some issues. The random nature of the game is mostly a good thing, but there are times where you're faced with a situation where it's impossible for you to win based on whether or not you got lucky and picked the right guns for the fight. If this happens several times in a row, it can be frustrating, but that only happened once during my playthrough.
In terms of presentation, Mothergunship is a mixed bag. The game is visually impressive, taking inspiration from DOOM's hell-themed aesthetic, and the sound design is great. All of your weapons sound incredible, no matter which you're firing. However, the musical score is bland and it does more to hurt the experience than it helps. The hardcore metal music is a great backdrop to the action for a while, but the lack of variety within the composition makes it annoying to listen to after playing for an hour.
Performance wise, Mothergunship is mostly solid. The framerate can drop a little bit during fights with lots of enemies in small areas, but it's rarely enough to hinder gameplay.
Final thoughts on Mothergunship for Xbox One
Between the intuitive crafting and strong gameplay design, Mothergunship's successes heavily outweigh its problems. It's definitely worth checking out.
- Superb gameplay design.
- Excellent crafting system.
- Solid performance.
- Low quality music.
- Can sometimes be unfair
Mothergunship is available now on Xbox One for $24.99.
Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.