Mothergunship: Gun Crafting Range Teases the Epic Scope of the Full Game

There are a million ways to project force from the barrel of a gun even before modifiers are taken into account.  Whether it’s a single high-impact shot, a spray of smaller projectiles covering a larger area, an explosive that travels in an arc set to explode either on impact or after a set period of time, or hundreds of other variations on the theme, a gun does a specific thing and does it well.  Usually you’re limited to one effect per gun, however, with the occasional alt-fire included for a little variety.  And then there’s Mothergunship, which asks the important question of “Why can’t one gun do All The Things?”  It gives you all the parts and lets you assemble them any way you like, then provides rooms packed with robo-enemies to tear apart using your overpowered frankenstein-blaster that still might not be enough to ensure survival.  While the full game is a still a ways off, as of right this very second there’s a mini-demo available to let you get a taste of barrage to come.

Mothergunship: Gun Crafting Range is a little different from what the main game will be, in that it’s comprised of a series of eight predetermined rooms and features a limited number of parts to build with.  That’s still plenty to create a pair of monster-sized projectile dispensers that can chew through their energy supply in seconds if you’re not careful, but the main game will be hand-built rooms in a randomized sequence with many, many, many more parts to choose from.  The Gun Crafting Range should be considered a teaser rather than full-sized demo, but it’s a meaty teaser and easy to lose time in as you experiment with its options.

The centerpiece of the teaser is the crafting room, which has sixteen different gun parts available to buy.  At the end of the room is a computer station where you can assemble your parts, and while it takes a minute to get used to pretty soon you’ll find yourself tearing the starter-gun apart and reconfiguring the pieces in a much more pleasing fashion.  The starter gun is good enough for the first room or two but, seeing as the first couple of parts are free, there’s no reason to just get by with “good enough” when you can start playing with overkill right off the bat.  Enemies drop a variety of pickups, one of which is coins, and after each fight you get to hang out in the crafting room as long as you’d like to buy whatever you can afford and configure it to your heart’s content.  After a couple of rooms the second gun slot opens up, allowing more variety in the fight.  Buying the Lava Container, which makes all shots add a glowing orange sphere of heat damage on impact that lingers for a couple of seconds, can add both a nice bonus to damage plus a boost to area of effect, but maybe it’s better used on a gun with a more conservative fire rate so you don’t cover every surface with them.  Just because you can make what you like doesn’t mean you’re immune from the consequences.

Once you’re happy with your creation it’s off to test it, and the succession of eight rooms have a good number of different enemy types to destroy.  Spinning saw-bots, force-field generators, single-sized bullet stations in both normal- and extra-large, flamethrowers, spinning laser-wall hover-bots, and plenty more show up just long enough to get turned into scrap, bursting into pickups when destroyed like deadly mecha-pinatas.  Honestly, if you’ve played lead developer Joe Mirabello’s previous game Tower of Guns you know the drill already, and if you haven’t then you’re not only in for a heck of a ride with Mothergunship but also missing out on an incredible shooter.  Mothergunship is a thematic sequel with plenty of call-backs to its predecessor, and the only thing Gun Crafting Range is missing is the secrets that made each room worth exploring after the shooting was done.  That’s a feature for the full game, though.

What’s available in Mothergunship: Gun Crafting Range is a pencil-sketch of the final version, enough to give the shape of things while hinting at the details.  It looks great, runs smooth, and offers just enough toys from the toybox to leave you wanting more.  The humor running through the game makes the trip a lot of fun, and covers everything from the banter between the Colonel and his put-upon Gungineer helper to the gun mods and even abilities.  Not many games start off with a triple-jump and let you keep stacking more as you find them, but the choice between more realistic movement and the ability to play in 3D space doesn’t seem to have been a difficult one to make.  Mothergunship: Gun Crafting Range may only be a small intro to the much larger game, but it’s a teaser filled with promise, humor, and enough over-the-top gunplay to make the wait for the final game just a little bit harder than it had been before.

Mothergunship: Gun Crafting Range is available on Steam right this very moment.