Review: Super Motherload (PS4)
I don’t think I totally understood why I liked Super Motherload until my third or so playthrough. It isn’t the best looking game, you know something you will show your friends when they want to see what the PlayStation 4 is all about. But I would still come back to playing Super Motherload day after day. There is just something about digging and smelting all those minerals that had me hooked.
Super Motherload has you taking control of a miner, one of a few you can pick from (and more to unlock), on the surface of the planet Mars. You are dropped there with little instruction, other than to start digging for the mining corporation that sent you there. Controls are pretty simple; you can press a direction and your vehicle will drill that way, pressing up will have you fly. The shoulder buttons can be used to cycle through the items you have purchased, and the touchpad can even be used as a shortcut to using different types of bombs.
The game has a very simple loop of how you will play it. Drill, collect minerals, when fuel runs out return to a base. This may seem like it can get boring, but the game adds little story elements every so often the further you drill. You will start to get distress transmissions from broken down ships, or calls from conspiracy theorists. These calls can help spice up your first dig, but I pretty much just spammed circle when they came up on subsequent adventures.
This leads me to one of my favorite parts of the game, your vehicle. All of the add-ons that you purchase throughout the game will be kept when you start a new game. So by the third or fourth playthrough I had a full tricked out ride that could dig super fast, detonate bombs mid-air, and even get money from digging through magma. All of these things help you speed through the game in later attempts, I think I can probably beat the game’s boss in around 20 minutes now.
Digging deeper and deeper will allow you to access different “bases” which act as your checkpoints. These bases will allow you to refuel, sell your minerals, repair your hull (you can take fall damage, as well as fire damage from magma), and of course buy the upgrades I was just mentioning. Each base seems to offer up a random set of upgrades along with the stock ones for upgrading fuel capacity, drill speed, cargo room, etc.
The game’s main mechanics would have to be mineral comboing and smelting. Minerals are spread throughout all of the dirt, ranging from iron, silver, and gold to things like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. There are two ways you can go about collecting these. One would be to try to combo as many in a row as possible to increase the value. The more you combo the more money you will get per mineral. The other way to is smelt them into more valuable spoils. For example: Silver and Bronze makes Sterling Silver or Emerald and Diamond makes Green Diamond.
You will use all of this money to eventually reach the game’s boss at the core of the planet. The game takes a turn here and you will have to chase after it as it rockets toward the surface. It will however make a stop at each of the base checkpoints. From here you need to use bombs (hint: use nukes) to deplete its life. It seems like this is tough, but just be sure to upgrade your rover’s speed and bring along some repair items if you get caught in lava!
Super Motherload also has local co-op, however I did not find it enjoyable. Instead of allowing each player to dig as you please a common fuel tank is shared. Also the game does not have split screen, so you will always have to hang around each other. With no option for online play, I played this once with my roommate and never returned.
Super Motherload is a game that is meant to be played multiple times. Each time you play you will find something new or an upgrade you just need to have. For the truly brave there is a hardcore mode (if you run out of fuel you will die, permanently). But I really just enjoy digging around by myself and listening to the game’s excellent soundtrack. Super Motherload might not be the best game at launch, but it is certainly the one I have enjoyed the most.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. The PlayStation 4 version of the game was tested for this review. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Persistent characters across playthroughs
- Smelting and different types of bombs
- The Soundtrack
- The different upgrades and character perks
What I Dislike:
- Local co-op not being split-screen