- Written by Christopher /
- Published: 28 January 2014
A lot of games are judged these days on the amount of content they can boast. Do they have a 30 + hour campaign? Do they have multiple endings? Do they have multiplayer? If a game doesn’t answer one or two of these questions with an enthusiastic “Of course!” then it may be dismissed for lacking considerable value. On these terms, Resogun may not make the cut for many, offering a mere five levels, three ships, and four difficulties. But overlooking this game on those grounds would be a real mistake, for in that seemingly small breadth of content lies endless hours of score-topping, eye-popping, frenzied excitement that games ten times its size couldn’t muster.
Resogun is a strong launch title for the Playstation 4 for many reasons. For one, it’s accessible as hell. It’s a twin-stick, side-scrolling, shoot-‘em-up, which takes longer to say out loud than learn how to play. People who aren’t even familiar with a video game controller can learn the ropes within a matter of minutes. Left stick controls the ship, right stick controls your gun. Got it? Got it. The game introduces a few more controls at a fine pace (like the ability to boost and use bombs), but it never gets too complicated. That’s not to say the game is easy, and once the levels start progressing past their first phase (each level is split into three phases, each ending with a unique boss battle), things really start to heat up. If you’re still finding yourself blowing through each level without breaking a sweat, move the difficulty up a few notches. You’ll have to become a master of reflexes and memorization if you want to excel. I guarantee your palms will be sweating and your arms feeling like mom’s spaghetti by the time you hit Veteran difficulty.
As you progress through each level, your ship slowly starts to upgrade to match the increasing difficulty. You might start off a level with a ship that only shoots one bullet at a time, but by the end it will be a stream of bullets with the ability to lock on to incoming waves of enemies with pinpoint precision. The goal of the game is to get to the end of every level alive, sure, but getting there is only half the fun. Resogun’s thrives off of score-whoring, giving players a multitude of ways to increase their combos. However, if you take too long to destroy an enemy or die, your combo resets back to 1. This is basically a slap in the face to go back to the beginning of the level to try again. The higher the difficulty, the higher your combo can go. There’s no greater feeling than getting through an entire level without dying and seeing those points pour in.
On top of the basic “blow up everything that gets in your way while keeping your combo meter going” gameplay, there are also a few neat little tricks that help set Resogun apart from the competition. There isn’t much of a story to speak of, but what becomes clear is that you are in a mission to rescue the last remaining humans, ten of whom are locked away in each level. Every once in a while, the announcer will warn the player that ‘keepers have been detected.’ In this case, special enemies will spawn somewhere in the level. You have a certain amount of time to defeat those enemies, which will then set one of the ten trapped humans free. Pick up that human and deliver him or her to one of the stations in the level and you get bonus points, or an extra life, or an extra bomb. Fail to do so and that human dies, effectively killing your chances of gaining a much-needed perk. It’s that ever-escalating threat of maintaining a combo, saving every human on the map, upgrading your ship, and trying to stay alive that makes Resogun so hectic and addictive. The score you receive at the end of each level almost feels like a challenge. “This is what how well you did this time. Think you can do better? Prove it.”
But it isn’t just Resogun’s accessibility that makes it a no-brainer purchase for new adopters of the Playstation 4. The game is visually fantastic, a chaotic blend of every hue imaginable. Acid trips aren’t this vibrant or colourful. Particles literally rain down from the shimmering sky and scatter across the ground like diamonds. Enemy ships litter the sky in a minefield of bullets and explosions, and it feels like a miracle every time you manage to make it out alive. It would be a shame to blink, which you won’t be doing much of anyways considering how quickly things can spiral out of control. My eyes were bleeding by the end of every level in the best way possible.
But the brightest stars burn out the fastest and it won’t be long before you’ve seen everything there is to see in Resogun. As mentioned, there are only five levels in the entire game, with the promise of DLC coming in the future. You can up the difficulty, switch between one of three ships, jump over to arcade mode in hopes of achieving astronomical scores that top the leaderboards, but at the end of the day, it’s always going to be those five levels. There’s online co-op, which does manage to squeeze out a little bit more fun, but I always preferred the herculean task of solo play. I had seen it all in the matter of an hour or two. I moved on from the game in the span of a week.
I enjoyed what little time I had with Resogun and look forward to returning to it in the future. I can’t resist the temptation to play through a level or two every time I turn on my Playstation 4, if only to set off another bomb that wipes the entire map clean in a wave of white hot death. It’s far too short and thin a title to be deemed a ‘system-seller,’ but anyone that already has the console would be hard-pressed to do better. The next-gen is young, but if a king needed to be crowned, it would be Resogun.