Developer: Housemarque (2014)
Reviewed by V1
This should be quick! You play as a spaceship flying around what’s left of the earth. Your goal is to destroy the alien/AI enemies (it’s never made clear which) whilst saving the last of humanity. So basically there is no story… & that’s fine. This is an arcade style game that’s about getting the highest score, not the highs & lows of surviving an apocalyptic onslaught. The presence of any narrative would undermine the core gameplay mechanic of building up high scores.
This game is fucking gorgeous! Everything is created from small coloured cubes called Voxels, & there are millions in each level. When you start shooting, Voxels explode EVERYWHERE in a beautiful fireworks display. This game is truly an attack on the senses. Enemies surround you from every angle, there are bullets all over the screen, explosions showering the screen in neon. Phew, even talking about it is intense! The levels are also destroyed as you progress through the game & just wait until you see the Armageddon after defeating each boss. It’s glorious!
Also worthy of note is the excellent dance soundtrack. It’s not to my personal taste (needs more guitar!), but it is suited perfectly to the on screen action. Great beats underline the explosive action & add to the overall experience. Special kudos must be paid to the tracks on levels 2 & 4. They are brilliant & sound like remixed versions of the Street Fighter 4 & Terminator themes respectively. There is no voice acting to speak of, but there is a robot-lady voice present in Resogun. She tells you to save the humans in each level & keeps the player informed during the game. She will tell you when there are keepers present, when you have collected power ups & keep tabs on your combo multiplier. In a cool little move, her voice comes out of the Dualshock 4 rather than the speakers (although you can change this in options).
Resogun is a 2.5D arcade style shoot-em-up. You move on a 2D axis (up/down, left/right) but the level itself is cylindrical. This allows you to view enemies on the far side of the level & plan your moves well in advance. It sounds strange, but makes complete sense once you play. We already know the game looks & sounds brilliant & I’m happy to inform that it plays even better! Controlling your ship is flawless. The movement is so precise that it’s like an extension of your thoughts. The ship does exactly what you want it to do. It’s never a rip-off & never feels cheap when you die. The controls for this game are literally perfect.
The aim of the game is to survive all 5 levels, defeat the bosses, save the humans blah blah blah. Nope!!! The aim of Resogun is to get as many points as possible, whilst STILL doing all of the above. This is where the real depth & replayability becomes evident. Managing to complete a level without losing a life, using a bomb, saving all humans & without losing your combo counter is one of the most difficult/rewarding experiences on the PS4. Resogun looks like the easiest game in the world to play, but it’s one of the toughest to master.
Your ship has more abilities than simply moving & shooting. You start each game with 2 bombs. These can be used at any moment, but are best used to prevent being killed or keep the combo multiplier going. However, you’re rewarded at the end of each level for not using bombs. You also have the boost ability. This allows you to quickly move around the level, avoid enemy fire & also destroy large numbers of foes. However, the boost has a recharge time (dependant on which of the 3 ships you choose). The final ability is the overdrive. This move is charged by killing enemies & collecting green voxels. It’s hugely powerful & a great way to increase your combo. All of these three abilities are brilliantly integrated into the gameplay & expertly balanced. It’s also impossible to rely on them too much due to limited stock, charge up/cool down time.
There’s not much negative to say about Resogun from a gameplay standpoint. It’s very short, you can clear it in 30 – 40 minutes if you’re an expert. There’s only one game mode & four difficulty settings. There have been new modes added via DLC, but I can’t include paid DLC in a review (there’s some free DLC too, including an amazing ship editor!). There’s also local & online 2 player co-op. This is a lot of fun ,but I don’t enjoy it as much as the single player experience.
• Looks great
• Excellent soundtrack
• Controls like a dream
• Great pure gameplay experience
• Learning how to master the combo system
• Some fantastic post release support, i.e. ship editor, local co-op
• Short on content
• Co-op not as fun as single-player
Overall: This was one of the best PS4 games at release & is still one of the best games available now. It’s without doubt the best indie game on the system so far. For only 15 quid, you won’t have many regrets if you pick up. Also, let me know if you beat my score of 39.6 million! (Any excuse to play it again) 9/10