Resogun is a cylindrical based, 2D shooter from Finnish developers, Housemarque. It’s exclusively available for the PS4 (and currently a free download for PS+ customers). It’s also a powerful statement from Sony. The fact that their flagship console launches with this game, essentially a freebie, helps set their stall out that this system truly is – for the gamers.
The ‘gamers’ in question are those who have watched the technological advancements for many years and are still with us. Not just ‘retro heads,’ but those of us who have seen the shocking evolution of videogaming, as an artform; as entertainment, take huge leaps from the corner of the loft to the center of the living room.
Resogun, for those who have been entrenched in gaming lore for as long as I (or longer), is part R-Type, part Nebulous. It’s a side scrolling, space ship shooter – in the vein of R-Type. However, rather than just a linear path from A to B, the game environment is a rotating central cylinder, that you navigate your way around – ala Nebulous. It sounds peculiar – and I suppose it is? But it’s also awesome!
As you travel around the cylinder, you can choose whether you fly left or right, at any moment, with the left thumb stick. Simultaneously, you use the right thumb stick to direct your laser fire! Basically, you can fly anywhere you want shooting in either direction – not just ‘forward’. The different ships you can choose either move faster, shoot faster or have better abilities. Find the style that suits you, then let battle commence!
Resogun is beautiful to look at. Each level you play is filled with stunning particle effects meaning every success and failure results in a fantastic display of fire-work-like explosions in a multitude of colours. Gameplay is as smooth as anything – and needs to be as the action is utterly relentless.
The object of the game is to destroy enemies ships, tanks and battlements, freeing humans as you go, then getting the humans to safety. Actually, that’s a little misleading. As with all old school classic shooters, the object of the game is to progress as far as you can, hoping to get a little further each time – and rack up the biggest score you can! Make no bones about it, Resogun wants you to push for that hi-score above everything else!
To get that score going higher and higher – you HAVE to destroy enemies and save humans – but this is not in any way driven by narrative. Killing baddies nets you points, but also increases your multiplier. The more you kill, the higher multiplier and thus, the higher your score. The quicker you kill, the higher your multiplier, etc, etc. So the aforementioned relentless action is a good thing, when there is a lull in destruction – that multiplier expires – so get killing!
Speaking of speed, after first playing Resogun, I noticed that speedy reflexes are exactly what is lacking from my modern gamer skill set. Years ago, I could clear R-Type on ‘hard’ with little loss of life. Resogun, killed me good and proper (game over screen and all) in about 90 seconds on my first play. That’s not to say it is harder than R-Type, but I am sorely out of practice with this kind of game.
As you fly about killing everything – everything in the game is trying to kill you! Either with hundreds of shots flying your way, or hundreds of baddies trying to crash into you. Either way, you’re dead. A lot.
You do have some additions to your basic shooting ability. Though you’ll want to save them for when you REALLY needs them!
The first is the ‘Boost’ ability. This lets you zoom forward through the oncoming baddies, destroying things in your path. Best deployed as an escape method, when you see no way out, it can buy you some time. However, it can also be useful to speed you toward the action before your multiplier resets. The second is the ‘Bomb’ ability, which (as I’m sure you can imagine) detonates a massive, screen clearing bomb (complete with jaw-dropping particle effect light show)! When you’re surrounded on all sides and your gun just isn’t making enough of a dent, this will destroy EVERYTHING (apart from bosses) on the screen. Amazingly powerful, but scarce!
The final weapon at your disposable is ‘Overdrive’ which basically turns your ship into a monstrous killing machine for a few seconds, great for tipping the balance in boss fights!
All of these skills can be used effectively to give you the opportunity to fight for another minute or two – but you won’t want to rely on them entirely. It’s your quick thinking, the dexterity of your fingers and lightning fast reflexes that will ultimately get you through this game. Even then, it’s pretty darn tough. Even when you’ve learned attack patterns and honed your skills to near perfection, some boss battles feel downright unfair!
Of course, there are those who will be able to get through Resogun in one life and have the highest of hi-scores on the way – but if you want to even just survive to the end – expect to be playing this game a lot!
Resogun is simple and complex concurrently. It can either occupy you in 30 minute blasts OR soak up weeks of your life. Graphically impressive certainly, but it’s the old school gameplay and frantic battles that will keep you coming back time and again. Don’t give in too easily either. If you’re not used to seeing ‘game over’ screens or having to start each time from the very beginning – don’t worry, that’s how games like this are supposed to be played!
Richard is a father, teacher, gamer and writer. He believes that The Last of Us and Olli Olli 2 are the finest games ever made, feels that the StarWars Saga should only be watched in ‘the Machete order’ and once cleared Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in one sitting. Took him 20 hours, four cups of tea and a sausage roll. You can follow him on twitter @TLOUFactionsMP or @VigilanteSanta and view his occasional twitch outbursts on twitch.tv/spooklebeans.