One of the PS4’s first games is also one of the most addictive of the year.
There’s been nothing splashy about the launch of Resogun. A shooter from developer Housemarque here in the initial day of Sony’s newest console. It’s premise is a pretty simple one too- the game features a tiny ship against waves upon waves of enemies. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because that same premise has been used literally hundreds (if not thousands) of times across the history of video games. So what then, could possibly set Resogun apart from all the those that came before? Well, the answer is simply- fun.
I’m not really going to get into the non-existant story all that much, but basically humans have been colonizing deep space and they’ve got a problem. Seems that there’s a hostile alien force that’s laying claim to the worlds humanity is taking and they’re exterminating and holding captive the colonists. Why the Earth government would only send in one ship to take the fight to ’em is a bit of a mystery, but that’s no different than any of the piles of titles I hinted at above, so let’s get to the good stuff.
First off, since you’re probably wondering, yes- the graphics are excellent. Resogun has a strange mix of gritty, futuristic cityscapes and cartoony human characters that you have to save from their alien oppressors- all tinged in something of a Tron-like neon lightshow that’s just flat-out impressive. I wouldn’t say that I’m super into shooters, but I do like the occasional one. That said, I haven’t played one in ages that impressed me visually as much as Resogun. I think the last one was Geometry Wars 2 and, while there are definitely some similar elements between that and this, Resogun is a whole ‘nother animal.
Huge explosions rock the screen and tear down pieces of the circular cities as you fight, enemy ships come in fast and furious and blow to pieces in fantastic showers of voxels. It’s glorious and when you’re on a roll it can be downright mesmerizing. Yep, Resogun is that good visually. Also great? The controls.
While the new trackpad on the PS4’s controller doesn’t do anything here, it doesn’t have to as Resogun plays beautifully with just the standard twin-stick and buttons setup. Firing and moving is handled with the right and left stick respectively. Adding in a little twist is the fact that you can’t shoot in a 360 degree arc, meaning that the right stick will only blast away to the left or the right and not up and down. So, while that does make Resogun not quite your typical twin-stick job, it also creates some interesting strategic situations within the game.
The standard weaponry on all of the game’s selectable ships (each has different attributes) can also be upgraded as you progress through power-ups that you’ll grab on the battlefield. There are no shops or anything like that to interrupt the flow of the gameplay, which is terrific while your plugging away. Also great while you’re plugging away are the Nova Bombs. The bombs in Resogun don’t have a limited range like in most games of this type- they actually wipe the entire level of enemies… for a few seconds till more beam in.
If you’re getting the picture that Resogun has a small map size (also like Geometry Wars), then you’re right. Where the difference comes in is that this is a ‘standard’ left to right (or right to left) shooter that’s wrapped around a cylindrical level architecture. So instead of flying in one direction, you can fly either way with your ship and actually see what’s happening on the opposite side of the level simultaneously. It’s probably one of those things that I’m not really describing as cool as it actually works in practice. It’s neat. Lets just leave it at that.
If there was a flaw in the game, I’d have to pinpoint the music. It’s not bad per say, but there’s really nothing to it and the soundtrack is relatively uninteresting on the whole. I really would have enjoyed a throwback, ’80s track set for Resogun since the gameplay feels so great and old school-solid. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.
I liked Resogun way more than I thought I was going to. It’s simple mechanics and amazingly cool aesthetic are a winning combo that is playable for literally hours on end without tiring. Resogun is one of the very first games on the PSN for the PS4 at launch and it’s also one of the best. It’s also free at the moment if you have a PS+ subscription, so there’s really no excuse not to download it if you’re a subscriber.