Despite several decades in the industry, developer Housemarque is not a very familiar name. They found tremendous success with the Stardust and Super Stardust games, but for the most part they are a company that likes to slip in under the radar. That’s no more clear than with their new game Resogun, one of the first downloadable titles released for the PS4.
Resogun shares a lot of the same qualities as Super Stardust, including a flourish-filled presentation, so fans of that addictive title will want to pay attention. But, at the same time, Resogun is not receiving the same type of attention as other PS4 exclusives like Killzone: Shadow Fall or Knack. Which is a shame because Resogun just might be the first must-play title for Sony’s next-gen console.
While the game has several strengths, the one that gamers will instantly recognize is its visual style. Filled with plenty of particle effects and a whole lot of color, Resogun impresses from an artistic perspective, and looks incredible in 1080p. Similarly, the game’s thumping soundtrack is techno nirvana, and a perfect compliment to the futuristic design. Altogether, Resogun‘s audio-visual experience is a blitzkrieg on the senses, and a perfect example of how the PS4 can benefit any game, even those that trade photorealism for a unique art style.
Mechanically-speaking, Resogun is fairly simple, but gets surprisingly more complex the deeper players go. The general conceit puts players in control of one of a few choices of space ship and asks them to destroy every enemy ship, tank, amorphous blob, and polygonal structure that comes their way. That’s easier said than done given the limited play-area of each level, but luckily Resogun boosts players arsenal with a series of secondary weapons, like a map-clearing bomb and a slow-motion laser stream.
Managing the various weapon options might seem daunting at first, especially given the overall fragility of the player ship, but finding the right situation for each special weapon will also be the key to success. Sometimes that means firing off the AOE bomb as a last-gasp attack, or other times that means using the slow-mo attack to quickly boost the score multiplayer.
While most of the game’s mechanics will be familiar to any space shooter fan, Resogun adds a new wrinkle to the standard “kill everything” objective by asking players to save up to 10 humans per level. Saving the humans requires a bit more effort, however, as players must first unlock the humans from their futuristic “prisons” and then escort them to safety. Overall, this secondary objective helps Resogun stand out, and breaks up the monotony of firing an endless stream of laser bullets.
Regardless of whether the player saves 1 human or 10, each level concludes with a bombastic boss sequence, in which players must systematically dismantle a larger enemy. In all cases, that means hitting various weak points, which requires precision and quick reflexes. Boss battles are particularly exciting because there is a tremendous amount of skill involved in defeating the boss, and each is more intricately designed than the next.
Many gamers will be lucky to see a boss on their first try though, as Resogun is a game built to challenge players, even on its medium difficulty setting. That isn’t to say Resogun is frustrating, it’s simply a game with a very particular sensibility. One that requires players always be on their A-game. So, while the game only offers five levels, there is always some new test that players can put themselves through, either shooting for a higher score and a better spot on the leaderboard, or a new level on a higher difficulty. To that end, the game smartly encourages ramping up the difficulty by adding new layers to boss battles the higher players go.
Resogun might seem innocuous at first, but once players peel back the layers, they will see that Resogun is a challenging, yet rewarding, space shooter with a fantastic sense of style. Granted, some players might not find the challenge worth it, or simply find that this very niche genre is not for them, but those who live for these types of unforgiving shooters will count Resogun among the top tier. The game is free to all PS Plus subscribers, and a 30-day trial comes with every PS4 console, which should be reason enough to give Resogun a chance. You may be happy you did.
Have you had a chance to check out Resogun? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Resogun is available for $15 on the PS4 Digital Store or free to PS Plus subscribers.