RESOGUN is the latest and greatest game from Finnish indie game developer Housemarque most recognized for their stellar games SUPER STARDUST HD and SUPER STARDUST DELTA. In a sense, RESOGUN is a spiritual sequel to those two titles and offers up some frantic shooter action that will surely make a lot of PS4 owners proud. The cherry on top? It’s free! Well, RESOGUN technically isn’t “free” since you need to own a $400 system and be a Playstation Plus member ($60 annual fee) to get it for….err free. Good thing I own aPS4 and a PS+ membership so I’m just gonna tell everyone I got it for freeeeeee!
RESOGUN can be labeled as a side-scrolling shoot-em-up action game. Players assume the role of one of three (fast but weaker, slow and powerful, and balanced) mini spaceships that shoot rapid-fire lasers all in a cylindrical little level that will have players flying in claustrophobic circles…literally! The level design here is simple yet unique. You move in 2 dimensional space around a sphere and your laser blasts wrap around the level destroying enemies in their path. Besides the basic laser canons, players can drop bombs to clear large areas, boost away from high danger while destroying baddies in your path, and emit a huge burst of energy called “overdrive” that will decimate everything on screen. Besides the main lasers, all the options have limitations that will need to be understood in order to succeed. You can earn new bombs, boosts, and overdrive by racking up points and collecting bits and pieces of blown up ships. While I don’t quite know the exact score you need or how many bits you need to collect to earn more power-ups, I did find that it really does not matter because there is so much chaos going on that all you need to do it not get blown to shit.
There are a total of 5 stages to traverse that all end in a (somewhat easy) boss battle. Each level takes about 10-15 minutes to complete depending on the difficulty which clocks the main game in at about 1 hour. Not long, I know, but RESOGUN depends on repeat playthroughs like the games of yesteryear to nab that high score and dethrone your competitors. A classic and fun way to play an indie game of this ilk. The gameplay here is fast and fresh. There are a few elements thrown into the mix to make RESOGUN stand out from other shooters on the market. Firstly, each level starts off telling you that you must save the remaining humans. Now, you don’t have to save them (you sick son of a bitch), but if you do, the rewards in points will be most valuable down the line. Players new to the game will be screaming at the TV when one human dies after another seemingly without any reason or warning. The way to save each of the 10 humans in each level will make sense the more you play. Like any good PUNCH OUT!! game, you will find the hidden patters as you play. It’s a fun little gimmick that hooked me a little deeper. The other element that stands out is that you have to constantly be shooting to get a good multiplier. After a few seconds of inactivity, your multiplier will go back to zero. Doh! So yeah, RESOGUN is fun, fast, and encourages quick and fast thinking at all times. Simply beating the game is simple enough. The true challenge is besting your score, saving those damn humans, and chaining together your attacks.
RESOGUN has a pretty great visual aesthetic as well. It’s not gonna “wow” the pants off your grandma or anything, but it’s pretty darn stylish and cool. As mentioned above, there are 5 different levels that admittedly aren’t all that different from one another. Not a deal breaker, but some more variety would have been appreciated for sure (Possibly some DLC content down the line?). That nitpick aside, the ships, explosions, and bosses look great! I have never played a game like this where so many little bits and pieces went flying all over the place without any slowdown. RESOGUN runs super smooth considering all the insane chaos going on. It’s quite a spectacle to those not playing because if you are, you need to be paying attention to your enemies fire not the backgrounds and explosions. All of the chaos going down in RESOGUN is complimented by a fitting and upbeat soundtrack that gets you in the mood to play, and above all, be a badass!
If going for that high score solo isn’t enough to satiate your 2D shooting itch, players can experience the entire game with a friend. Joining forces with a fellow nerd is a fun alternative when you bore of the single life. I’ll admit it was often confusing to actually see my comrade during battle, but it was fun to divide and conquer during the stage and then team-up for the boss battles. It also made saving those silly green humans a little less stressful. Just keep in mind that you don’t share lives, and if you or you friend suck, you are just going to have to wait out the level until they can join you in battle again. An alternative would be to get good at the game so hopefully you can find a brother in arms. Let me know in the comments below if that is your kind of thing and we will team up!
All in all, I am most happy with this little indie game from Housemarque and Sony. The gameplay is familiar yet feels fresh. It’s fast, fun, and frantic in all the best ways possible. The visual style isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s sleek and cool. The soundtrack compliments the gameplay and visual style creating a wonderfully simple and rewarding gaming experience. Those bored with the short single-player mode (and are not interested in high scores) can recruit a friend in a simple but fun co-op mode that will have you dizzy in no time! RESOGUN is definitely a game worth picking up for all you PS4 owners out there, and I can see myself reaching for that high score and battling alongside my online buddies for some time to come.
Final Score: 9 out of 10