Having experienced the awful, tinny sound effects that screech forth from the Wii Remote, we weren’t entirely convinced about the idea of having a speaker built into the DualShock 4. We’re still not, if we’re entirely honest. But Resogun presents an interesting argument for its inclusion, namely the fact that the little speaker seems to be some kind of brain control device – it keeps telling us to ‘save the last humans’ and every time we find ourselves powerless to resist.
So if you plan on picking up Resogun along with any other games, the smart advice is to get the other games out of the way first – once Resogun is in the picture, all you’re going to hear is ‘save the last humans’ until it’s time for bed. Then you’re going to hear it for another few hours, then pass out on the sofa. This is one of the most addictive games we’ve ever played, a score-attack shooter so incredibly well designed and crafted that you could be chasing a new high score until your last day on this planet and still love every second of it.
With three ships, four difficulty levels and five stages, it doesn’t seem like there’s much to Resogun on paper. And even though you can blast your way to the credits in a couple of hours, anyone that calls this a short game is missing the point so violently that they deserve to have their gaming privileges revoked. Every permutation of ship, difficulty and stage presents a very different challenge, with personal play-styles and wave manipulation altering things further still. Chasing a high score never feels like going through the motions, either. Even though waves of enemies seem fixed in how and where they will appear, even the slightest of detours around the cylindrical stage will see the rest of your run pan out in a different way.
It’s amazing just how much each of the three ships change how you need to play, too. The stock ship is your classic all-rounder, with no glaring weaknesses or pronounced strengths and is a great starting point. Those looking to diversify can plump for either a focus on mobility or firepower with the remaining two – the former sacrifices weapon strength for speed and boost recovery, making it more about charging headlong through packs of enemies to destroy them, while the gunship is an experts-only beast that makes short work of enemies but can easily find itself trapped or outrun. It’s too early to call but there doesn’t seem to be a ‘best’ ship, making your own play-style the most important factor in deciding which to go with. Try all three and you’ll soon settle on a favourite.
The act of saving the last humans is actually tougher than it seems because even though all ten of the little guys are sat in glass boxes in the background, setting them free and guiding them to safety is an art that must be mastered. Wave after wave of enemies fills the stage and occasionally, as announced by the nice computer lady, a special wave will appear. Shoot down all of these foes and a human will be released, but allow even one to escape and the human is executed, immediately crippling your bonus for the level and probably making the nice computer lady sad – whether due to not wanting to let her down or just because of our crushing perfectionism, we’d usually restart at this point. Still, once a human is released, they’re still not saved. UFOs will come to kill off any escapees, meaning you’ve got to quickly pick them up and deliver them to one of the stage’s exit points. Juggling release, protection and escort duties gets crazy frantic as the difficulty ramps up, but that just makes sending all ten little dudes home all the sweeter.
Resogun’s voxel visuals are striking and slick, particularly once you start to notice the little details. The blocks from which enemy ships are built litter the floor of the stage as you decimate their ranks, plus the OTT end-of-level explosion is one of the flashiest things your TV will ever have the honour of broadcasting. And no matter how frantic things get, the frame rate never so much as stutters – the smooth 60fps is rock solid and, coupled with a thumping soundtrack, really cements Resogun as an aesthetic delight.
Not that you’ll even care, considering that the score mechanics, upgrade system and human-saving craziness are all knit tightly enough together that this would still be an outstanding game if the visuals were just black boxes on a white background. But they’re not. They’re beautiful. And whichever way you slice it, Resogun is a glorious score attack game and the perfect way for new PS4 owners to learn just how awesome PlayStation Plus really is. Essential.