This post was authored by Alissa McAloon.
Way back in August, I got the chance to play Resogun at PAX Prime. It was my first time using a PS4 controller, first time playing a game for a press preview, and first time being tremendously terrible at a shmup in public. Seems only fitting then that Resogun would be the first game I both played and fell in love with for this new console generation.
Resogun itself is a twinstick powered shoot ’em up from developer Housemarque, released exclusively for the PS4. Unlike the traditional top down bullet-hell shooter, Resogun takes inspiration from Housemarque’s earlier game Super Stardust and breaks into the third dimension. Levels are experienced as a three-dimensional ring, giving ships the freedom to move either way around the level to clear swarms of enemies. There are five total levels with each level being composed of three ‘phases’. A meter toward the bottom of the screen shows progress through any given level and is filled as enemies are killed.Piloting your ship is directed with the left analog stick and the direction of your bullets are controlled with the right stick.
While movement takes you in any direction, weapon fire is limited to only directly left or right of your ship. Each ship has two powered up attacks. The first is a field-clearing bomb limited initially to two uses until more are unlocked. The second ability is a god-mode mega laser called overdrive which slows down time and wreaks havoc on whichever enemies you happen to hit with it. As you progress through the worlds you are able to receive upgrades to your overdrive and regular weaponry. By the end of the fifth stage, bullets are flying like crazy.
The motivations for your neon dubstep adventure are simple: you control one of three ships tasked with the mission to ‘Save the Last Humans’. The ships, Nemesis, Ferox or Phobos, each come with their own strengths and weaknesses. Each spacecraft is rated on a scale of 10 for Agility, Boost, and Overdrive capabilities. The feel of each ship is incredibly different and allows for levels to be played multiple times through and still feel fresh. Upgrades also affect each ship differently depending on the focus of the craft. Throwing the three ships on top of 5 levels and 4 difficulties, players are granted a wide open plane of possible ways to experience this game.
Aside from a loading screen controller schematic and the instruction to save the humans, Resogun gives little direct instruction on exactly how to play the game. Players are left to gather the cues given by the gameplay itself on just how to go about saving the humans. A speaker in your controller gives some assistance by vocalizing when key events are happening in the game with the warning: “Keepers Detected”.
Keepers are special enemy ships, marked by a glowing green hue. After the controller alerts you to their presence, your ship has a limited amount of time to seek and destroy the targeted ships. Doing so will free a human from one of the 10 cages located around the level. An arrow directs the ship to the nearest human, which you must then scoop up and take to one of the two ‘escape pods’ on either side of the map. Doing so rewards your ship with extra lives, bombs, overdrive upgrades, or extra points. If you fail to destroy all the keepers in time or take too long to secure a freed human, that human will die and take all your hopes for extra goodies with it to the grave.
Each level finishes out in a boss encounter. Most of them center around defeating an enemy which takes up the entire height of the level. Find the glowing weak spots, dodge the turret fire — all typical shump business. Despite the typical nature of the fights, the boss fight are insane in the best possible way. Bosses are unique and obviously become progressively harder as you move from levels 1-5. Each has its own gimmick and each presents just enough challenge to keep you playing.
Features like leaderboards, online-coop, and an overall fantastic soundtrack all work with the above to make Resogun an amazing experience. The game maintains the same level of entertainment on the easiest difficulty as it does on the hardest. The difficulty is all at a gradual increase and players are never left feeling like the game has accelerated suddenly beyond their skill level. This little shoot ’em up has easily worked its way onto the list of my favorite games for this year.
[+5 Unique and Beautiful Levels] [+Wide Range of Difficulty Settings] [+Fun. Like really fun] [+Amazing Soundtrack] [+Levels Increase In Difficulty Without Spiking]