Keep Calm And Save The Last Humans
Resogun is exactly the kind of shiny, fast-paced title a next-gen console maker could hope to have at launch. It’s quick to pick up, gorgeous to watch, and still challenging enough to keep people shooting while they wait for more substantial next-gen games down the line.
Unlike the PS4’s other free launch indie, Contrast, there’s no hand-holding or long exposition in Resogun. Players only get a single command, “Save the last humans,” before bullet hell breaks loose and the screen fills with colorful enemy ships and deadly explosions. You start with a single laser and a handful of screen-clearing bombs, and can snag upgrades or additional power-ups in each level.
Besides surviving and saving as many little green humans as possible, a score multiplier slowly racks up as long as you keep blasting enemy forces; go too long between kills or get blown out of the sky, and it’ll reset to zero. The key to hitting those high scores are to keep pouring the damage on, while also prioritizing saving those sometimes hard-to-reach humans.
This hands-off approach combined with the speed at which you’re thrown into the action could leave some players bewildered, especially if they don’t read the online manual. It’s easy to miss a few important details in all the chaos, such as the fact that blasting enemies into little green dots charges your Overdrive super-weapon, that there’s a green arrow on your ship pointing you toward the nearest human in need of saving, or that dropping humans off at the motherships also refreshes your score multiplier. Everything else is learned through context clues or trial-and-error, including some harsh lessons such as Keepers which have to be killed in a certain order or else a human is instantly executed (the red-light, green-light pattern is the key).
Also, be warned; this isn’t just some simple pleasure cruise. Rookie mode alone can take a bit to master, to say nothing about the increased waves of enemies that come at you in the harder difficulty settings in smarter patterns, all designed to box you in and take you down. Ramping up the challenge also increases the cap on your score multiplier, letting you rack up 10 or even 15 times the points.
There are moments when the chaos gives way to incredibly gorgeous moments of destruction, though. The boss battles are massive, taking up the entire stage with energy beams and giant, voxel-ly constructs to fly through and shoot apart. Boosting right after a bomb wave is incredibly satisfying, as you chase the wave of blue destruction across the screen and watch scores of enemies explode into showers of green orbs.
There’s also something cathartic about reaching the end of each stage, brutally slogging through waves of enemies and titanic constructs for one single word: “Armageddon”, which sounds as the stage blows up around you in high-def destructive glory, and you streak off into hyperspace.
Even though it’s free for PS Plus subscribers now (which is every PS4 owner at launch), this is still a title people who’re waiting to buy their next-gen PlayStation should keep an eye on.
- Release Date: November 15, 2013 (NA), November 29, 2013 (EU)
- Genre: Sidescrolling shoot ‘em up
- Platform: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Housemarque
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- ESRB: E for Everyone
- MSRP: $14.99
Review Statement: This review is based on a digital PlayStation 4 copy of the game downloaded by the reviewer for free.