The Average Gamer

Resogun Review (PS4)

Resogun - Bullet HellResogun is a full frontal assault on your senses. It’s a game that’s unashamedly tough, beautiful and surprisingly complex. In this post Studio Liverpool/WipEout era, Super Stardust HD developers Housemarque have stepped up and delivered a stunning launch game for Sony’s latest console.

On the face of it Resogun looks like a classic side-scrolling shooter from the late 1980s/90s. Kill everything on screen, save any humans/bases, take out the end of level/world big boss and try to rack up a huge highscore. When you run out of lives and it’s game over you get dumped back to the start to try again.

As Resogun’s lead programmer, Harry Kruger told me in an interview at gamescom 2013 that Resogun’s highscore table is “a measurement of your skill.” In a world where you get achievements/trophies for simply starting a game, Housemarque’s high score obsession is great to see.

The first few times I played Resogun it was absolutely crazy. There were explosions and bullets everywhere as I attempted to kill anything that moved. With everything on screen composed of little cubes – called voxels – and also fully destructible, Resogun looks amazing in full flow.

When you speed boost into a group of enemies killing every one of them in a huge explosion it’s simply breathtaking. But the best is yet to come. You ship is armed with the overdrive weapon that is so over-the-top in its power. You charge by killing enemies and collecting their green energy cubes before you can unleash it by holding down R1. Once fired, time slows down and the screen becomes filled with devastating lightning bolts, explosions and showers upon showers of voxels from the legions of enemies that perish. I’ll admit, on more than one occasion, I’ve actually cackled with laughter while firing it.

The main point of the game is to save these tiny, green dudes trapped in cages around each of the five levels. You release them when you kill the “keepers” of that particular cage and then you can fly them to safety to either of the escape pods/beams. In return you get points, a smart bomb or shields to cause more mayhem.

Keepers, as I worked out, are enemies with a green aura around them. Occasionally they’ve turn up in a big space ship and kidnap the human just like in Defender. Either way, when you hear the booming in-game voice from your controller (yes, your controller) announce “keepers detected”, it’s time to panic.
Resogun - Explosions
Fail to kill the keepers quickly and the humans are toast. I’ve died so many times desperately scrambling through waves of enemies just to get close enough to kill a keeper. On the flip side, it’s bloody satisfying to swoop in a blast a keeper to death and scoop up the falling human in one move.

The humans even say things like “nice catch” when you pick one of them up in style. Problem is, if you drop them from a large height they splat on the ground and die. Or if you knock them to their doom off the bottom of the level, into water or lava. Housemarque are so evil they even let you juggle them in mid-air using your bullets and have assigned one action to trigger L2 – throw human.

Just when I thought I’d worked out most of the game mechanics, Housemarque go and post on their community forums asking if we’d found the overdrive minigame or wondered what the blue arrow that appears under your ship does. Damn you Housemarque! I’ve never even noticed that arrow before.

The only downside to Resogun is that there are only five worlds to beat, which takes a few hours on the easiest difficulty setting. But then this game isn’t just about finishing all the levels, it’s about saving the humans in style too.

Resogun gets better the more you play. You’ll start to see the waves of enemies appearing in the background of the cool wrap-around levels rather than being shocked by their appearance. You’ll become more confident in using boost as an offensive weapon and not something to save your bacon when overrun with enemies. You might even get to survive more than a few minutes on a higher difficulty level than rookie. Maybe then you can try the online co-op and show off your skills to strangers.

Resogun is available free to PS+ subscribers or £12.79 to non-PS+ subscribers

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