Can’t Stop Shooting
The exponential growth of the video game industry has placed a plethora of options in front of players. Gamers no longer have to rely on massive, triple A titles to keep them busy for the year, as smaller experiences have permeated the release schedule. Resogun is proof that a simple, well-executed concept can not only keep you busy for hours, but can also possess quality equal to the largest releases of the year. Developer Housemarque combines the frantic gameplay of bullet-hell games with simple-yet-solid gameplay mechanics to keep players chasing highscores through its small offering of levels.
Resogun follows in the footsteps of the tried-and-true bullet-hell genre by barraging players with enemy ships and fireballs that spell instant death upon contact. The secret sauce lies in its circular level design that forces you to not only consider your direct surroundings, but also to keep an eye on the gathering forces waiting for you in the distance. Complementing the curved map layouts are added objectives that reward the player with weapon upgrades or extra bombs in order to tip the scale in their favor. Also in the players toolbox are three simple mechanics: bombs, boost, and overdrive. Each one provides a viable option for survival, but are limited so that they don’t produce over-reliance. Staying alive, coupled with saving humans, upgrading your weapon, and keeping your multiplier up, makes you feel like you’re spinning plates without ever becoming unbalanced or unfair. This game gets tough, really tough, and requires a one-to-one connection from the fingers to the controller to your ship. However, the satisfaction of blasting through torrents of enemy ships and narrowly avoiding death will have you replaying levels for hours.
Replaying levels is indeed what you will be doing, as there are only six to choose from. But to complain about the small offering of maps is like knocking a masterful wine for having a piece of dust in it. The derelict, futuristic cities that serve as the background for the symphony of destruction brim with apocalyptic character, and multiple difficulty settings keep each stage interesting by adding layers of challenge that force the player to raise their skills. Three different weapon sets allow the player choose from multiple combat styles and experiment with new approaches to the challenges presented. Lastly, each stage ends with a unique boss fight that forces the player to navigate bullet streams, dodge obstacle-filled screens, and fly with the utmost precision. Admittedly, sometimes the beautiful design of the bosses was enough to distract and kill me.
If the endless replayability presented by each difficulty setting, or the need to play one more level in attempt to land a perfect run for leaderboard dominance wasn’t enough, Resogun offers a ship editor that allows you to create any ship you can imagine, block by block. If that is too much of a time commitment, you can download the most popular ships created by others. Blasting through the game as an the Millennium Falcon while listening to the driving trance music of the soundtrack is as cool as it sounds.
Resogun is simple, and that is its greatest strength. Its character permeates every corner of the game, from the sci-fi backgrounds, the blocky humans tumbling through the air, and the robotic narrator announcing armageddon. The gameplay balances almost impossible odds with the tools needed to overcome them, and right as you feel you’ve mastered the challenge, higher difficulty levels and online leaderboards spur you on to do a better job. Housemarque proves that an expansive RPG or scripted campaigns with a sixty-dollar price tag are not needed in order to deliver a fun, time absorbing experience.
Edited by Malia Hamilton