Resogun, released as a launch title exclusively on the PlayStation 4, is an impressive arcade shooter from developer Housemarque. Resogun is an evolution of the arcade side scrolling shooter that draws heavily from classic 2D shooters Defender, Space Invaders, and Galaga. Housemarque has made a name for itself in the shmup genre, of course; their previous two releases – Super Stardust HD for the PlayStation 3,and Super Stardust Delta on the PlayStation Vita – were both excellent titles which provided hours of enjoyment.
In Resogun, there’s a choice of five stages to choose from; each has its own distinct style and color schemes and takes place among a backdrop of a ruined city-scape. The cities may lay in the background of the action, but they will take heavy damage during your battle against the alien threat. It’s enjoyable watching buildings crumble into dust from the massive and visually impressive explosions that fill the screen.
Each of these levels are divided up into three phases, where you pilot your chosen ship through increasingly difficult waves of invading alien ships, determined to abduct and kill the last humans of civilization. Once the third phase is completed, a massive boss will warp in to destroy the city; each boss is unique and requires different strategies to defeat.
These strategies will vary, depending on which of the three unique ships you choose from. The Nemesis is a fast and agile fighter with extended boost capabilities, making it perfect for weaving in-between waves of enemy ships; the Phobos is slow and hulking, but makes up for its lack of speed with firepower, increased overdrive capabilities, and shotgunned attacks to clear out waves of enemies; finally, the Ferox inhabits a middle ground, providing a perfect balance of speed and destructive power.
Resogun features 4 levels of difficulty that are well balanced and paced appropriately for new players. Each increasing level of difficulty increases the amount of enemies and their abilities; the highest setting also handicaps your ships, by lowering their damage output.
However, Resogun isn’t only about surviving the waves of enemies: there are map objectives and humans to save. Destroying special waves of neon green glowing enemies, named Keepers, will release one of ten humans from their prison cells. Saving the bright green humans will also provide you with bonus rewards to help you clear through the stages.
To help you keep track of Keepers, humans, and power-ups, your controller speaker acts as your on-board ship computer, announcing when map events take place. The voice acting for the computer is superb and fits in perfectly with the entire motif of the game, providing almost a comforting support as you try to “save the last humans.”
Along with the perfectly implicated vocal computer is an impressive amount of sound effects that perfectly compliment the stunning visuals of Resogun. Explosions sound off with a satisfying rumble as enemy ships crumble into a particle displacement of geometric cubes. Vibrant and bright colors radiate out from the field of play to create a colorful display, showing the graphical might of the PlayStation 4.
However, with so much taking place on the screen you can quickly lose track of your position in relation to your enemies. Visual clutter is a legitimate foe, oftentimes making it difficult to see your ship amongst all the chaos. It’s gorgeous chaos; we just wish it had been reigned in to clean up the experience.
Furthermore, while the sound effects and voice work within Resogun are enjoyable, we were rather disappointed by the musical score. The music is a type of futuristic techno, but it’s forgettable and becomes drowned out by the visuals and explosions. It’s a shame, because Housemarque’s previous work, Super Stardust HD, features excellent music that really builds the entire experience into something truly memorable.
Housemarque has evolved the genre of the arcade side-scrolling shooter into a much-welcomed direction with Resogun. They’ve made an exceptionally addictive shooter with stunning visuals and engaging sound effects. If you already own a PlayStation 4, or are looking to purchase one in the future, we highly recommend you pick up this digital title for your gaming library.
And feel free to let us know if you were able to beat master difficulty.