In an attempt to recover from the harsh reality of Knack’s existence, I turned to the PlayStation Store to find something that wouldn’t make me want to hang myself every two minutes. I promptly downloaded all of the free-to-play titles available and then noticed that a little indie game called Resogun was free with my PlayStation Plus subscription. This was a delightful discovery, as if it wasn’t free I likely would have overlooked this indie gem altogether. I never would have expected Resogun to become the go-to PS4 game I find myself playing more than any other exclusive.
Resogun is the PlayStation 4’s answer to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. The influence is uncanny and more than welcome, since we haven’t seen a proper fast-paced twin-stick shooter of the same quality since the release of Retro Evolved 2 in 2008. In Resogun, you’re the pilot of a space ship who is tasked with evacuating the final humans from the planet while it’s invaded by hostile entities and ultimately destroyed. In true retro arcade fashion, the story doesn’t evolve out of the most basic format of giving you a reason to kill things – and that’s one of the best parts about it. You kill things before they kill you – while saving those that don’t want to kill you. It’s simple, effective, and there is no reason to mess with the formula that works.
Resogun (PlayStation 4)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: November 15, 2013
MSRP: $14.99 (Free with PlayStation Plus)
Unlike Geometry Wars, which is a multidirectional shooter, Resogun is played more like a side-scroller by flying and shooting left and right. You can fly up and down, but the guns are fixed to the sides of the ship and it never leaves the horizontal plane, making shooting above or below you impossible. This might sound like a pain but with the wealth of ways to dispatch the opposition, you won’t miss the ability to shoot vertically at all. Upgrades spawn to give your guns more power and you have both overdrive and boost abilities at your disposal once charged up. Overdrive is a powerful beam that can rip through anything in its wake with greatest ease. Boost is more than away of getting from point A to B more quickly; it also allows you to destroy enemies by plowing through them at the speed of light. There are also bombs, which work exactly like those in Geometry Wars, which destroy everything on the screen at the press of a button.
Throughout each level, special green enemies called Keepers will spawn and they will hunt down and kill the remaining humans unless you kill them first. Once destroyed, an energy beam will release one of the humans from their protective bubble – exposing their well being to the conflict of war. This is your cue to rush to save them and transport them to an escape ship. At the end of each level a boss spawns to prevent you from leaving along with your fellow rescued humans. These encounters are all essentially the same with some minor variables in place, but they provide a dramatic close to each level and despite their similarities each boss is capable of easily wearing down those fatigued by the battle that lead you to them. It’s impossible to escape any level with your life, but if you destroy the boss you go out in a blaze of glory that’s well worth the sacrifice.
Through the course of each level, the background environment is destroyed piece by piece. The entire process of your planet’s decimation is a sight to behold. The amount of enemies, bullets, particles and environmental destruction happening at any given time can be overwhelming and hinder your view of the humans in danger or bullets heading your way, but it also shows off the true power of the PlayStation 4 by running at a silky-smooth 60 FPS from start to finish without the smallest amount of lag. It’s a visual fiesta. It’s confetti vomit. It’s exactly the feat we wanted this generation of consoles to be home to.
While Resogun is a bit on the short side and only offers you with five levels, you will find yourself addicted and constantly contesting your personal high scores and those of your friends. The vibrant visuals and fast-paced action places Resogun along the retro greats, resulting in a surprise hit that is capable of supplying players with more fun than any other game in the PlayStation 4’s launch lineup. Since it’s free for PlayStation Plus members or a mere $15 to non-members of our exclusive club, there’s no reason not to experience what Resogun has to offer.