Housemarque's Resogun is a fun, fast-paced arcade shooter that lives up to its title as a Super Stardust spiritual successor — the game is bright, fast and highly addictive, with controls that are familiar and comfortable without being stale.
"We like making shooters, this has been our bread and butter for almost 20 years," head of self publishing Mikael Haveri told Polygon. "But we wanted to make a new IP with a new twist."
"you can get in and play for like 10 minutes and it'll still be fun"In Resogun, players can see the whole playing field as they fly through space, a cylindrical world riddle with enemy ships and creatures. The game uses very simplified shooting mechanics — players fly left or right using the left thumbstick and shoot with the right thumbstick. The left trigger lets loose speed boosts and the right bumper unleashes a powerful attack that clears the screen of enemies.
"Hardcore shooter guys can get into it very well, but then again, if you're looking for an arcade experience with a modern twist, you can get in and play for like 10 minutes and it'll still be fun," Haveri said.
During a hands-on demo, we took to the skies in our tiny ship in a glowing green space station ringed with enemies. Opponents come at you in waves, and once they are all defeated, players will be confronted by a final boss. According to community manager Tommaso de Benetti, these levels take around six to seven minutes to finish before the boss approaches.
"The boss is huge, bigger than the screen," de Benetti said.
But players don't want to just gun down all enemies at once; the emphasis in Resogun is on chains and combos, and the more enemies you kill in rapid succession, the higher your score will be.
"For the best score, you have to kill the next enemy within three seconds [of killing the previous one]," de Benetti said. "You want to always have some enemies around but if you're desperate and you can use the bomb and clear the screen. But then you lose the multiplier."
Ships can collect tiny humans that appear around the playing field for more power-ups. Players must bring these humans to collecting pods that float above the circular stage. Enemy ships will try and capture these humans, so it's important players get to them first — if they don't, they lose the power up.
"Technically if you don't know what [the controls are], you can just come here and shoot things," de Benetti said. "But if you want to do something with a score, you need to understand all the mechanics and how they intertwine."
The entire world of Resogun is made of tiny cubes, voxels and when things explode the cubes are clearly visible. Every cube has its own light source and physics and, according to Haveri, the kind of bright, beautiful explosions in Resogun are currently impossible on any hardware other than the PS4.
"It's a really visually explosive shooter, an old-school arcade shooter made for a new era," said Haveri. "But the gameplay is really skill-based and twitchy, so if you want to get into it and you're a real super nerd you can really get your hands dirty on Resogun."