UPDATE: While our review primarily covers the original PS4 version of Resogun, we have updated this review with additional sections to deliver impressions of the belated PS3 and PS Vita ports of the game.
If there’s one developer that can be counted on to provide a high-quality PlayStation Store offering right from the start, it’s Housemarque! The Finnish game outfit are masters of fast-paced, stylized arcade shoot ’em ups, previously contributing Super Stardust HD to the PS3, and Super Stardust Delta to the PS Vita, both essentials in their respective platforms’ digital download game selections!
Predictable as clockwork, Housemarque is back for the PS4 launch, this time with another stylized arcade shoot ’em up, Resogun, which is exclusive to the PS4’s PlayStation Store selection. It’s free for PlayStation Plus members as well! Sure, you now need PlayStation Plus to play online on PS4, but even putting that obvious incentive aside, Resogun being offered free of charge presents much of the best reason to get a PlayStation Plus membership if you don’t already have one.
Like the Super Stardust games before it, Resogun is flashy, addictive, wild, and tons of fun to play! As a free bonus for PlayStation Plus members especially, it’s superb, and a must-download for your digital PS4 library!
Resogun represents a bit of a style change from the Super Stardust games to come before, this time presenting itself on a circular plane where your ship is limited to moving within a set height using the left analog stick, rather than allowing you to freely roam around a planet’s circumference. At first, it may seem constrictive, but the fast-paced spaceship shooting remains just as fun and appealing as Housemarque’s prior work once it gets going!
Seizing the opportunity to play with the PS4’s powerful new hardware, Housemarque uses their unique new cylindrical plane to provide all sorts of flashy, rippling fireworks displays. The circular play area not only offers a clever new dimension of gameplay, but also a greater means to show off the game’s incredibly smooth physics and lighting effects. Boosts create ripples in the fabric of space as you take off in a stream of energy. Powered-up Overdrive shots appear to crack the atmosphere around you as you sear through enemy legions. Bombs send a flaming wave of destruction surging through the perimeter, shaking everything in their path.
It’s indisputable that Resogun comes oozing with colourful, eye-popping style! Enemies appear to crowd the area by the hundreds, and yet, there’s never even a mite of slowdown! It can sometimes be a little difficult to tell what’s going on during the game’s most hectic firefights, but that’s sort of the point. Even without the advantage of 3D capability, Resogun appears to leap off of the screen, almost threatening to burst through your television monitor!
Resogun may not have one drop of photo-realism, but as a way to flex the PS4’s muscle in terms of delivering a raw stylistic experience that echoes the arcade shooters of yesteryear, it’s truly mind-blowing the first time you see it in motion!
Resogun may be visually stunning, but that wouldn’t amount to much if its audio wasn’t also sublime! The pounding electronic music that plays in each stage will get your blood pumping and eager to shoot legions of alien ships, just as the ominous beats of an incoming boss will signal you to ready your arsenal for a dangerous threat!
Amidst all of that however, most of what you’ll be hearing are lasers, explosions, spaceship engines, and any other sound you’d expect to hear in an arcade-style shoot ’em up like this. With the PS4’s added processing power and a worthy sound system however, Resogun truly does sound like a game from the future. Lasers and explosions are incredibly potent and crisp, just as the goofy sound of humans you rescue will put a smile on your face, as you desperately try to get them to safety amidst all of the carnage around you!
As you’re desperately trying to manage enemy hordes, you’ll also have prompts given to you by a disembodied female A.I. voice emanating from your controller. The voice will notify you when your score multiplier increases or fails, when humans are in danger, when your weapons are upgraded and/or ready, and when a planet is about to come apart, signalling your exit at the conclusion of a boss fight.
It sounds like a small thing to have these prompts spoken from the controller and not the TV speakers, but the choice to make this nameless A.I. speak out of your controller’s mic, particularly with such speed and clarity, is an incredible method to up the immersion of Resogun even further! This is a superb way to make use of the PS4 controller’s built-in mic for a game, right out of the gate!
Both powerful and immersive in its audio, Resogun is as much a treat for your ears as it is for your eyes!
Resogun feels simultaneously faithfully similar and refreshingly different from the Super Stardust games to come before.
Oh, yes, you’re still shooting your way through armies of hostile alien ships, naturally. When limited to a round, circular plane and given the added objective of saving human survivors however, this is where Resogun really stands apart from Housemarque’s prior games!
The game offers five ‘planets’, which you’ll play through in succession within the game’s main Arcade Mode. Each planet is naturally filled with aliens that you need to shoot using the right analog stick, as you move around the circular plane using the left analog stick. Some players may initially dislike that they are limited to firing in a horizontal line, but Resogun compensates by offering you other clever ways of attacking your enemies, namely that you can hold L1 to boost through alien ships and destroy them, so long as your booster is charged.
As you’re shooting, you’ll be alerted to ‘Keepers’ that will appear, which are aliens denoted by a green glow. When you shoot down Keepers, you’ll free a human, a small green figure that you have to scoop up and deliver to one of the two escape pods at set points in the area. If you take too long to shoot Keepers, the human will die, negatively impacting your score. Rescuing humans is not only good for a high score and trophies, but will also award you additional screen-clearing bombs, extra lives and Overdrive upgrades, among other things.
Your score will also get boosts if you manage to clear a planet without being destroyed (as with most space shooters, one hit by anything without having shields will instantly kill you), collecting, though not using bombs, and making sure all of the humans get out alive. This is of course after you clear a stage, which constantly tasks you with aggressively destroying enemies to keep your score multiplier high. This frenetic gameplay creates an emphasis on aggression and mobility that will strain players’ reflexes to their limits, creating cool risk/reward strategies where you can decide to press R2 to drop a bomb and give yourself some breathing room by clearing out all of the enemies surrounding you, though sacrificing potential points for the online leaderboard in the process.
You can replay individual levels if you want to chase scores, or perhaps try another of Resogun’s three available ships (one flies faster, one charges faster, the third is balanced, in a nutshell), and for real score-chasers, this is great, as Resogun packs a metric ton of replayability! Unfortunately, this is offset by players being able to finish the entire game and see all that it has to offer in less than an hour too. This may make it a questionable investment for $14.99 if you’re shirking PlayStation Plus for now, but again, as a free game, this point is moot, especially when Resogun proves as addictive and infinitely replayable as it is!
Another potential reason to play with a PlayStation Plus membership is the fact that you can entice a friend to play online co-op with you. This doesn’t provide any drastic gameplay alterations beyond giving you a wingman to help you shoot alien ships with, but it’s quite functional, and should be a lot of fun for two players who both love to let those lasers fly!
Resogun ultimately amounts to continuing that age-old gaming pleasure of shooting a bunch of things and not much else, but its clever new ideas and fast-paced, white-knuckle thrills make it perhaps the best gameplay formula that Housemarque has concocted to date! There may not be much to the game’s package, but this is sure to be a persistent favourite for PS4-owning shoot ’em up fans throughout the console’s life cycle!
Resogun’s immense success led to it being back-ported to PS3, along with PS Vita, with these new versions thankfully being cross-buy, and awarded free for anyone who already bought the original PS4 version.
The good news about Resogun on PS3 is that it’s the same fantastic game that it is on PS4. There’s really no reason for PS4 owners to double back and play the game on PS3, but those who have yet to upgrade to Sony’s next-gen console can now enjoy the white-knuckle action of Resogun, while securing their next-gen PS4 port with a single $14.99 purchase. That’s a great thing!
Unfortunately, while Resogun is still perfectly playable and enjoyable on Sony’s last-gen console, it comes with noticeable compromises. The outstanding particle physics have been heavily dampened, now simply evaporating from the screen, rather than exploding with awesome displays of fireworks like they do on PS4, and the reduced 30fps framerate makes things feel a bit less exciting than the ultra-slick 60fps framerate in the PS4 version.
The PS3 port of Resogun at least comes with the advantage of cross-save support with the PS Vita version (though strangely not the PS4 original), but beyond that, the PS3 version of the game is a downgrade, and is only worth seeking out if you really enjoy Housemarque’s work, and won’t be able to upgrade to a PS4 for the foreseeable future.
Resogun’s quick, exciting action is well-suited to the PS Vita, where you can take it on the go and enjoy it in quick spurts whenever you need to!
For the most part, the game handles well on PS Vita, not really ever being burdened by the reduced button count in contrast to the PS4 and PS3 versions of Resogun. The real knock against the PS Vita version of the game comes from the clear compromises that have been made to reduce the resolution enough to fit on the PS Vita’s screen, which even make the menus and HUD look blurry and ill-defined. Likewise, the reduced particle physics of the PS3 port are even more noticeable on the PS Vita, as is the reduced framerate, which also leads to lengthier loading times on Sony’s handheld.
Still, the PS Vita version of Resogun is a solid way to take this outstanding game on the go, even if the original PS4 version is still the most appealing of the lot. It’s a shame that the game only supports cross-save functionality with the PS3 version, and not the PS4 version, but oh well. It’s all cross-buy, so you’ll net all three versions together regardless.
Resogun is another smash hit offering for a debuting PlayStation platform by Housemarque, even surpassing the Super Stardust games as a thrill-a-second arcade shoot ’em up that is persistently replayable and endlessly enjoyable! The slightly beefy $14.99 price tag may be a tad steep for players who want a bit more out of its simplistic package, but as a free PlayStation Plus giveaway, Resogun is a steal, immediately starting off the PS4’s PlayStation Plus freebie selection on a very high note!
It also reminds us that no matter how advanced our gaming consoles may get, that good old pew-pew arcade action will never go out of style!
- Intense, fast-paced action
- Endlessly replayable
- Silky smooth controls and dazzling visuals
- You'll see everything within the first hour