Some of you may have heard of Resonance, from xii games, which has been in development for a good while now (with some early demo videos appearing way back in 2008). Well, it’s nearing release and I had the pleasure of getting a hands-on demo of an early build. We’ll have a full review once the full version is released, but in the meantime we’d like to go over some initial impressions of the game.
Already, Resonance is a great game. It sticks close to the style of the ‘90s classics, but introduces some new mechanics that work surpassingly well. The graphics style is clean, but with that classic pixel look we’ve all come to love. And the puzzles are challenging—solving them doesn’t make you wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner. Solving the puzzles makes you feel like a boss.
The game puts you in control of four different characters, each of whom has their own strengths. A particle physicist mysteriously dies and each character is trying to find a vault holding a devastating device he made before the bad guys get it. You control all these different characters—sometimes by themselves and sometimes as they up with each other. Now, what keeps this interesting is that each character has their own skill, and with that, the puzzles also vary for each.
Personally, I really like this element. It reminds me of Day of the Tentacle where you controlled three different characters in different times of history. Only in Resonance, there’s a stronger division of skill between each character that adds a lot to the gameplay.
One of the four characters, for example, is a computer hacker. Solving puzzles with him (at least the ones I tried) go along with the types of problems a hacker may run into—requiring basic social engineering skills and knowledge of some of the same tricks you’d use to get information (more script-kiddie style though).
There are three main inventories: your items, your short-term memory, and your long-term memory. Basically, this takes the gameplay beyond the usual “use item, combine item” gameplay. You can’t just click on something, have your character realize it, then have that appear as an option for conversation. Rather, you need to drag objects from the surroundings into your short-term memory slot to bring them up during a conversation. The long-term memory is more of a note system, from what I saw, allowing you to recall important parts of conversations.
This all ties into a drag-and-drop interface. There aren’t any “hand, mouth, foot” cursors like you’d find in a lot of point & click adventure games. Instead, it works with a single cursor and its up to you to drag items to what you want to use them with, or drag parts of the surroundings to the right person to bring them up during conversations.
While the game’s theme is pretty serious, it also ties in some good humor. Maybe you’ll browse someone’s email and find they’re falling for an online con-artist, for example. Most of the humor I came across was subtle, but really made me genuinely laugh. Also, just like the puzzles, the humor is clever.
The voice acting sounds great. The characters are convincing and don’t talk your ear off (from what I saw). Also, the regular “that probably won’t work” updates from your character are shown in thought bubbles—they don’t talk to themselves.
Again, Resonance is still in development. We’ll have a more in-depth review after it’s released. But, just in parting, while it has been in development for quite a while, the amount of work that went into this game really shows. Adventure game fans will not be disappointed.
[box_light]All images courtesy of xii games[/box_light]