By Leo Stevenson
Do you like shmups? Do you like electro music and dubstep? Do you like cylinders? Then you'll love Resogun. A spiritual successor to the likes of Super Stardust HD, Resogun is instantly addictive, action packed and, most of all, stupid amounts of fun.
Resogun is a side scrolling shooter, but instead of existing on a flat plane it's set in a cylinder. This makes the levels seem small by comparison as you fly around in circles, but the enemy spawning, arsenal of weapons and gameplay mechanics prevent it from every feeling anything other than intense. Upon diving into the first level you'll be greeted with a brilliant neon aesthetic that looks as though it belongs to a Daft Punk music video accompanied by a soundtrack that wouldn't go astray either. You'll quickly notice the cylindrical level design and realise you're able to see enemies before you reach them. The design allows you to plan ahead to a degree and plan ahead you must, because combos are the key to successful high scores.
Another immediately noticeable facet of your ship in Resogun is that it can only shoot horizontally. It can't fire at any angles nor can it fire up and down. This means you need to skillfully pilot your craft into the correct location at all times in order to rack up kills. In the game of Resogun, you move or you die. Constantly being on the move is the number one priority at all times, followed closely by weapon and inventory management.
You start each level with you standard infinite laser, a couple of bombs, boost power and a truly awesome overdrive laser beam that obliterates anything in its way or even anything that comes close. Racking up kills and chasing higher scores means you'll need to combine movement with weapon usage. The truly hardcore will want to avoid using bombs, as it results in a negative score modifier at the completion of the level. Others -- like me -- will use it to escape certain death. Frequently occuring in Resogun are moments where the only options are to use a bomb or die. Do you risk the points or try and escape on your own? It's a delicate balancing act that totally reinforces the addictive feedback loop of shoot, score, repeat.
Resogun constantly sets you on edge as you play by forcing you to mix up your play style in order to survive. Mindless shooting will get you nowhere. After a few rounds I started to "get" it and was becoming proficient in using my boost at the right time in order to wipe out whole squads of enemies, escape from danger and then use my overdrive to completely destroy every enemy on screen. Moments like these -- when your score multiplier begins to go through the roof -- produce an almost unequaled high. It's pure video games and pure fun.
Adding yet another element into the mix is the instruction before each level to "Save the last humans". Scattered around each level are several imprisoned little people. Once free, if you manage to collect them before they become cannon fodder you can return them to a mother ship for extra damage or shields and the like. Getting to them is often tricky and you have to play the risk versus reward game in your head within a split second. There's no time for pondering in Resogun.
There are sadly only five levels in Resogun, each with its own boss. Beating the entire game on the medium difficulty setting should take you somewhere in the realm of an hour. It's really quite short, which could be a criticism, however if you are a high score junky the replayability will be off the charts. The more you play, the better you get, the higher your scores. For me, I preferred to play in short bursts. While addictive, I found that playing for too long got quite samey. You can have too much of a good thing.
Resogun is the best example of Remote Play at the PS4's launch as the simplistic controls suit the PS Vita's less than complete feature set. It's great fun blasting away on the PS Vita and the game's simple yet gorgeous visuals translate to the handheld perfectly.
Resogun may very well be the best exclusive launch game on PS4. It's fun, addictive and incredibly well put together. What's more, if you have PlayStation Plus it's free. So there's really no excuse for not downloading it. Now if you'll excuse I need to have just one more go.