On the eve of Housemarque’s PS5 exclusive Returnal, Aaron recalls why he loves the studio’s 2013 hit, Resogun, quite so much.
Video games are a time-consuming medium. Daily challenges, seasonal battle passes, limited-time events, and heaps of content to sieve through. The constant demand can be overwhelming and is often the leading cause of my drop off from games. I could still be merrily playing my way through Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Instead, a five-hour pre-title sequence left me unenthused.
As time whittles away with the growing responsibilities of adulthood, gaming sessions seem precious, and I like to feel like my time was well spent. In steps Housemarque’s Resogun; a game that doesn’t demand my time, but gets it as a result.
Resogun is a simple game by design. A side-scrolling voxel shooter, where you are tasked with saving the last humans. And that saving will be carried out with a ship of your choice, varying in agility, boost, and overdrive ability. You will then be faced with a wide variety of enemy types, which progressively overwhelm you from both sides. Nothing too special sounding here, you may think, but Resogun managed to capture my attention like so few games do, by doing one thing: instantly making me feel like a pro.
That’s not to say Resogun is an easy game, especially in its higher difficulties. Its steady snowball of enemy types means things can get incredibly overwhelming if you don’t learn which enemies should be at the top of your priority list. And with every enemy type having an alternative and deadlier mode of attack if you don’t deal with them quickly, the pressure is increased tenfold. Oh, and you have humans to save within limited windows, while you weave your way through masses of enemies. So yeah, pretty difficult.
While the difficulty scales up, however, Resogun gives you the necessary tools for the job. Many games face you with insurmountably huge upgrade trees – I’m 27 hours into Cyberpunk 2077 and barely have three skills – but Resogun eradicates the need. Weapons upgrade several times across each of its five levels, with the simple collection of a “weapons upgrade” icon of which you’ll fly through. Quickly your ship will evolve from a timid peashooter to a neon-beam cannon. With enemies and modes of fire incrementally upping themselves, your experience will start as a basic shooter, and end as a kaleidoscopic maze of beams, blasts and bombs.
This complex simplicity is exactly why Resogun is among my most played games, in spite of being just a few hours long. (And is, to date, my one and only Platinum Trophy.)
It is approachable, immediately satisfying and never asks much of you. There are additional modes in the form of Destruction and Survival, as well as a ship customizer, but despite over 115 hours blasting my way to success, I’ve rarely touched these parts of the game. In fact, upon installing it on my PS5 I was ecstatic to find that the highest difficulty had been locked once more, meaning I would have to start fidgeting my way to top all over again.
Simply put, if you want to play Resogun through once and drop it, you can. If you want to blast your way through hundreds of hours of content, you also can.
Resogun is that rare thing: a game that respects your time. Drop in for 15 minutes and you’ll have a blast. A couple of hours? Sure, why not? Despite being surrounded by games that crave your constant attention, Resogun got mine by simply being there if I needed it. And, as it turns out, I needed it a lot.