Indie Review: Resonance
It's been a five year wait for point and click adventure Indie title, Resonance. It's a game with strong ambition despite its tiny creative team, which is highly admirable. And after playing through Resonance, it's rather astounding that the game manages to make you feel like the wait was worth it.
- Worth The Time?Yes, absolutely.
- Things LovedThe story is damn compelling and deeply interesting, the characters are great, the voice acting is good, the puzzles are excellently crafted with logical solutions for the most part, the game looks really good, the music is fantastic, the game never feels dull despite its point and click nature, you won't want to put the game down, the experience is memorable.
- Things HatedOccasionally you can be totally lost, it feels like it's over too quickly.
- RecommendationIf you enjoy this genre, you just can't go wrong with Resonance. It's completely worth it for its story and characters alone.
- Name: Resonance
- Genre: Point and Click, Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, Steam
- Developer: XII Games
- Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
- Price: $9.99
- Reviewed On: PC
Click here to download the demo.
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I’m going to be perfectly honest. I knew nothing about Resonance heading into it. I didn’t know that it had been in development for five full years, and neither was I aware that most of the work was done by one person, which is seriously impressive. But I do know one thing. I’m extremely happy that I played this game. Looking at it as an Indie project, if I had been waiting for this one for five years, I would still be completely satisfied with what I got. Resonance is thrilling and deeply interesting from beginning to end, provided you’re on the right track and not lost, and when you eventually see the end credits you’ll be stunned into silence. This is going to be a relatively straightforward review, because to put it simply there is barely anything I feel the need to criticize this game for. It’s a fantastic achievement.
The game is a sci-fi thriller centered around four characters who become interconnected through one mystery. There’s Ed, the lab assistant of the great scientist Dr. Morales who is at the forefront of the plot’s mystery, Anna, who is searching for answers and is the niece of Morales, Ray, who is a shady journalist looking for a big scoop and Bennet, who is a Detective. All four of these initially estranged characters become connected by their mutual interest in Dr. Morales and his work after he dies under strange circumstances. I won’t be saying anything further about the storyline, because it’s just about the biggest reason you play this game for, and it would be a real shame to give anything away.
The story is extremely interesting, and pretty damn compelling. It’s further complemented by really good voice acting for the main dialogues, and highly likable and intriguing characters. Resonance will definitely surprise you with its story ambition, and the scope of its mystery. And the impressive thing is, that despite the feeling I got that it was over too quickly, I didn’t get the sense that anything was rushed over or only touched with a ten foot pole. The story is dense, it’s full of life and it’s a grand mystery with a shocking finale. I was so impressed with Resonance’s storytelling that I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that its first-rate plot and writing can match up to the best we’ve seen this year so far. It’s clever, thoroughly entertaining and it somehow easily manages to find a good mix of charm, humour and seriousness. But make no mistake, this is a serious tale, and it’s one you’ll need to see to the end.
The game is played more or less like your standard point and click title, except with a few unique elements that make it really interesting. Firstly, you’ll control all four characters throughout the game, with you in charge of all simultaneously later on. You’ll swap between them with the on-screen menu at the top of the screen. It sounds quite standard, but where the game innovates is with its memory mechanic. In addition to their inventory space, each character will have access to long-term and short-term memory. Short-term memory is much like a second inventory, except you can put any person or object you think to be of interest into it, by dragging the icon from the screen into your STM space, and then recall the stored memory during dialogue. Long-term memory, on the other hand, are story-related events that are added automatically and can be recalled at any point in time, bringing up a bubble on screen that replays the event. Long-term memories are available to all characters, and are helpful to recap on important story events, progress further and use during applicable dialogue.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it really helps to make the game have a very logical feel about it. For a basic example of how the mechanics are used, say for instance someone told you where to collect an item you need, but it isn’t there. You can put the location, for example if it’s a storage room, into your short-term memory and then ask the person about the item. In the case of long-term memory, a basic example of where it would be used is if for instance you remember seeing someone at a place, and you need to pinpoint where and when you saw them. You’d recall the long-term memory and there you go. Keep in mind that these are just small examples, and the game has a far bigger imagination than the straightforward problems I provided. The game certainly has a great variety in its puzzles.
It’s the combination of the memory mechanic, inventory and usage of items and the cleverly designed puzzles that make Resonance so imaginative and exciting with its gameplay. There’s nothing impossible, and there’s a good mix of easy and really challenging puzzles. Aside from the odd occasion where you may be hopelessly lost, Resonance is a game where once you speak its language, you’ll understand how it functions. The characters will help you out with this too, as they interact and play to their strengths. For example, Ed is a total science whizz while Bennet and Ray are quite slow in that department, so while Ed rambles off, Bennet and Ray will attempt to make sense of it in simple and often funny ways, helping the player get the gist of it in a reasonable way. If you’re lost, Ray’s smartphone keeps a list of the objectives, which makes perfect sense in the context of the game. But really, when things are going your way, Resonance has a magic about it that makes you feel pretty great even when you solve the game’s more simple puzzles. That’s the mark of clever and well designed puzzles. They feel logical, like you actually have to work them out, and that’s here in spades.
The game won’t take that long to complete if you know what you’re doing or use a walkthrough, but there are multiple paths and endings that make it worth a second playthrough. You get four save slots, and you’ll save on your exact spot, which encourages experimentation. And you never know, you may even enjoy the second experience just as much since you won’t be left scratching your head at some of the less obvious puzzles, and can then focus on the story and exploration of the game’s world. You can chase after achievements too if that’s your thing. However, there’s one last thing to mention about Resonance that is quite interesting. Despite the fact that getting a character killed or failing your objective causes the game to instantly rewind back to just before the screw up, Resonance doesn’t feel like a trial and error quest, but rather a game that wants you to find the solution, which is cool.
The graphics are really great, and the game does well to make you feel nostalgic of the old days. Characters and environments are well-detailed, the game is rich with colour and personality and it looks really good in motion. As already mentioned, the voice acting is of a high quality, which is very important in a story-driven game. One of the things I loved most about the game though was the epic music. For some reason I found the common background tracks quite catchy, but the thrilling scores found in the game’s tense moments are just really great. On the technical side of things, I had no problems at all downloading and installing this game off Steam, and getting it to work was easy.
Resonance is hands-down one of the best point and click adventure games I’ve ever played, and it’s definitely the most memorable overall, setting the bar for the genre quite high. It’s thrilling and deeply interesting from start to finish, and its compelling story and characters will make you almost unable to put it down. It’s an exceptional achievement, and an experience you shouldn’t let pass you by.