Surely, some will debate that what is perhaps the most niche genre in video games never went away (which is technically true), but the mainstream ink that a handful of titles have received may be an indicator that a renaissance is in place.
Resonance is part of that renaissance.
Resonance weaves an engaging tale of four diverse characters–a scientist, journalist, detective, and doctor–who attempt to stop a mysterious worldwide catastrophe caused by a recent energy breakthrough. That’s the surface.
Where Resonance succeeds, as does any quality adventure game, is in story. The protagonists each have their individual story arcs that overlap and eventually bring the four leads together. Resonance excels in capturing the small details, and displays a surprisingly amount of wit. This ties directly into the puzzles, the essence of adventure games. There’s a scene early on that perfectly demonstrates this; you’re tasked with accessing a computer, but in order to do so must get the receptionist/secretary to leave the room, then somehow acquire the proper information to enter the terminal. This demands that you carefully read through e-mail that your character has hacked into, and cross-reference seemingly throw-away information to get, well, the real information that you need. It’s moments like these where you genuinely feel a sense of accomplishment.
Resonance occasionally loses its path when the puzzles take an esoteric turn and stumbles over flawed execution. An early scene demands that you, playing as the detective, spy on a suspect using means that a real gumshoe is highly unlikely to use. Yes, this is a video game, but when you’re dealing with puzzles that rely on your putting clues and seemingly random items into an order, a cohesive structure, you don’t want to think like a mad person to do so. Developer Xii spares gamers from too many of those moments, thankfully.
Resonance uses a unique gameplay system that uses characters’ long-term and short-term memory. Long-term memories act as vital time snippets that replay certain events that you’ll need to know the entirety of the game. Short-term memories act as temporary clues and tips that aid your progression.You can drag pretty much anything into short-term memory, but you can only carry finite items; choose your memories carefully.
Humble, yet charming, 2D, sprite-based graphics give Resonance an old school PC adventure game aesthetic. Resonance also features multiple endings, copious amounts of voice work (which ranges in quality from average to quite good), and a punchy soundtrack that manages to quickly create mood (typically a somber tone) without causing distraction.
Resonance is one of the first games to come out of the now-hip Kickstarter movement. If this is any indication of what we can expect from small studios going the crowd-funding method, I’m all aboard that train. Resonance, along with the likes of The Walking Dead, has proven that point-and-click adventure titles have the chops to pull in contemporary gamers. Priced at $9.99 for a digital copy and $24.99 for a boxed collector’s edition, Resonance is easily the best bang for the buck gaming purchases this year.