Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Review: Resonance

6:00 PM on 06.22.2012 // Fraser Brown

I have a voracious appetite for good mysteries, even more so for good adventure games. Wadjet Eye Games has been keeping me plump on wonderful offerings like the Blackwell series and Gemini Rue, and now Resonance. After five years of development, I was expecting -- hoping -- for this to be something special.

I was not disappointed. Fantastic interconnected stories, wrapped up in a grand mystery with four interesting protagonists. What's not to like? Well maybe a couple of things, little bumps in an otherwise smooth road.  

Resonance (PC)
Developer: xii games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Released: June 19, 2012
MSRP: $9.99

News reports flash images of burning buildings and destruction. All around the world explosions have caused panic. Nobody knows what's going on. Nobody reporting the news, anyway. It's a glimpse of what's to come. Three months earlier, four people -- strangers -- find themselves brought together after a mysterious lab "accident" and an unexplained blackout. A promising young scientist, a dream prone doctor, an anachronistic cop, and a journalist who doesn't take kindly to being called a blogger; an intriguing bunch to be sure.

Ostensibly, Resonance is a science fiction mystery. A twisting one wrapped in conspiracy and a great deal of paranoia, but it's restrained. Bennet and Abbot, the at-odds cop and journalist, are laymen when it comes to matters of science, and they keep things grounded. It's the interactions of the characters, their attitudes and quirks, and their often amusing banter which makes the adventure such an enjoyable experience.

They work as one might expect from new acquaintances thrown into a difficult situation. There's trust issues, awkward flirting, and bickering. The voice cast is made up of voice actors from other Wadjet Eye adventures, and also that Logan Cunningham fellow that people seem to like from that Bastion thingamabob. Their delivery is generally good and the consistent quality gives strong voices

All four characters are controllable, and lots of puzzles involve them working in tandem. The puzzles involving more than one of them aren't particularly complex, however, and the solution can be gleaned easily. It's often simple things like having one character press a button which lets their companion through a door, that sort of level of puzzle. Of course, they tend to be a lot more inventive than that hypothetical example. Often a character will pick up an object that they can't use, but another member of the group might. While managing four inventories could have become a chore, who can use what is often a matter of logic. Having four different perspectives makes tasks more layered and involved and demands that you look at each scene in a variety of ways.

While few of the puzzles are going to break the mold, the memory mechanic is certainly innovative. All points of interaction can be dragged to a characters' short term memory, where they are stored temporarily and can be used in conversation puzzles. Of course, not all will be relevant, though many set up some amusing dialogue.

Unfortunately, perhaps due to the developer wanting to get lots of use out of the mechanic, it starts to obfuscate rather than help. For instance, if I'm going to a shop with one goal, a goal the characters have already discussed, the dialogue options should reflect this. I should not, instead, have to select the actual thing I want to talk about from another location and then select it in the conversation.

Long term memories, on the other hand, are employed more proficiently. Characters gain these automatically at key points in the game, they are then accessible permanently. The memories can be replayed, used in dialogue, and are key to solving the mystery. Anna, the doctor cursed with several family tragedies, finds herself beset by unsettling nightmares. Within these nightmares are real events, memories that she can recall upon waking. The dream sections are frantic, haunting and a wee bit disturbing and yet offer solutions to problems in the real world. Psychologists rejoice!

I have no issue with inventory and item puzzles, but being able to use less tangible things like memories to progress through a game is an absolute delight. The characters experiences become solutions, and the environment is used in a more meaningful way. But that's not to say that there isn't a great deal of physicality in Resonance. There's climbing, lifting, fleeing, hiding and even a spot of frustrating electrical rewiring. It can be as tactile as it is abstract.

Although there are lots of avenues for investigation open at any one time, the characters give plenty of direction. When asked, they will nudge the player along by hinting at the next location they should visit, or what they need to do to move on. It clears things up and it never seems unnatural. It's one of the better integrated hint mechanics that I've come across. Abbot also keeps a record of his personal goals, which usually reflect the goals of the whole group, on his phone. Again, it makes sense and yet is extremely helpful.

The world is presented in a way that should have broad appeal. Aventine is a downplayed sci-fi city brought to life with subtle touches like flickering lights and panels, and well-animated NPCs displayed in polished pixel art. Behind them lies detailed backgrounds with a hand painted aesthetic that contrasts with the characters pleasantly. Though it's still in keeping with its indie sensibilities. All in all it's rather gorgeous, but in a way that isn't immediately noticeable. 

The high stakes of the adventure -- end of the world stuff -- aren't overplayed, but things move at an appropriately swift pace. There's no reason the game can't be completed over a weekend or a lot quicker. Puzzles are common sense, but remain infinitely satisfying when the solution is discovered, so it keeps you constantly progressing. 

You really can't go wrong by spending some time with Resonance. While at first glance it may hark back to games like Beneath a Steel Sky, it's a fresh, modern mystery. It's set the bar rather high for other adventure game developers, and not just indies, though they really drive the genre right now. It might have been over all too quickly, but it was undoubtedly worth the five year wait.



Resonance - Reviewed by Fraser Brown
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Fraser Brown, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure FraserIBrown Tips
Fraser Brown is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming who is not Alasdair Duncan. Got a splinter stuck in his hand nineteen years ago and just left it in there. True story. ... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Solar Pony Django's Review on: Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

Thankful it's ov

Half - Life 3 FINALLY 100% confirmed...maybe.

Surprisingly... I'm *really* enjoying Fallout 4!!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

My Month in Games - November 2015

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, my new blog is up! A few days ago! Go read it! Before......before its too late. Please. *walls start crumbling, reality starts oozing out, things begin to eeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Alright so I'm looking for a few games for my newly repurchased DS. I'm already set on RPG as it's all I have pretty much. Were there any good puzzle games? I've heard good things about Professor Layton.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I made chocolate and banana cake because why not.
able to think avatarable to think
After hearing Persona 4 Dancing All Night come out of my surround sound system; I can safely say my $20 Playstation TV purchase was totally justified. The bass on Best Friends (Banvox Remox) literally shook the floor. It's freaking awesome!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
I wish I could say I made this 'shop. [img][/img]
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow. Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow.
Alfie avatarAlfie
Was on the front page and was greeted by a new post, which I clicked to find "You cannot see the future". Then refreshed and it was gone. I saw Chris's post on Eight Days' cancellation as it was brought, new and unready, into the world! Rare and wonderful
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Have you ever purchased a game only to regret it later and then sell it/give it away, only to even later regret selling it and wind up purchasing it again?
gajknight avatargajknight
A decadent staircase adorned in gold rises into infinite darkness. Writhing beings beyond comprehension lurk in the shadows, their mere presence encroaching on the edges of human understanding. A blood moon glows . I am losing my mind. I need more eyes...
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
We need to be implanted with microchips because I'd really like to know how much time I've spent playing different video games my entire life.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If there are rainbows in Xenoblade Chronicles X, Reyn must be in it as well. You can't have a rainbow without Reyn, baby!
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I really hope Xenoblade become it's own franchise, it has way too much potential to simply being reduced to 2 games.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Touchable Holograms? When this eventually matures and hits market, almost all our regulars will vanish for weeks.
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Xenoblade Chronicles Wii for €10? Sure, Nintendo, don't mind if I do!
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Super Smash Bros. 4 has too much content. So much so I almost don't want a sequel. I honestly hope that NX gets a "Super Smash Bros. For NX" port rather than a new installment. It could be a GOTY edition and come with all of the DLC.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Flegma avatarFlegma
Bought my first full-priced physical 3DS game ever - New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward. I'll try to write a post on the previous game at some point before doing the same with NSB2.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
How do you guys manage to buy all these games at day 1 with such huge backlogs?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys if I were to do a thing, how many of you would watch my thing because I was thinking of doing a thing but I dunno if people really like that kinda thing so I just wanted to know if you liked that thing because I'm thinking of doing a thing, you know?
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Bayonetta 2 is 40% off in the EU Nintendo eShop today. If you have a WiiU and don't have this game you are a horrible person and I want nothing to do with you. You can amend your errors by buying it. Xenoblade Wii is also 50% off as well.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -