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

Resonance

Review: Resonance

6:00 PM on 06.22.2012 // Fraser Brown
  @FraserIBrown

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.



THE VERDICT

9

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 *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Resonance


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
And when I said "as" I meant "this." The funk has ruined my mind.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
It's been ages since I've been as addicted to a game. That changed yesterday. I can't stop playing Crypt of the Necrodancer. Send help. My hands hurt.
JPF720 avatarJPF720
As I'm back to studying, I can't help but recall that while it took me a week to read 10 pages of psychology theory I managed to read an analysis on Killer7's plot, that was 100 pages long, in a day. Good times.
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
"I don't trust you, pal." "Well I don't trust YOU, guy." "I don't trust ANY of you, friend." This has basically been the Marvel themed Werewolf game we're having in the forums right now. Real popcorn material.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain." Then she explains anyway.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
id Tech 5 is a damn fine engine, but it's way ahead of its time. If The New Order and The Old Blood together need almost 70 GB of space, I cringe just to think what an open world game would need using that engine.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm definitely snatching Quantum Break on Xbox One so I can get dat crossbuy. Screw the haters, I'm excited for it and it's exactly what I hoped for when it comes to W10 exclusive gaming and crossbuy.
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
I've done nothing but read Pointandclickbait.com articles and now that's all I want to write like...
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
People who think that Smash 4 balance patches aren't coming because Sakurai said development has ended don't know anything. I doubt he'd just drop the characters and leave, given the potential balance issues. He's a professional, not an amateur.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Starting over from scratch after dying in a roguelike MMO
Occams avatarOccams
I've been listening to the live stream of the phone call with the remaining militia jackasses in Oregon all morning and its the saddest, funniest thing I've heard in a while.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Next South Park RPG is releasing in the first fiscal year of 2017, apparently. It'll probably be fractured but whole. Can't wait! D':
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Waaaait a minute... From a design standpoint.. Wouldn't a bodysuit look better with shoes/boots, thus .GASP. precluding bare feet? Say it aint so! :'''(
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey guys, there's a new episode of PStoid up. You should go listen to it, I hear Phil takes his shirt off. I mean, it's a podcast so you can't see it. But you can IMAGINE it!
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Yesterday, I brought a banana with me to my job for my lunch break. Some yokel must have swiped it, for I never saw it again, nor got to eat it. My response when: [img]http://i.imgur.com/wrZt8SO.png[/img]
darrenhupke avatardarrenhupke
"At launch, playing through most of the single player content will give you enough Fight Money to get Alex for free!" Will it be possible to earn enough FC by April for the next character DLC? I'm guessing not.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Right, looking for advice. Just redeemed four old XCOM games from a humble bundle a few years back, so I wanted advice on which one I should give a looksie to first. Got 5 choices, kind of thinking terror from the deep or apocalypse. Any suggestions?
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Never be first to avert your eyes when locked in a staring contest with a cat. You must push through the pain if you ever wish to become truly whole, to win this eternal conflict of wills. Bonus XP is awarded on Thursdays!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
S Magala Plate first fight! :D
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I have basic knowledge of two other languages (with certificates to prove so) and I decided today that soon I shall be fluent in both. One at a time though.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

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 -