Do you remember point-and-click adventures? Do you remember the 16 and 32 bit era’s where you’d drag your pointer all over the screen looking for objects to interact with or items to pick up? Do you remember using every item on every other item in the vain hope that you’d eventually pick up on the solitary train of logic that the designers used for the puzzles? I don’t, but XII Games certainly does.
You control the four main characters separately at first, but then fate throws them together and you must use their various skills to solve puzzles and advance through the plot.
You play as four characters: Ed is the book-smart assistant to the brilliant physicist Dr Morales. Anna is a doctor at a nearby hospital, and niece of Dr Morales, Detective Bennet is a middle-aged policeman, and Ray is an enthusiastic web journalist with a knack for technology.
Resonance starts with the death of the esteemed physicist Dr Morales, it’s up to you to solve the mystery of his death and find out about his mysterious discovery “resonance,” which can produce almost limitless energy, for good or ill. Depending on the choices you make through dialogue options and the like, you could get one of several endings. The one I got was rather depressing; I’m going to go back and pay a lot more attention to what I’m doing next time and make better choices.
The controls aren’t much to talk about. Click to interact with an object or talk to a person, click on a spot to go there. You can right-click on a person or object to examine it more closely, drag items from your menu onto objects to use them together. Standard point-and-click controls really.
You have to use the different skills and items available to these four characters to solve a huge variety of puzzles, and let me tell you, there are a lot of clever puzzles in this game.
To solve puzzles you have a variety of tools that come in three categories. Your standard item menu lets you rub items together, fit keys in locks etc. You can also examine an item by right-clicking on it, which is handy to examine items for clues or hints. Mostly with this menu, you’ll be dragging items onto objects to interact with them, like using a wrench to turn a bolt, or using a stepladder to reach a broken window.
The only problem with the items in Resonance is the size of some of them. Twice in Resonance I had to check a walkthrough and twice I found that there was a tiny item I didn’t see and that would help me greatly with my current puzzle. Then again, this is the nature of point-and-click adventures, and it was mostly my own fault for not noticing the three pixels that indicated the item. One thing I’ll say about Resonance is that the puzzles never have horrifically obscure answers. You don’t have to combine a barrel and leather jacket to create a makeshift drum that you use to win the battle of the bands. As long as you’re paying attention you should always have the information you need to solve any puzzle.
The best part of Resonance is the way you have to use multiple characters to solve the puzzles. Perhaps one character can distract the guard while the other hacks the computer? One character can access the special terminal, but only another can get into the restricted area to get the sample for the terminal to scan. Of course nothing beats that intense feeling of satisfaction when you finally beat a puzzle. That fuzzy feeling inside from knowing you beat the game without having to resort to a walkthrough, this time. Swapping items and asking characters about objects is a must if you want to advance.
Resonance uses a classic 32-bit form of graphics, the menu gives the option to downgrade to 16-bit but I couldn’t see any difference. The retro look really makes you feel like you’re playing one of the old adventure games from the SNES era, a lovely bit of nostalgia.
Surprisingly enough for such a simple game, the characters are all fully voiced and are a joy to listen to. Fans of the critically-acclaimed Bastion will be happy to hear the return of Logan Cunningham as the voice-over.
If you’re into adventure games then this is a good one, it’s a tad short and the story goes a bit nuts towards the end, but you’ll be thoroughly entertained throughout. If you’re into faster-paced games then you most certainly won’t enjoy Resonance, but for everyone else try the trial on the official website and decide for yourself.