Point-and-click adventure games have seen a resurgence in the past few years, with Telltale games showing success in the genre with their Sam and Max and Back to the Future games selling really well. Resonance is a new point-and-click adventure from indie developer Xii Games that has been in the works since 2008, but does this old 90s style game bring back fond memories of the genre? Or does it just remind us of how far the genre has come in the past 20 years?
Resurgence begins with news reports about areas of destruction seen all over the world. Large circular chunks of buildings and landscape are just being destroyed with little or no cause known. You begin the game as Ed, a research assistant to a scientist who has discovered a new form of energy that could solve all the world's energy problems, or cause massive global destruction if it falls into the wrong hands. As the story progresses, you're able to switch between four characters and search the city in order to discover the mystery behind this new technology.
When you boot this game up, you'll swear you're running it in DOSBox; the visuals are ripped right from old games from the 90s like Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle, for better or worse. You get no visual options to change the resolution and very little customization options all around. On larger high resolution screens the game really looks bad, with pixel jagging and fuzziness around the pre-rendered backgrounds.
Also, hope you like the few tracks that are available in this game, because they will loop over and over again. When you are stuck on a puzzle in a room, the audio will just meld into one long drone. The voice acting is average at best, with all the main characters having a lot of voiced dialogue with "stereotypically gruff cop voice" and "stereotypically squirrelly scientist voice." Overall, the main voice actors just sound bored. None of them attempted to sell their parts, though some of the little bit players had enjoyable voice actors.
Other flaws aside, the game plays rather well since you basically only use the mouse to click and drag items in the environment. The mouse doesn't change shape like in the older games, so you have to right click to investigate things or get some clues about the item you’re hovering over. You also have what are considered short-term and long-term memories. Long-term memories help remind you of what you’re supposed to be doing, or what major events has happened in the story. Short-term memories are great for helping in your investigations. Say you want to ask someone about a poster on the wall. Just drag the poster into your short-term memories, and then drag the memory you just saved to the person you want to ask about it.
What makes or breaks these games, however, is the logic involved in their puzzles. The first puzzle is a great example of this -- you need to check your cell phone but the battery is dead. Logic dictates you would just plug it in to the wall, but no, he has a spare battery in his dresser drawer. But wait, the dresser is locked, so you need to find the keys. Okay, who the fuck locks their dresser? More puzzles with this strange logic appear throughout the game. And since the conversations you have are context sensitive to the person you ask with, you must ask the correct character in order to get the answer you need to move on. This adds yet another wrinkle into the mix, and leaves a lot of puzzles that will eventually end up with you taking each person in until trial and error prevails.
For point and click enthusiasts, there might be some enjoyment in Resonance. The overarching story of the game is actually very good, but butting your head against the convoluted and ridiculous logic required to solve some of the games puzzles may lead to most gamers not even giving this game a second glance.
With the old look of the game, bringing in new players to the genre will be difficult and also the fact that this is a modern point-and-click adventure game with no hint system means it's very unfriendly to people who have not played games like this before. As it stands, only veterans of the genre need apply.
Two.Five out of Five Hadokens