By Jenni . August 12, 2012 . 5:00pm
New scientific discovery are constantly changing the world, for good and bad. Thanks to a new discovery in XII and Wadjet Eye Games’ Resonance, that could happen there. A new concept, called Resonance, has been discovered and used for good or evil. Which of course means that there’s someone out there who immediately wants to use it for selfish and possibly dangerous things. Fortunately, four strangers team up to hopefully keep things from going awry. Of course, you can’t be sure what will happen since you have quite a few decisions to make.
Resonance begins with a series of worldwide news reports talking about a series of apparent terrorist attacks. These are happening all at once in major cities. You don’t get to find out what’s going on, because apparently it isn’t that simple. Instead, the game takes you back to about three days before these attacks.
A physicist called Dr. Morales is working on some theories relating to a phenomenon called Resonance. Except lately, Dr. Morales has discovered that Resonance is too powerful and could too easily be used for dark purposes. Not to mention, he’s being followed. He tells his assistant Ed that he’s going to destroy everything about the project. That’s when the lab explodes. Ed arrives right after it happens, so it’s unclear what happened there and what happened to the project data. Due to power outages coincidentally happening around the city at the same time, there aren’t even any relief personnel around to offer assistance.
It’s then that Ed ends up teaming up with a detective named Bennet, doctor named Anna who also happens to be Dr. Morales’ niece and a journalist named Ray, four seemingly unrelated individuals. Each has essential skills and motives to investigate the attack and current events. Which means its in everyone’s best interests to work together and find Dr. Morales vault. They have to find the Resonance data and devices, because the results could prove disastrous if anyone else does.
Resonance is a pretty standard point-and-click adventure game. In each story segment, players will have to help their group of characters investigate the situation and move forward. You have to talk to various NPCs, choosing the correct dialogue options, to progress. You also need to investigate the environment by clicking around. If you find inventory objects, you might have to use them or combine them with other objects to advance. The best part is, everything you have access to is collected in a menu in the upper left corner of the screen. Hover over that spot and you can access memories, inventory or the in-game menu.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Resonance‘s memories. You can access a character’s short term or long term memories to learn more about the story or open up new options that will allow you to move forward. As an example, a character may have a long term memory acquired through actions or at the start of a chapter. Short term memories, on the other hand, are acquired by either dragging scenery objects into your dock or talking to people. You might even need to watch these to understand how to use an inventory or how to move forward. Short term memories are only accessible during a particular puzzle/area/time, but long term memories can be seen anytime. All memories can also be watched multiple times, so you don’t have to worry about missing something.
I also loved that some puzzles had different solutions each time you played. In some cases I could see how it would get annoying, as some of these solutions are reached the same way each time, but just require players to mark down the correct answers in notepad or something each time. Still, it’s a good way to keep things fresh if you play it once, then come back a few weeks or months later. It also means people can’t cheat online and have to really think things through on their own.
However, some of these puzzles will drive you absolutely nuts. The image above is of a puzzle that took me an hour and a half to figure out, as you have to drag loose wires around the pins to fill in the lines and attach the top terminal to the bottom, making all the lights light up to open a door. It was the most frustrating moment of the game and I have no shame in admitting that I had to go to Wadjet Eyes’ Resonance forum to find the solution. I want to point out that this puzzle is optional, as you can just go around and do an easier challenge to proceed, but you get extra points for doing it. It’s important to know that Resonance does have those puzzles that will make you want to give up. Just like the old school adventure games did!
Resonance‘s presentation is also fantastic. It’s an entirely 2D game with incredibly detailed sprites. It’s the kind of game I wish could have existed when I was a kid, because this kind of presentation would have blown me away back then. Of course, even now I’m really impressed and it’s obvious that a lot of time and effort was put in to call back to classic games while also being something that can stand up and look gorgeous alongside newer releases. Not to mention it has fantastic voice acting! I didn’t expect that, considering it’s an indie game.
The only thing Resonance could really use is a tutorial. It doesn’t explain that you can drag items in the environment into your taskbar to your short term memories so you can bring them up in conversations, or even how to look at short term and long term memories. It pretty much assumes that you’re either familiar with how adventure games work, especially when it comes to combining or separating items.
Resonance is a love letter to old school adventure games. It’s well written, has puzzles that will definitely make you think and has wonderfully retro graphics combined with modern control schemes. Not to mention the puzzles are actually challenging and always pertain to the story. They make sense and really make you think about what you could and should to move the story forwards. Most importantly, I’ve played Resonance twice and each time it feels like I’ve learned or noticed something new.
Food for Thought
1. You usually have as much time as you want to explore a situation and come to a solution, even if the characters seem like they’re in a hurry, so don’t feel like you have to rush.
2. Resonance reminds me vaguely of Maniac Mansion, what with the party of characters who each have their own skills that could be useful in different situations.
3. There are little trophies built into the game and if you perform segments in certain ways or order, you can earn points for being efficient or doing certain things.
4. Logan Cunningham, who voiced Rucks in Bastion, is the voice Detective Bennet.