Resonance Review

  • Developer: xii Games
  • Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
  • Release Date: 19 June 2012

I already purchased the previous Wadjet Eye Games adventure, Gemini Rue during a Steam sale, however I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't actually played it yet! I've heard good things about the game but what was most interesting to me was the fact it was an indie game made using Adventure Game Studio (AGS), a program I've used before in making adventure games several years ago (unfortunately, I never had the motivation to finish them).

Anyway, having won in the GOGgame Story competition recently with my Quest for Glory entry, I received five $10 game vouchers from GOG (thanks guys)! One of the games being sold for $10 on GOG was Resonance and since I heard it was similar to Gemini Rue (in that it's another indie adventure game built on AGS) I just had to check it out. The fact it was developed this year also helped since I now have another 2012 game to review ;).

Plot (5/5)
The game takes place in the present day in a fictional American city called Aventine City. In the introduction, several giant explosions have occurred in major cities around the globe and the game itself starts off 60 hours before any of this eventuates. Four people are brought together after the death of a physicist (Doctor Morales) who is performing research on a new method of generating immense energy which he names "Resonance". The four characters are Ed (Doctor Morales's research assistant), Anna (a doctor at the Aventine hospital and niece of Doctor Morales), Bennett (an Aventine City Police Department detective) and Ray (a blogger that unveils conspiracy theories) and all of them have different motives in discovering what this entire "Resonance" hubbub is about.

"The plot is refreshingly a mature and intelligent one."

The plot is refreshingly a mature and intelligent one. While some of the physics behind the Resonance effect is made up it doesn't matter since it works as a plot device. There are several plot twists as you play through this game so it will always keep you second-guessing what is going to happen next.

Gameplay (4/5)
Resonance is your typical point-n-click adventure. You use the mouse to move around, talk to people and interact with objects. You also have an inventory where you can pick up items, combine them and use them on the environment.

Where Resonance differs though is through the use of "memory". At pivotal moments in the game you will gather Long-Term Memories (LTM) which you can replay at any time. You can also drag-and-drop objects in your room and save them as Short-Term Memories (STM). Both types of memories can be used as conversation topics if you drag-and-drop them into a box above the conversation options window. In the end, the memories are very similar to another inventory system however it's quite clever since it means you can only talk about certain topics if you consciously make an effort to think about it, rather than just showing the conversation option as soon as you initiate a conversation. It also gets around the issue of carrying ridiculous items in your inventory to solve puzzles later as you can just use your memory as a pseudo-inventory item to help you through conversations. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's nothing truly revolutionary here as it just involved a re-think of how to treat extra conversation topics. In Resonance, they are treated as inventory items.

"[Resonance] gets around the issue of carrying ridiculous items in your inventory to solve puzzles later as you can just use your memory as a pseudo-inventory item..."

Puzzles in the game make sense and most of them are challenging but not impossible. You can also talk to the other player characters for hints. The only puzzle I didn't like was one I managed to solve completely by chance. Apparently I was required to look at some icon in the background that actually changed depending on where I was but I always assumed it was just that – part of the background and not actually affected by events in the game! The hints didn't really help me in that case at all.

Sound (4/5)
Voice acting in the game is really good. There aren't any A-grade Hollywood actors involved but it's very high quality considering it's an indie game.

Music (4/5)
The music in the game is mostly ambient but like the voice acting, is also high quality for an indie game. One of my favourite tracks is the one played while the characters are navigating the interior of a particle accelerator.

Graphics (3/5)
For those who love the latest in cutting-edge graphics, I can guarantee you're going to be disappointed. The game has a 640x480 resolution meaning the game is really pixellated and looks like an early 90s Lucasarts or Sierra adventure game. However, for adventure gaming veterans such as myself, this isn't really an issue and in fact amplifies its retro feel.

Having said that though, even though the game is rather pixellated, the introduction to the game is probably one of the most convincing I've seen in a game for a long time – you could almost mistake it for a real news report.

Replay (4/5)
At first glance, you would think the replay value would be low for this game, right? I mean it's a point-n-click adventure which usually equates to a perfectly linear plot. However, Resonance actually allows the player some choice especially in the latter parts of the game meaning you can actually have a different ending.

Also, just like adventure games of yesteryear, you have a points tally and you are awarded bonus points if you manage to find secrets or do extra things in the game. Plus there are achievements for solving certain puzzles or performing actions efficiently. So there are actually a couple of reasons to replay the game besides experiencing the story again.

Polish (4/5)
The game is reasonably well polished – I didn't find any dead-ends in the game which was an issue with a lot of older Sierra adventure games (i.e. you come to a point in the game where you've missed something and can't go back). The game conveniently rewinds back to an earlier autosave if you happen to cause an action that results in a premature ending.

"The game conveniently rewinds back to an earlier autosave if you happen to cause an action that results in a premature ending."

The only thing that may be annoying to casual gamers is the AGS settings screen that pops up every time when the game starts. It's a very busy and potentially confusing screen but so long as you just click "Save and Run" you should be fine.

Score – 8/10

While some gamers may be put off by the pixellated 640x480 resolution, if you can get past the graphics you'll find an entertaining adventure game that manages to recycle all the best puzzles from the genre, and wrap it all up in an intriguing and mature plot.

If you want to get the game, you can get it off Good Old Games.

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