BLOWING US UP, BUT NOT AWAY
The PlayStation Vita is a powerful handheld console capable of beautiful visuals. Resogun is a PlayStation 4-native twin-stick shooter known for its brilliant aesthetics. In theory, the two should be a flawless marriage.
Maybe it’s not quite a diamond ring, but Resogun on the Vita is at least cubic zirconia doing its best imitation job. It chugs at times to bring the flashy visuals of its cousin on the PS4, but in a scaled-down form. Luckily, the gameplay is identical and presents itself as the same fun, sometimes over-the-top side shooter as the original. If you didn’t play the PS4 version that came out in November 2013, in short, it’s much like a Michael Bay movie: few words, zero plot and a plethora of explosions. You get that same experience on Vita.
Before you continue, here’s the review for Resogun on the PS4. Since gameplay is identical to the Vita version, you’ll want to visit that review for some basic information on the ships, levels and difficulties.
Game developer Housemarque, an independent Finnish studio, handed Resogun over to Climax Studios to handle the port from PS4 to Vita and PlayStation 3. It’s the second time Climax has ported a Housemarque title after moving top-down zombie blaster Dead Nation to the Vita earlier in 2014.
If you memorized the levels on PS4, you’re in luck as they are the same, play-for-play, as the original. These short-burst missions lend the game greatly to handheld gaming. In my first session with the Vita version, I beat the first three levels and made it partly through the fourth during a 30-minute subway ride (granted, this was on Beginner and without restarting any stages). With an efficient run, you could beat all five levels in an hour.
Resogun’s slick voxel art style goes hand-in-hand well with the endless stream of explosions and flying pieces across the screen. The original Vita’s OLED screen takes center stage and makes the prominently red, green and blue colors prominently pop.
The most obvious detractor from the PS4 to Vita (and PS3) is a drop from 60 frames per second to 30 fps on the latter systems. The change was a necessity to get the game functioning with less power, but the difference can be a matter of life and death during tense moments.
Graphical fidelity aside, the transition to the small screen brought about another problem. As you reach later missions and larger swarms of voxel enemies, it’s a strain to identify every little fireball emitted from enemy ships. Because of this, there were multiple times when I inadvertently flew into an unseen fireball and erupted in a spectacular explosion. This was particularly frustrating on the Veteran and Master difficulty settings.
If you have too much trouble navigating the treacherous higher difficulties, you can take advantage of the cross-save feature for the Vita and PS3. It’s much easier to see everything on a television screen.
However, the game’s mechanics work great here. The buttons are mapped in a logical way and the layout presents a borderline better experience than the DualShock 4 with the “bomb” and “throw human” actions moved from shoulder to face buttons. I did miss the voice coming from the DS4, though.
The Verdict: 7.9 out of 10.0
Overall, Resogun is an experience to be experienced. Its proper home on the PS4 is ideal, but if the PS3 or Vita are your only options, it’s about as good as a game can be without being great. If you want the great experience with a flying shooter on the Vita and prefer heart-pounding sounds over eye candy, play Luftrausers instead.
With that said, the high score-focused gameplay and leaderboard competition that come along with Resogun keep it fresh for a while. In addition, many people may receive the game for free as it’s cross-buy and was a PlayStation Plus title for multiple months in 2013 and 2014.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.
Brian Hoerst blew up a lot of things in Resogun in 2014. Follow him on Twitter.