Another day, another adventure game. The renaissance of the point & click is in full effect and, as a fan of such things, I couldn't be happier. Today's title, developed by XII Games, can be downloaded for just a few bucks; to find out if you, too, should jump in, read on...
Resonance is set in a plausible, high-tech near-future, in a place called Aventine City. The first character we meet is a bit of a no-hoper scientist named Ed, though it’s not long before we are introduced to the others who make up the rest of the main cast. There’s Anna, the beautiful doctor with a mysterious past, Bennet, a hard-boiled cop who still wants to lend a hand, and Ray, a journalist who is desperate to make his name.
Each of the four are drawn into the story that centres around the research of Dr Morales, Ed’s boss and mentor. For years, Morales has been researching something he calls ‘Resonance’, which is the result of his work to split an electron into two sub particles that have powerful attractive forces. Morales’ intent was to use the energy produced to create clean power for the world, however there is also the potential to weaponize Resonance’s forces.
Ultimately, Morales has come to the conclusion that his life’s work, the research, and all of the equipment in his lab, need to be destroyed. Ed, who has also put a lot of work into the project, isn’t so quick to agree. They don’t get much of a chance to argue the point however; Morales is killed after a mysterious attack on his lab. Ed then leads the others in a search for Morales’ secret vault, which he believes houses all of the secrets behind the Resonance project.
In order to collect clues and uncover information about the vault, the four characters need to work together. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, and a large part of the game is in discovering how to combine these in order to get past all the different obstacles in their path. A dodgy database administrator at City Hall will only talk to Bennet, who knows him as a reliable source of information, while Anna’s able to breeze through the hospital without anyone taking notice.
At times, the different combinations and approaches available can seem a little overwhelming when you’re initially faced with a problem to overcome. But fortunately the characters are also quite good at communicating with each other, and often speaking with everyone can help to formulate a game plan.
In addition to the character variety, Resonance brings another interesting mechanic to the game, that of memories. There are two types of memory in the game, long-term and short- term. Long term memories are things like flashbacks, or core story memories that characters can remember, or talk to another character about. Short-term memories are a little more flexible; and they are used more as a problem-solving tool.
For example, in a scene where Ray is trying to get rid of a receptionist so he can do a little snooping, he is able to add various objects in the room to his short term memory, which he then can use to trigger a response from the other character. He notices a clock on the wall; drags that to his short term memory, and then uses it to ask the secretary what time she finishes work. She realises she should have finished work five minutes ago and rushes out of the building.
While at times frustrating (like all good adventure games), Resonance is an interesting combination of gritty, creepy, and above all else, humorous. Working with memories, and different characters’ perceptions of events makes for a satisfying approach to the story. While some may find the game’s retro styling a bit much (the game is only able to be played in 640x480 resolution), I enjoyed the classic adventure feel crossed with some cool innovation in gameplay.
Resonance is available on GOG.com and Steam, for around $8.99 USD.