An awkward mathematician, an introverted doctor, a cynical cop, and a ballsy indie journalist. Prior to the Aventine City Blackout, Ed, Anna, Bennet, and Ray couldn’t care less about anything beyond their insular lives – whether it’d be epic science experiments gone horribly wrong, or the Earth on the brink of disaster. But quantum physics dictates that all things are connected in some shape or form, and this theory is just a fraction of the many things these four unlikely heroes will have to embrace if they hope to save the world.
Aside from being given control over the four aforementioned protagonists at once, Resonance incorporates a number of novel features in an attempt to spice up the mundane motions of point-and-clicks. The ‘short-term memory’ inventory allows one to click and drag any person, place, or thing to be stored and used as topics of conversation. This eliminates the common annoyance of finding events to witness or an object to view in the hope of unlocking additional discussions amongst characters. Resonance also features a number of puzzles that are sure to keep things at the edge of your seat, such as raising the mouse sensitivity for intensive problem solving and bringing back the old school use of timed puzzles, where failure to solve a conundrum within an unknown set of time will result in death. Fortunately, the game doesn’t automatically end if a character falls, you’ll be brought back to the original point before tackling a challenge.
While these features are certainly applaudable, their appreciation can vary depending on the puzzles you encounter. For instance, having control over four characters really isn’t as special as it sounds. The game doesn’t take advantage of minding each character’s body class, or providing them with more distinguishing gameplay abilities save the occasional individual access to certain locales. Finding yourself stuck is something akin to being lost in the woods while walking your four dogs – neither one of your mutts could pick up a scent that helps you find the way back, so you’re stuck with four others sitting around and waiting on you to think up of something brilliant.
It also doesn’t help that the hint system – laid within conversing amongst the main characters – is unpredictable in its usefulness. Hints range from almost giving away a solution, to just simply confirming your current predicament. This can lead to having one stock piling the short-term memory inventory from time to time, just grabbing at everything in sight and hoping something new occurs when speaking with NPCs thus procuring a new set of inconvenience that was beyond developer foresight.
Such flaws are forgivable so long as the story runs a solid course. Resonance starts off in a promising direction through fetch quests, commonly used within the earlier stages of a point-and-click’s tale, and knowing that it’s for the sake of preventing a secret science experiment from being revealed to the world does add a lot of intrigue. By the time that’s completed, the unpleasant surprise is brought about that the midpoint of the game has been reached. From there, the narrative steps on the gas and beelines for the ending. To address a number of questions raised within the game, Resonance opts for the force feeding of plot twists, similar to the style of M. Night Shyamalan – shock factor is spread on thick with the accompaniment of brief explanations which does well in raising more questions than you originally started out with. Although multiple endings can be unlocked, they do very little to affirm any sense of satisfaction.
Garbed in retro aesthetics, an upbeat soundtrack, engaging puzzles, and a story that whispered promises of a long and grandiose experience, Resonance was definitely armed to the teeth. As a puzzle packed title, it does well enough to keep players immersed and plugged in. But as a story driven spectacle, expected from any point-and-click title, having things dim down prematurely is a sure disappointment and is best kept as a one time foray.