The Playstation 4 launched back in 2013 with a so-so lineup of accompanying titles, but surprisingly the jewel in its crown wasn’t a big-budget, AAA game. Instead, Resogun, by Housemarque, became the true standout launch title, winning accolades and fans the world over. Little over a year later, and the impossible seems to have been accomplished; Climax Studios has shrunk Resogun down to fit the Vita’s powerful but diminutive frame, and with some impressive results to boot.
In a voxel world ravaged by alien marauders, you stand as humanity’s last hope. While the land around you cannot be saved, you can at least help preserve the human race, and give those nasty aliens a kicking in the process. Resogun pays homage to its arcade forebears, siphoning inspiration from the likes of Defender, but it also turns things on its head slightly. Instead of a traditional 2D plane, your aircraft now travels along a cylinder, allowing you to see some of the action going on, on the other side of the screen.
You have two main goals in Resogun : save the last humans, and kill all of those nasty aliens. As with any good arcade shooter, you are eased gently into the action, with a slow but steady increase in destruction and enemy count. Fortunately, the enemy density increase can be countered by collecting power ups as they appear. At regular intervals you will also need to scoot across the screen to help save humans before they are abducted, and you’ll get a nice boost as a reward if you can deliver them to safety. Rewards come in various forms, from the standard, but handy, increased firepower, extra lifes, bombs and boost power ups. Your small but powerful arsenal of weapons is your key to securing every last human alive and an insanely high score.
When the action really kicks in your ship will be ducking and weaving through tens of enemy ships and a barrage of their bullets, and all at a nifty 30 FPS. Even in the middle of the most severe destruction, you’ll always be playing at that smooth frame rate, which is a real boon, considering the Vita’s limited power. When things get a bit too heavy though, and when it seems like there is no way out, you can deploy a number of tactics to help create some breathing space. Your ship comes equipped with boost and bomb functions, both functioning in similar ways. Using a bomb will send a shockwave around the cylinder, obliterating everything in its path, which, while handy, is best avoided if you are a high score hunter. Obtaining a high score multiplier depends on you continually destroying enemies, and with none left on the screen for several seconds, it is easy to lose. Using your boost, on the other hand, not only allows you to make a swift getaway, you can use it to plough through waves of enemies, leaving them as nothing more than hundreds of tiny cubes.
Rescuing defenceless humans and kicking alien but isn’t the end though, oh no. Each level culminates in an imaginative, if easy, boss battle, where you fire on prominent weak spots before escaping the planet, as it explodes in a glorious hail of cubes around you. Resogun is truly at its best in these sequences, where it’s insane destruction, heart-pumping soundtrack, and slick action align perfectly. That the Vita can keep up with these sequences is a credit to the team who ported it from PS4.
Whilst the Vita version of the game is fully featured, it does suffer slightly in the resolution department. It became apparent quite early on that the game was running well below native resolution, but in the midst of a full-blown firefight it becomes difficult to notice. Slick controls and a rock-solid framerate are a worthy tradeoff, in my opinion.
At around £10, Resogun feels slightly expensive due to a lack of content. A handful of levels and three different ships, as well as some trophies to collect, are all you get for that price. Having said that, the ability to whip this bad boy out for a quick session at the bus stop is a proposition that is hard to refuse. There is even better news if you already own the game on Playstation 4, as you will be able to play it on your Vita for free
Resogun on Vita is an incredibly ambitious port. It isn’t quite as pretty or as quick as its PS4 big brother, but it plays every bit as good.