by Diego Beltrami
Resonance is perhaps the best take on the classic Adventure Game genre I’ve seen in a long time. And while most of the game follows the tradition there are two main aspects that sets it apart. First there is no moon logic puzzles¹. And more importantly it features a quite interesting mechanic in the form of “memories” as the game calls them.
You see, these memories come in two types: long term memories, that are part of each character background and are related to the big picture in the story, and short term memories. The latter can be used to “remember” (as in have in mind as an inventory item) certain elements of the environment, like a place, an object or a person. Memories can be used in dialogue as a kind of puzzle which leads to some interesting moments. When it doesn’t work it ends up becoming an annoying backtracking. You might need to have something in memory to actually talk about it with someone (even though it should be common sense to chat about it with that character). In those instances it feels forced. But when it works it’s brilliant. There are moments that reminds me of the Phoenix Wright games. Having to use the right piece of evidence just at the right moment during dialogue. It makes you feel smart with so little and adds more depth to conversations, getting them closer to the puzzle structure of the rest of the game.
There is another feature that’s present in the game that it’s not often seen, but this one produces mixed feelings. I’m talking about the decision to control four characters. It’s interesting as each has different strengths, skills and background. So each of them can do things the others can’t. They present a good dynamic and they’re actually quite well developed, with strong and well defined personalities, some getting closer to the usual clichés, others breaking away from them. Still it’s not without issues. Moving the four of them can be cumbersome, having to pass inventory items between them can slog the pace down. Perhaps four characters where too much.
If I could only level one more criticism is that the ending is kinda anti-climatic, and having the closure of the story as an epilogue in the credits background didn’t help either. Felt to disassociated from the game.
Despite everything I might think is wrong with it I must say that it’s a fantastic game. Firmly rooted in the classics while still trying new things. It could’ve done with more focus, and some puzzles drag too much for too long, but the game remains interesting, with a few twists on the story to keep things intriguing. With some great puzzles, or perhaps to phrase it better, without terrible ones, which for an adventure game I guess that’s an incredible praise.
¹ Moon logic is a derogatory term coined to refer to the absurd and illogical solutions a lot of adventure games are known to present. Something like the infamous moustache puzzle of Gabriel Knight 3 that had you construct a moustache following a bizarre set of steps, only to impersonate someone who didn't have facial hair.