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You start out with Ed, a research assistant whose boss calls him and says that he needs to get to work right away and help him destroy the research they’ve been working on. Anna, the doctor, whose past holds a majorly interesting secret. Ray, the journalist, trying to discover what a major corporation is up to. Bennet, the detective who breaks rules to nail suspects. The stories blend together to give the player a picture of the time before the disaster.
You control one character at a time, but can switch between them after a certain point in the game. Each character has an inventory, and also two memory files: Short Term and Long Term. Important conversations are stored in LTM and items in the game world can be put into STM so that you can converse with other characters about them. Ray, for instance, can put a really ugly painting into his STM and then chat up the receptionist about it so that he can subtly dig for information. The inventory is easy to get, but it wasn’t exactly clear how the STM and LTM worked when I started the game. Once I figured it out though, I liked the idea a lot. Other than that small but really cool change, the world operates by normal point and click adventure game controls. I also liked that Ray’s phone would take in passwords and usernames without having to manually add them. This kept me from needing a piece of paper to keep track of them.
Each character has a unique story, and finding where they blend together was one of the joys of playing Resonance. Ed and Anna encounter each other on the subway. She drops a coin, and you can either return it or ignore it. Returning it starts a conversation that tells you a lot about the characters and their lives before the game started. For instance, Anna and Ed ride the same subway every day, and he knows what stop she gets off at, and other little details about her, but he’s too awkward to actually talk to her until the game starts. The conversation about the coin sets up the beginning of Anna’s story perfectly. I was having a good time playing the game through Ed and Ray’s stories, but Anna’s is what hooked me. Detective Bennet, on the other hand, felt a little too gimmicky with his solution for watching the suspect. It felt like it was almost too smart. And maybe that’s Bennet’s character, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others. The dialogue is well done and each character sounds unique. The world is drawn in a sort of retro adventure game style that’s becoming the norm with indie games, so I’d like to see something a little different in style there.
Some puzzles were easy and I moved effortlessly through them, others took me a bit longer to solve, though sometimes this had to do with learning the interface as much as having to think outside the box. The story kept me engaged the entire time, and the Achievements were funny and fit the world well. For instance, if you the conversation with Anna on the subway ends with her not thinking you’re a creep, you get the “That Went Well” Achievement. I liked the character growth aspect I saw in places, and I solved most of the mysteries without resorting to hints.
Resonance is available through the developer (with a free Steam key included) at http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/resonance.html