Obsessive compulsive Grandad-aged gamers were always drawn to the twitch shooter in arcades. It started with the vertical stuff, gridlines of alien foes advancing on a lone starship or gun base, marching forwards to conquer humanity with nought between them and their goal but the equivalent of a nuclear-powered pea shooter.
In later games, we took the fight to them. Sleek ships swooped over alien worlds as the horizontal scroller was born, and we bombed the living shit out of hapless aliens in games like "Scramble" or stood between nefarious extraterrestrials and their anal probes in Defender.
Now, with a new console generation - that last game has been given something of a serious seeing-to courtesy of a studio who excel at putting together sumptuous twin-stick shooters with a twist. Housemarque previously applied their spit-and-polish to the hackneyed old Asteroids format, and came up with Super Stardust HD - an early shoe-in for PS3 owners looking for shmup kicks. Now they've done it again with the advent of the PS4 and a game called Resogun.
Slick as snot on a school sweater sleeve, Resogun's eye-popping visuals make you feel like the arcades never died, and that somewhere there are gallant bands of developers who strive to produce the natural evolution of those stand-up arcade blasters, for us lazy over-fed sods to play in the comfort of our own homes. We, the very folk that put the size 10 Doc Marten into arcades, have never had it better with games like Housemarque's latest.
With the last threads of humanity hunkered down in protective cubes, a single ship (two if you're playing in online co-op mode) fights through wave after wave of aliens as they try to eradicate our species once and for all, and claim our worlds as their own.
As you play, humans are 'freed' from these protective cubes by hunter ships - and with a single safe zone on each level, it's up to you to intercept them and carry them to safety before the aliens blow those hapless little green cretins away.
At times, Resogun had me mentally going through the back catalogue of games I've played where it's sometimes more fun to obliterate those poor little refugees rather than save them (who could forget just how satisfying it was to machine-gun the blighters into the air on Speccy game Zzoom or turn poor little scientists into flaming torches on Oids).
Luckily, these little green guys are quite hardy so you can snatch them up, drop them, throw them around but hopefully finally deliver them to the safe zone for bonus points.
Powerups are made available so that you can ramp up your firepower, Super Stardust style - and on each world at the end of every third wave you'll have to fight a rock-hard weapons-grade boss in order to progress.
Offering Resogun as a freebie for PS Plus subscribers is a stroke of genius (and let's hope the game's availability actually lasts a little longer than the usual few months these Plus titles are up for - prospective PS4 owners shouldn't miss out on this goodness!).
Solid, smooth, and pretty as heck, Resogun is a thumpingly satisfying game to dive out to when you're bored with the hyper-detailed visuals of your first crop of PS4 games and just fancy something old-skool.
Housemarque, if you fancy doing something like this to other arcade classics, can we suggest Salamander next?
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Basically, if you're not a plusser and this isn't your first grab on the PS4, there's something wrong with you. If you are a plusser, and for some insane reason you pass this up for nought pounds and nought pence, then you might as well trade your PS4 for a Wii U :)
Cheers for posting this. I submitted it on a whim to see if I could still write about games instead of children's books :)