Game

Review: Enigmatic Resolutiion is an Often Inexplicable, Always Grim Cyberpunk Adventure

Screenshot: Resolutiion

Resolutiion is a game that is often inexplicable, and extremely enigmatic. When you first play it, you might be reminded of Hyper Light Drifter—and while there are definitely similarities, Resolutiion is a darker tale of a post apocalypse that takes place on a body horror landscape. Metal and flesh are melded, technology is religion and death, and you have to journey this world with an old AI as you attempt to piece together lost memories.

The world Resolutiion takes place in is a dark cyberpunk future of lost hope. You play as a killer machine—a warrior from a bygone age. You must navigate the hellish, bent world as you go in search of your memories to answer a few secrets. The world is crazy, full of creatures to fight and others that won’t even react to your presence. Enemies aren’t always known, so it’s up to you to decide who is friend or foe. You can spare everyone and everything you come across, or mercilessly cut them down with your robotic claws as they lay bleeding on the ground. While the violence in Resolutiion is acute, it’s never gratuitous—it exists to make a point about the world, and the actions you take in them.

Screenshot: Resolutiion

Resolutiion is an action game played from an isometric perspective. It is heavily reliant on exploration, and self-discovery. There is little to no hand holding as you make your way through the strange world of Resolutiion. At first, I felt completely lost, but eventually it clicked: like a metroidvania, using abilities you find to make new paths forward is essential. There is no fast travel, so exploration yields shortcuts and other pathways that make getting around easier. And like any video game, there are enemies to fight—yet, a large amount of entities you encounter will not attack you unless you attack first. It adds an interesting layer of complexity, especially for a first playthrough. It makes you wonder who the enemies of this world really are—and if you are actually the villain, instead of the savior.

Combat in Resolutiion is tight, fast, and visceral. At first, you won’t encounter more than one or two opponents on the screen at once. Eventually, you will be using your various abilities to dodge incoming damage, and destroy those who wish to harm you—or you can just destroy any creature at your mercy. Enemies, when defeated, will pant, bleeding on the ground. Sometimes they’ll even put their hands up in a gesture requesting mercy. You can choose to deliver a coup de grace, or allow them to stay bleeding on the floor. If you meet your fate, you will be transported to the nearest checkpoint—but interestingly, enemies don’t respawn upon your death. You might have to walk back to where you were, but the enemies you slayed along the way will often be there, with fresh blood still sprayed on the dirt where you find them.

Screenshot: Resolutiion

While Resolutiion is a violent game, it’s not gratuitous violence. Instead, it’s visceral in a way that makes you think about the actions you’re taking. Resolutiion is brutal in a way that makes you show that you’re harming a being that feels, and has pain. The whole time you’re playing it feels like what you’re doing might not be the answer to the world’s problems—but as you fight clans of luddites, technology worshippers, and death cults you get the impression that the world you’re fighting in is unsalvageable. It’s a grim vision of a dark future.

Exploration is one of the main parts of Resolutiion, and it’s great, because its world is extremely interesting. Each piece of it isn’t necessarily unique—body horror, absurdism, cyberpunk apocalypse, etc. But they’re combined in a unique way that makes Resolutiion feel like something that hasn’t quite been done before. Paths to find and take are rarely obvious, and sometimes you have to contend with the scenery to find a way forward. In some games, that might be considered a complaint, but Resolutiion hides its secrets behind twisted metal and rubble in a way that feels natural. Like you truly have to sift through the ashes of this world to find the path forward. And that path forward is usually through a room of pulsating meat.

Screenshot: Resolutiion

Enemies in Resolutiion are challenging, and offered in a nice variety. Each section of Resolutiion’s open world has different enemies to face—from killer robots not unlike yourself, to giant sand burrowing cats, there’s no shortage of things that want to stop you. This includes boss fights and miniboss fights—and while most of them are grotesque, and all of them are interesting, the boss battles are often too easy. With upgrades, some bosses were able to be killed in only a few hits, making them feel like formalities.

While you explore and uncover more of the world of Resolutiion you acquire new abilities. These abilities are sometimes easy to understand, like the nanite bomb, or the rifle. Still others, like the yellow paper and sludge walk abilities have nebular names but obvious function, and their visuals make even mundane abilities feel like something strange enough to fit into its world.

Screenshot: Resolutiion

Resolutiion has great pixel art graphics that range from gorgeous to horrifying. There are dozens of scenes that I would happily buy as art prints.  The soundtrack is unobtrusive, and has some great tracks that represent the grim strangeness of its subject matter.

Resolutiion is one of those games that will stick with me. Ever since I first played the demo months ago, being chased by a giant sand cat in a strange techno world planted a seed in my brain. Resolutiion is right up my alley in terms of strangeness, and has a great mystery that propelled me forward, urging me to find the secrets to this dying world.

Screenshot: Resolutiion

Resolutiion is available on May 28th for Windows and Nintendo Switch.

You can check out a playable demo here.

 

 

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