I'm not entirely sure what drew me to Resonance when it first appeared on GOG.com as a preorder; most likely a desire to follow up on the wonderful point n' click whimsy of Machinarium, but that's neither here nor there.
Resonance is a point n' click adventure game, five years in the making and a combined effort from Wadjet Eye games - responsible for the well-recieved future-noir adventure Gemini Rue and the detective adventures of the Blackwell series - and xii games, the nom de plume of indie game designer Vince Twelve.
The game provides the flavours of gameplay that one typically expects from a p n'c, click around, find things, solve puzzles, advance the plot; truthfully there's not a lot of innovation going on here, strictly speaking, but know what? It doesn't need it, refinement can be just as effective as innovation, and Resonance is shiny brass buttons all the way. The puzzles (well, maybe they're not all strictly speaking *puzzles*, as is the adventure game tradition) are well designed and crucially aren't solved only by incredibly obscure means or by cryptic riddles, though a few 'action' sequences show up that feel a little out of place, but actually manage to ramp the tension up surprisingly well. Seasoned conisseurs of the p n'c will recognise a few of the puzzles, if you catch my drift; but these felt, to me, more like affectionate tributes to the genre as opposed to lazy design.
You'll notice that I haven't mentioned anything about the plot; truthfully, the synopsis included in the advertising copy gives away too much (though it doesn't spoil anything past the first half hour of the game), though I suppose that one can't generate interest in a jigsaw without providing the picture on the box. The player controls a cast of four diverse and compelling characters - a scientist, a doctor, a detective and an undercover reporter - and the plot device du jour concerns a dangerous scientific discovery. To give away more would (I imagine) detract from the storytelling of the game, which incidentally is a fascinating and compelling story; more concerned with the characters than with the science, which is nice; and one of those things that's ultimately quite simple yet paced very well. There is a small text-based exposition dump, but it's surprisingly concise, as exposition dumps go.
An interesting and unfamiliar feather in Resonance's hat is the 'memory' mechanic; essentially, the characters retain long-term and short-term memories, the latter of which are taken from the environments by the player, and these can provide solutions. Intuitive as they are, more often than not they're ultimately just another set of items to use on other items in order to find a solution or advance the game; sometimes simply taken from static items in the same room; though there's a wealth of extra detail to be found in bringing up incidental rather than important topics in conversation.
Incidentally, the fleshing out of the world and the characters over the course of the game is handled admirably; each character's personality is distinct and compelling (ok, maybe Ray the journalist is a little shallow compared to the others), and there's plenty of banter to be found branching off from the plot-important parts and I can't type any more without mentioning the voice acting. The VAs in this game are incredible; naturalistic and understanding of subtlety, with only a few questionable choices of accent throughout. Humour, suspense and drama is all in here, and it's fantastic. It also stars Logan Cunningham, the aural-chocolate-and-gravel narrator of Bastion. Just sayin'.
In terms of graphics, the screenshots speak for themselves; a colourful retro pixel-arty flavour with a realistic touch. The animations are great and the interface; while a little clunky when switching between characters in different rooms; works well and what's more, no pixel hunts.
There aren't many criticisms I can think of (oh, what a great review), beyond the problems of controlling four characters at the same time through conversing with the other three rather than 'controlling' them directly and the game being a little on the short side; it certainly doesn't overstay it's welcome, and there's plenty of incidental dialogue and detail. There's also an achievements system, which seems a little unnecessary, but it's nice to know when you've done something a little unconventional, though looking at them before unlocking them can actually give you hints to them, which kind of cancels out the point of achievement awards, in my opinion. There are also multiple endings, that hinge on some late-game choices. They're not bad endings by any means (at least, the one I found wasn't), but I wasn't particularly curious to find the others when the one I got gave me enough closure, take that as read.
Soo, Resonance, a well-designed, very well written and extremely well voice-acted adventure game. It's clear no small amount of care has gone in to crafting it - five years, after all - and well worth your time. Might help if you like adventure games though, it doesn't reinvent the wheel, but a wheel works, so why not improve it?