Video games like giving power to their players, either as a reward for completing a particularly difficult segment of the game, or because they’ve slogged through enough levels, and experience to warrant something in return. Not many titles seek to underpower you as it progresses unless there’s a reason for losing oh-so-glorious skills. Resin, produced, and created by Rinberd, is more focused on making you weaker as you get closer to the goal.
It makes far more sense when you consider the exposition thrown up on their Steam page, where they explain that the player is in control of an android woman “who was programmed with a task to slay the Warmth generators”. Bearing this in mind, the core mechanic of Resin is to make the android constantly weaker as she completes more, and more of her mission, while facing off against increasingly insurmountable odds. It’s a concept that’s not been used, if at all, recently in any title, and one that makes a very refreshing change to combat, totally reworking how the android approaches any encounter. But as death creeps closer, everything will only get worse if you die. Upon death, the android loses 5% of her maximum health, to a limit of 50%, a status effect that can only be undone by touching a new checkpoint. It’s a system that both rewards, and halts, aggression in combat. If you’ve died too much, then you end up being killed in only two hits, with seemingly no respite.
Apart from the nail biting moments when you’re trying to balance stamina, with attacks to keep enemies away, the world presented to the player is so morbid, and mysterious that it begs explanation where there is little. You awaken in a metal room, without any tutorial, messages or even a note, so expect no babying. If you neglect to move slowly, and carefully, through the first few rooms, then you’ll be hampered by a vengeful robot on a nearby staircase. But, upon closer inspection, a door will be available above this auto-mechanical menace, with a man called Oswald inside. Oswald kindly explains that the basics of combat, and the advantage of being in ‘stance’ before attacking, and wishes you well on your arduous journey.
Killing the bosses, the Warmth generators, is marked neatly by a counter in the upper left of the screen, near your current health, and stamina meters. The counter starts at nine, and initially you’d be forgiven for thinking those numbers meant lives, or something equally important, but no, that tally is how close the android is to finishing her mission. As bosses go, each of the nine is unique, with their own distinct looks, and attack patterns. Some are perhaps a little too easy, even for a game that revels in death, as they’re heavily telegraphed. Much like any RPG or adventure game, Resin makes sure you learn as least a little before you can progress to the next area with a sense of fulfilment.
The 2D pixelated art style is nothing to scoff at either, as a bizarre mixture of Risk of Rain and Shardlight it excels at making everything look decayed while making it unpleasantly mobile on the screen. All the enemies have their own tell-tale skins, even in the distance, it’s impressive how distinguishable they are. Similarly, the music, while a little repetitive, is incredibly done. The moody, electronic tones of the soundtrack make the facility feel as if it could jump back to life, and attack you itself. Resin is a wonderful indie title then, with an intriguing premise, intensive combat, and a story that only holds as you hop from elevator to elevator.
Resin – 4/5