Developer: Monolith of Minds
Genre: Indie Action-Adventure
Available on: PC
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: monolithofminds.com
Release Date: May 28th, 2020
Resolutiion was a game that I hadn’t heard much about before release, but immediately grasped my attention when I saw it. The trailer shows off some really interesting setpieces along with some fluid gameplay. It all looked equally challenging and aesthetically pleasing and excited me to hop in and try it. As expected from the name’s spelling though, not many have heard about it. I was excited honestly and thought I was walking right into a hidden gem. Was I correct though?
From an atmospheric standpoint, absolutely. There are some beautiful worlds in Resolutiion, and everything seems sprawling with some well-done pixel art. It’s a joy to go through and see everything the world offers. Even some of the backdrops give an eye into a much deeper world, making it feel much bigger than it is. Even some of the character looks are simple yet well done. It all evokes this sense of passion, and whoever was on the art team at Monolith at Minds has a great art career ahead of them. The same can be said for the music, which all represents different tones and fitting background tracks for the respective areas. They even work in tandem together, with each musical piece fitting each world nicely. At a surface level, it all gives a great first impression.
Gameplay in Resolutiion
But there’s an old saying that sadly applies here, being not to judge a book by its cover. As soon as you start playing, everything begins to become rather frustrating gameplay-wise. Your weapons and stamina work on the same resource system that recharges, but it feels limited when in combat. There were so many times where I was constantly running out of the resource even with an upgrade to it. Having them merged can work, but having it be so limited messes with the pacing. In a fast-paced game like this, it’s devastating and makes everything feel frustratingly slow.
Even some of the minor details in Resolutiion are just unenjoyable to deal with. For one, your movement and aim with guns are bound to the same button which is incredibly jarring. Sure you get used to that after a while, but I didn’t notice it loosen up until about halfway through the game. Then there are the timings which if you get slightly off, your gun just won’t fire and you’ll be a sitting duck. There’s such little room for error and it makes fights a pain. I felt constantly like skipping past enemies, especially seeing you don’t get anything for killing them except progress.
And it was easy to do that given the difficulty of enemies. They pretty much sit in one of two difficulty levels. Either they’re so easy that they’re a cakewalk, or they’re annoying to the point where you’re wrestling with the controls. I don’t understand how that got past testing, given how frustrating that gets quickly. It was the same case for bosses too. Some bosses you could just kite and that would nullify anything the boss could do. There were so many opportunities where they could’ve made the bosses fun and interesting, but very few here manage that. It’s only worsened once you’re given the ability to fully heal because it essentially ends any level of difficulty.
This is all wrapped together with, frankly, an incoherent story. I wouldn’t be upset about this if it wasn’t trying to be a game about the story, but that’s just what Resolutiion is. There’s so much potential at every moment for a deep and interesting story, but it’s all thrown away. You constantly feel out of the loop and never really understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. There’s some clarity in the form of walls of text about each area, but it’s very lazy and does little to push things forward. I never understood exactly what was going on so everything felt pointless. If you’re going to try to make a story-focused game, there needs to be a reason for what you’re doing. Otherwise, the player just walks through the game aimlessly shooting and slashing.
Options and Accessibility in Resolutiion
As is usual, let’s finish things off with options and accessibility. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better, as the options are mostly barebones. There’s a couple of options for general things, but there’s a single graphic changing option named Details. There could’ve been much more done as far as options go, but the game thankfully makes up for it by being well optimized. I never went below 300 FPS so it shouldn’t be an issue for you either, but still. There’s more they could’ve done there, and the same goes for accessibility. There are languages and that’s it. It was a perfect opportunity for colorblind accessibility given the mass of colors, but that opportunity wasn’t taken. There definitely could’ve been a bigger focus on options, since it feels like an afterthought.
Verdict: Resolutiion is a game I deeply want to love. It offers some beautiful pixel art and a great soundtrack that sync up well with the environments. As you dive deeper into the game though, its flaws become increasingly apparent and frustrating. The gameplay leaves much to be desired, and the story is straight-up incomprehensible for a game focused on it. Hyper Light Drifter fans might find something to love here but for anyone else, Resolutiion fails to be an adequate solution to your boredom.
- Beautiful pixel art
- Great soundtrack
- Well optimized
- Frustrating controls
- Difficulty issues
- Simple enemies
- Uninteresting mechanics
- Incoherent story
- Limited options