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It’s fair to say that Resogun has left our lives in complete and utter tatters. We’ve been unable to eat, sleep, or even communicate properly in the wake of our November Game of the Month winner, and who can blame us? Housemarque’s gorgeous shmup is an outstanding release – and it’s a free one to boot. However, if you have a PlayStation 4 and haven’t quite got to grips with the title yet, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you to top the leaderboards, all while leaving what’s left of your loved ones to stage an emotional intervention as you stare blankly at your colourful television screen.

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Choose your ship

Perhaps the most important point on this entire list, piloting a ship that doesn’t match your play style is akin to wearing ill-fitting, non-matching shoes and attempting to enjoy a game of tennis. Firstly, you’ve got Nemesis, also known as “the speedy bugger”. What it lacks in firepower, this intergalactic cruiser more than makes up for in speed and boost ability. If you’re more likely to flee than fight, it’s probably the best ship for you. However, Ferox is completely balanced on all fronts. It moves at average speeds, with average boost ability, and an overdrive capability that’s simply, well, average. Finally, you’ve got Phobos – or “wham bam tank you ma’am” as we’ve christened it. This craft’s a little on the sluggish side, but deals some serious damage and features an overdrive that is invaluable in later levels and on higher difficulties; it’s definitely our ship of choice. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the weapon power-ups that you acquire during your run will affect the different ships in different ways depending on their statistics.

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Save the humans

No, we’re not entirely sure what happened to the humans either, but saving the fluorescent green jelly babies provides you with points, lives, and bombs. More often than not, you’ll be required to simply destroy each of the glowing Keeper ships in order to free a human, but occasionally there are some obligations that you must meet in order to free them, with some demanding that you have a score multiplier above a certain level, and others requiring you to take out the enemies in a specific order. It’s true that it’s impossible to know if a human requires a particular score multiplier – and even harder to know what level of multiplier without looking it up – but fortunately the Keepers that require you to destroy them in a specific order are far easier to spot. As usual, they’ll be glowing green, but the order that you kill them in will be dictated by a crosshair that surrounds them. While a bit of a pain, saving the more awkward humans will reward you with something more valuable than points, so get saving.

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Don’t fear the boost

This may sound like a no-brainer, but don’t forget it. If you find yourself in a spot of bother, don’t be afraid to zoom away from danger. The boost almost always guarantees a one-hit kill on enemies, too, which can be make it an invaluable offensive weapon when you’re out of options. Also note that you can change direction while boosting, and the longer that you maintain the ability – and the more enemies that you smash through in the process – the bigger the explosion that will erupt from your ship when you stop. However, it’s important to remember that if you attempt to boost while it’s recharging, you can really scupper your high-score attempt, so pay close attention to the blue semi-circle above your ship, which indicates how long you must wait between uses. There’s also a tingly audio cue when it’s ready.

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Shooting behind you

Lots of people are only comfortable shooting in the direction that they’re moving, but if, for example, there are a group of spawning enemies descending upon you from above and to your right, it’s best to try and move through them while shooting behind you. It’ll feel weird at first, but once you’ve mastered it, the extra spatial awareness that you gain will become a huge asset.

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Don’t waste power ups

It’s tempting to use bombs to clear a screen of enemies, but it’s better to use the boost to escape when you’re back’s against the wall. However, while you do get a bonus for saving your bombs, it’s better to use them than lose your multiplier if you think that you’re going to die. We know how tempting it is to hoard them and wait to unleash them on a boss, but you’ll be kicking yourself if you pop your clogs when you could have used one of the explosives instead. The real trick is to find the right balance between conservation and usage that’ll give you the best competitive edge. Don’t waste them – but know when the time is right.

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Save your overdrive

Overdrive is the most devastating power that you possess, and as such, it should be treated with the reverence that it deserves. It’s entirely possible to use it early on in a level and have it recharged – by picking up the green blobs that dead enemies leave behind – by the time that the boss rolls around, but you should avoid taking that risk where possible. It’s extremely effective against all of the level ending adversaries, and that’s why this intrepid author saw off a relentlessly challenging Veteran run without using overdrive on any foes other than the final bosses.

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Become one with the ship

This may not seem like the most useful advice, but you may find that after twenty minutes or so of play, you’ll enter the fabled “zone” and everything will begin to go your way. While here, rather than boost or retreat from an enemy or boss’ firepower, try to focus and weave your way through it, thus allowing you to be afforded far more opportunities to deal some serious damage.

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Take a break

No, really. There’s literally no point in getting frustrated if things simply aren’t happening for you, so just walk away and come back again with a fresh perspective. After leaving a highly irritating attempt at finishing the campaign on Veteran, we returned to the game to complete three levels without any real issues.

There you have it. If you’re not yet an emotionless husk, hopefully these hints and tips will send you well on your way. Maybe you should get Christmas out of the way first, though – y’know, for your family. Let us know how you get on in the comments section below.