After really enjoying my time playing the outstanding Nex Machina, I was more than ready to get on some more Housemarque games. Since then we have changed our review structure on MGL but this Matterfall review showcases another top arcade action game from this famous development team.

The game is a full PS4 exclusive and features a rather dystopian future, a feisty female hero and metroidvania style level design… and a few other things Metroid-like.

But it’s very much a Housemarque game that uses twin stick shooting and controls via the shoulder buttons. This is not one for those with the slow reflexes or easily frustrated as you are going to get blasted to bits. Doing so is a lot of fun and, while short, the experience is very rewarding. Check out if Matterfall is a game you should play below.

Review Side Quest

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Quick additional mission for you gamers. Get involved with us here at MGL as I’d like to know what you think. It gets lonely here so I’d love to read your answers on this one:

Arcade games are making a really big comeback at the moment with people like Housemarque… but which classic game would you like to see come back with a modern twist?

Get in the Disqus or Facebook Comments at the end of the review. And please share this so other gamers can get involved, and enjoy the review.

How does it play?

Matterfall review gameplay award
The Matterfall gameplay is great, full of action and nice level designs… it’s tricky to get used to the controls but once you do it’s very rewarding.

It’s fast, really intense and there are things flying all over the place. Welcome to a Housmarque game everyone! If you have not played their games before they are behind the awesome Resogun, Alienation and the aforementioned Nex Machina.

All of which are arcade shooter titles that tend to twist the controls to make your control pad more like an arcade experience.

Here it’s the same in this full 2D side scrolling experience. Left stick moves and right stick shoots with your weapon. Using the shoulder buttons to modify what the weapon is doing, engage special fire or jump and engage form of slide too.

It’s a really cool control system when you get used to it, but for the first few levels you may feel pretty damn terrible at the game. Either that or I am just awful and, if you are too, at least you know you are in decent company!

But even though it’s hard to pick up it’s a lot of fun to play and you soon get used to thinking differently.

Fire Everything

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The gameplay involves a lot of shooting from both sides, it’s all out action from the first moment. Bullets, robotic creatures and red matter is coming at you. You have to stop it, get out of the way and blow it up to get through the levels. Saving humans as you go.

It’s all very fast and action focused. You come across various enemies trying to blast you. But it’s not always a matter of blasting them first. Some need stunning with your blue matter dash to take them down as they are frozen. Others you simply have to use the environment to get past.

It’s all very fluid but it really will test your relations and patience at times.

Boss fights are the big deal here, there are only a few levels but they do provide a significant challenge. End of level bosses can be tough and really do make it a challenge.

The levels are far from linear too, it’s certainly a metroidvania experience. There are trapped humans to rescue and bonuses to find. Plus, getting through sections can be a challenge too as platforms vanish and you restore with your modified weapon. Or you hit “zero-g” areas you float through and avoid getting blown to bits.

As an action game, it’s all about the gameplay and it really delivers here. The controls and challenge are not quite as engaging as other Housemarque games, but still very good.

Presentation and Graphics

Matterfall review presentation award
Matterfall’s presentation is outstanding, The visual design, the colours and the particle effects are stunning and suck you right into this world.

This is a 2D platformer style game with lots of colour and nice animations everywhere. In terms of graphics it’s really very impressive, especially in the design of the levels, enemies and various “matter” based particle animations.

There was a moment where I thought the game had broken and red particles started dancing around the screen.

This was totally outside of the frame of the 2D world and it all looked rather strange, and then the enemies formed from them before my character and it was time to blast them to bits! It truly was impressive.

All of it looks really well designed but what stands out to me while playing was the really enjoyable soundtrack too.

Main Features

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The campaign is Matterfall’s main mode here as you progress through 4 stages, each with 3 levels and a boss fight. There isn’t much more than that and while it could appear lacking in content, it’s actually about right for the gameplay. Especially given the challenge.

Where the game does lack however is in setting up a cool character and setting, it never really expands deep enough into the world. Nor does it give who sees a strong female lead in “name here” a real sense of personality in the game.

Still, the levels are engaging as is the action there maybe should have been more to it however.

Should I play this?

matterfall review - Adept awardMatterfall is another action hit from Housemarque games, while not as appealing to everyone as Nex Machina. The challenge and the controls may put some people off but, those ready to take on this Sci-Fi world you will have a blast doing so.

I really enjoyed it, in spite of being awful! There is a lot of fun to be had and it’s well worth fans of the developers giving this a try too. It’s full of amazing action, difficult to master but a title that’s well worth being an MGL award winner. Read below to help you decide if the game is for you however.

Gamers who should…

If you have liked games like Resogun before you know what this developer is about. There is a lot of action in a simple format but with a few twists here and there. It’s fast and put the focus on gameplay and action. The controls really test your dexterity just to survive, so play if you like a bit of a challenge.

Gamers who probably shouldn’t…

There is not much story going on here, so don’t play for a big sci-fi epic. Also, the controls and deaths could prove quite frustrating to some gamers. Especially casual players who don’t know the controller so well.

Similar games…

It certainly has a Metroid feel about this but much more action packed. There is also a similarity to a recent indie title Seraph which this is pretty similar to. Pretty much any Housemarque game has similar themes too so if you are a fan of their work, chances are you will enjoy it.

The Good The Bad The Bugs
Fantastic action Hard to master the controls Nothing significant noticed during the review
Beautifully presented Short
Challenging
Boss fights

 

About This Matterfall Review

Game Reviewed: Matterfall, digital download provided by publisher
Review Format: PS4
PEGI Rating: 12

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Rossco is the co-founder of MGL and loves a game with a good single player story. His nickname “Respawn Rossco” comes from his inability to play online shooters, yet he continues to try! His articles are all about enjoying gaming no matter the format you play, he updates MGL daily with news, reviews and in-depth articles.

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