Matterfall is the second title that game studio Housemarque released this year. The first one being Nex Machina, which received a very positive critical acclaim. I’ve always thought that Housemarque was an extremely under appreciated developer. If they know one thing, it’s gameplay mechanics. Anytime I’m about to jump into one of their titles, I know I’m in for a fantastic gameplay experience. Luckily, that doesn’t change with Matterfall.
Matterfall is a unique blend of something like Mega Man and Metroid, with implemented high-score chasing very similar to Velocity 2X. The game’s presentation is phenomenal with bursting colors and tons of explosions (as usual in a Housemarque title). Even though the game was developed simultaneously with Nex Machina, its presentation shows no signs of being a ‘budget’ title. It’s got all the bells and whistles you can expect from the studio, including an awesome cinematic opening (although it’s pretty much the only story piece you’ll get from the game).
Matterfall’s gameplay features a boosting mechanic that allows you to repeatably be invisible to anything on the screen. Which I found to be quite unique in this type of game. However, you must use your boosts wisely, or it’ll lead to getting trapped by a horde of enemies, resulting in death. There are sections of the game that go into zero-gravity, which changes the flow of combat. It’s more similar to something like Resogun during gameplay, where instead of running left to right, you’re shooting in all directions more sporadically. There’s also augmentations you can unlock that mix up the gameplay and affect how fast you can make it through a level. However, because the gunplay starts to get a bit repetitive, I never really felt compelled to go back and try different types of augmentations.
Unfortunately, Matterfall’s gameplay doesn’t feel as new and exciting as previous Housemarque titles. Largely due to the gameplay being similar to Velocity 2X (as I mentioned before). I think Velocity 2X nailed the ‘2D platformer blended with a twin-stick’ shooter gameplay perfectly, and Matterfall is a bit of step backward. The way Velocity 2X implemented item collecting, speed-running, and even trophies were executed damn-near perfectly. Matterfall’s controls also just never sit right with me either. It must be due to the fact that you jump with R1. I just constantly had to rethink what the controls were. Whereas I thought Velocity 2X’s felt very comfortable in comparison.
Bang For Your Buck?
Matterfall also isn’t packing much content. There are only three main levels with a boss level for each one. After completion, I clocked in around three hours of gameplay, which isn’t awful for a $20.00 game. And the crux of the game is about replaying levels and getting the best scores you can. But once again, in comparison to Velocity 2X’s whopping fifty levels, it’s just no competition.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time with Matterfall, I just couldn’t help but have Velocity 2X in the back of my mind throughout my time with the game. If were interested in purchasing Matterfall and you haven’t played Velocity 2X, I would choose the latter. If you loved Velocity 2X, Matterfall is right up your alley.