Sunday 19 August 2018

Matterfall review: A dash of this, a small bit of that

Matterfall (PS4) ★★★ Age: 12+

The neon-burnt visual extravaganza of Matterfall
The neon-burnt visual extravaganza of Matterfall
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

FINNISH studio Housemarque has been responsible for some mind-blowingly good resurrections of arcade classics – its collaboration with the god-like Eugene Jarvis (of Defender/Robotron fame) produced the rather excellent Nex Machina last month.

But its latest effort falls into the so-so category, even though it comes laden with the Finns’ trademark sensory overload.

A side-scrolling platformer in the retro vein of Gunstar Heroes, its unique twist involves a dash move and double jump that sets up a complex dance around its robot-shooting action. And, to a point, it works, the intense on-rush of enemies countered by the invulnerability of the dash, the screen filled with gratifying explosions and the techno soundtrack pumping up the adrenaline. Housemarque elaborates on the weaponry with a series of useful upgrades that increase your firepower.

But Matterfall drops the ball in terms of the variety of its levels – a short series of 12 environments that rarely inspire delight in the way that Nex Machina, for instance, did – and slight awkwardness of the controls that conspires to take away the flexibility of the dash.

It doesn’t encourage replay and doesn’t sit comfortably alongside the best of Housemarque’s body of work.

Online Editors

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