Game review on
Sam Heatley / Sat 26th Aug 2017
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Matterfall is a fast paced side-scrolling game developed by Housemarque. The game quickly loses its appeal as the sloppy mechanics and lack of story become apparent.
The story for Matterfall is briefly described in the opening cinematic. Your name is Avalon Darrow and you are a Freelancer whose purpose is to destroy the alien threat. Due to the aggressiveness of the foreign technology, you will also need to rescue civilians and help them evacuate.
From that point, it is only the completion of the level that becomes important. There is no further information or real lore which is disappointing.
Matterfall lacks innovation and refinement. While it may be a simple side-scrolling game, Avalon's abilities feel lackluster. In fights, you feel as though you can't rely on your abilities as there is no notification that they are available again after cooldown. This leads to mistakes and spamming, hoping that something will work.
The augments and abilities collected seem unnecessary. Avalon's base abilities such as her Strike are enough to finish most levels. Matterfall should have focused on an upgrade system, instead of trying to tack on gimmicky abilities. The controls were clunky and counter-intuitive, with Avalon limited in both shooting and movement resulting in cheap deaths. On top of this, long load times after a death really take away from the action. It becomes an exercise in frustration, especially when the difficulty curve dramatically increases as well.
Matterfall's design in both character and environment is striking. Bright pops of colour break up the dullness of interior spaces and the intensity of explosions and bullets will definitely keep all eyes busy. Overall the graphics are good but nothing spectacular.
The highly futuristic and techno soundtrack is a reflection of the often chaotic gameplay. The steady beats urge you forward as the game tries to overwhelm you with on-screen action. It is enough to make you feel involved with the game.
Matterfall does promise some fun. Focusing on highscores and killing enemies with a high combo can be satisfying. It is difficult though, to ignore the long load times, sloppy gameplay and overall shortness of the missions. Great game if you need a break from everything else.