Housemarque represents a seal of quality, as the studio has released quite a few critically acclaimed games on PS4. From the fan-favourite Resogun to the enchanting Nex Machina, they have been credited with some of the best arcade shooters in the past few years. Matterfall is their take on 2D side-scrolling shooter/platformer genre.
The controls of Matterfall can be extremely confusing at first. Jump is set to R1 whereas you Dash with L1. Dashing allows you to go through specific types of barriers in all directions and some enemies can only be damaged after you have made them vulnerable by dashing into them. L2 will allow you to create platforms and levels require you to combine all of your abilities in order to progress. A sequence can be as simple as dashing upward into a double jump followed by dashing sideways, killing two enemies and then dashing down. There are times when you are expected to pull off seemingly unthinkable sequence of moves, but it feels rewarding to master the timing and finally get over the hurdle.
From a technical perspective, the game immediately catches your attention. From the art design to the music, everything pops out unlike any other title in the genre.
Matterfall is linear in its design, so do not expect any extravagant Metroidvania elements. It is extremely short too, and is comprised of 12 levels having three areas each.
It strangely suffers from lack of polish in its design. Housemarque’s other games had simple but well executed designs whereas Matterfall is the complete opposite.
Nevertheless, as expected from the studio, the shooting feels great. Its fast and frantic in the best way possible. But you will often get stuck for not being able to fully grasp the control scheme. The game is challenging but more often than not, you will get frustrated by the unnecessarily over-designed elements. After beating the main game in just a couple of hours, there is nothing else on offer.
Matterfall isn’t as bad as it is unique mix of generic and overly complicated. It is easily my least favourite out of all the games Housemarque has released for the PS4. It can be extremely satisfying to string together moves, but the occasionally awkward controls will leave you frustrated over the duration of its incredibly short length. While enjoyable in parts, Matterfall is a clear indication that the studio needed more time to refine their ideas.