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Matterfall (PS4): A great game that physically hurts to play


last yearSteemit5 min read

Yet another choice made entirely because of the monthly specials in the Playstation Store, I likely would have never picked up this game had it not been on sale for $6.


This side scrolling shooter could be considered a platformer to a certain degree but for the most part I feel as though it is a throwback to 80's and 90's gaming with updated music and graphics. I tend to enjoy games like this because the 80's and 90's was when i was most active with console gaming. However, you don't have to be as old as I am to enjoy this game. Now here is something you have to know before coming into this game: It is very difficult.


Almost right out of the gate there are a ton of things flying at you at any given time. There are static enemies on the screen and also certain areas that are unmarked that is going to trigger a massive spawn of cannon fodder enemies that fly at you in all directions. This is normally combined with certain turrets that you can not destroy that are firing at you at the same time. Basically, you are not meant to be able to dodge it all and this becomes evident very early on.

There is a move that you do that makes you warp a short distance and this make you immune to most kinds of damage for a very short amount of time. Then there is a maybe 1-second cooldown before you can use it again. Don't get too excited, despite the fact that you are nearly invulnerable during this time period you are still going to get hit.... a lot.


As you might expect there are bosses at then end of every "section." I am currently on the 3rd one and after trying 20 or so times (in vain) I realize that I need a break because I can no longer feel my right hand and my thumb is cramping. This is where the "physical pain" enters the equation. At first I thought the control mapping was stupid, but after a couple hours of play I realize that there really isn't any other way that they could have done it. The constant pressure on the control sticks is going to hurt you, I can promise that. This is the first game I have played in a while that I actually have an injury from a video game. I had to download another, far more laid-back RPG to get over the intense-ness.

This is because you can fire in any direction at any time using the right stick and therefore jump, which you will obviously be using very frequently in a game like this, is mapped to R1 (top button) and most gamers find themselves reaching for "X" by default. Even though you can change the control scheme, "X" wont work because you need that thumb free for all the constant shooting you are going to be doing. The usual buttons on the right of the controller aren't actually used very much at all.

That trailer is only a minute long but towards the end of it you can see certain areas where there is so much crap flying around the screen perhaps you can get an appreciation for how it might be slightly difficult to avoid being hit. You can take 5 hits (and you will, especially during boss fights.)

There is one drawback to this game (for me) and that is that the game would be better as a metroid-vania game and it isn't... and it was never intended to be. I suppose I could say that I am disappointed that it is not. Instead, it is a points-based game and for some people (not me) the multiplyers and speed at which a level is completed might be important.


I feel as though I am better than average at most games, but I am never going to try to hit the global leaderboards and have never even looked at them because I don't like having low self-esteem.

There are no unlock-able areas so unless you are chasing speed runs (a level of nerd-dom that I have never come close to) I don't really see there being much replay value here. Overall, I would say that this game is a worthwhile purchase if it is on special and until the end of July, that is exactly the case.


Matterfall is very difficult competitive shooter / platformer that is a refreshing addition to my (and most people's) library of games. The controls are quite daunting at first because I have honestly never played a game with a control setup like this one. It seems dumb at first and you might be tempted to re-map it, which is an option. However, after a couple of levels it starts to make sense and you'll actually appreciate it.

The drawback to the game is that it has very little replay value if you are not interested in chasing the global leaderboards (and I am not.)

Mostly, i would say that Matterfall is a worthwhile purchase provided it is under $10 at the time.


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