Matterfall

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Matterfall Game Poster Image
Fun but unnecessarily flawed sci-fi shooter.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Risking everything to save a planet.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player is trying to save a planet from robots, nothing else known about character.

Ease of Play

Simple but counterintuitive controls can frustrate, annoy some players.

Violence

Player uses a variety of guns, but there's no blood, gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A reference to drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Matterfall is a downloadable science-fiction shooting game. Players take on the role of a young woman trying to save the world from rogue robots gone amok. But while players use sci-fi weapons to destroy their enemies, there's no blood or gore. There's also no inappropriate content, although there's one reference to drinking.

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What's it about?

In MATTERFALL, scientists used an alien substance to create combat robots. But of course, something has gone wrong, and now those 'bots are running amok. It's up to you, freelancer Avalon Darrow, to clean up their mess. Which, as you might imagine, requires you to shoot a lot of robots while also figuring out the best way to get to the next area that's full of shootable enemies.

Is it any good?

Though clever and challenging, this two-dimensional, side-scrolling sci-fi shooter is somewhat marred by counterintuitive controls. In Matterfall, players get to shoot up some human-hating robots while also running and jumping through the rather sparse office building where they were built. Using a variety of futuristic weapons, as well as a super suit that allows you to jump twice in rapid succession and phase-shift through certain electrical barriers, you have to take down numerous combative robots while also figuring out how to get to the next area full of enemies. There's even some fun bits where gravity doesn't work and you get to float like a butterfly while stinging like a bee.

All of which makes it that much more annoying that this game has some rather counterintuitive controls. Most notably, the jump button isn't the X button like it is in most games, but is instead the right bumper. It's nothing you won't get used to, eventually, but it'll take a while. It also doesn't seem all that necessary, since what you do use the X for (to activate devices) isn't something you'll need to do quickly. As a result, trying to get around -- say, when you have to double-jump and then phase-shift through a barrier before jumping again -- can be a lot trickier than it should be. But if you're someone who adapts quickly, and hates robots, you'll have fun with Matterfall.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about technology. In this game, robots have run amok and are killing people, which is an extreme example (obviously), but how can technology hurt people, even when it's meant to help people?

  • Families can talk about self-sacrifice. In this game, you can rescue people, but usually you risk your own life. Do you think this is noble or stupid? Why do you think that? What if the person you were risking your life to save was a member of the family?

  • Talk about consistency. One of the problems with this game is its controls, which are inconsistent with other games' controls. Can you see how doing something the way it's always been done can have its advantages? Or do you think the game developers had a good reason for setting up the controls this way?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love action

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