Game Review: Red Matter VR for Oculus

A cosmonaut with a burning red eye.This is the first paid-for game that I've played on the Oculus Quest 2. I've mostly stuck to demos - because I get bored easily. Or free games - because I'm a cheapskate.

But Meta gave me £30 in credit for helping people fix their broken Quests. So I bought this much hyped puzzle game. And…

It's excellent! Much better than I expected.

As puzzler, it works really well. Lots of different types of puzzles, some of which make effective use of the VR environment. Items which need careful manipulation, 3D items which need examination, and wandering around a complex interactive world.

The voice acting is superb - although it is reminiscent of Portal's Cave Johnson.

It is spooky - without relying on jump-scares to frighten you. I was worried that I was going to have to get into a fight, or be chased, or have to beat the clock. But, instead, it's an atmospheric puzzler with some very mild peril to keep things entertaining.

The puzzles are moderately difficult - but I didn't have to resort to a walkthrough; they're all fairly logical. It was a great way to spend a couple of hours, and I'm eager for the sequel.

With a few caveats, of course

The first is that it is short. I guess I spent about 6 hours playing before I completed it. You can buy something like Skyrim second hand for the same price and get over a hundred hours of gameplay. Oculus games seem particularly expensive. Presumably because of the small audience.

Secondly, the manipulation can be really shonky. Picking up small items is finickity. Picking up large items sometimes causes unexpected movement in the environment. There are also some severe clipping issues. Your "hands" quite often pass through "solid" objects. As with all VR games, it is fully immersive until something breaks the illusion.

Thirdly, it's impossible to play for long periods of time. I had to stop a few times to recharge the headset. That's not the fault of this game - but of the Oculus. I can't remember the last time I played a PS4 game so long that the controller needed recharging.

Similarly, wearing a VR headset for more than an hour is just painful.

But these are minor nits. Yes, the end is slightly silly. But it is no worse than most modern movies.

I think I'd feel a bit cheated if I'd paid full price for it but, overall, it was a great experience.

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