Review – Red Matter 2
The Meta Quest 2 so far has proven to be a fantastic standalone device, providing an affordable yet powerful introduction to the world of VR. There are some great games here like Resident Evil 4 VR and the amazing (but sadly scaled back) The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, but it’s missing a true killer app that can push VR to the next level. Whilst Red Matter 2 isn’t quite this app, it’s one of the best out there.
Red Matter 2 is set in a future dystopian cold war out in the far reaches of space. You play as Sasha, who is awakened in a Soviet base by an infiltrator who guides you back to safety. On the way out, you discover a distress beacon from someone from Sasha’s past. You must journey throughout the solar system following a trail left behind. Along the way, you will delve deeper into Soviet bases uncovering their secrets and the return of the mysterious element, the titular Red Matter.
The story of Red Matter 2 mostly expects you to have played the first game. There is a small beginning section that introduces you to the world and sums up what happened in the last game, with a neat interactive section that lets you get a feel for the game’s controls. However, I would still search for a summary to get a better grasp of things, as it doesn’t do the best job of filling in the gaps. The story on Red Matter 2 itself isn’t superb, but it does portray a compelling enough mystery to push you through the game.
After a brief introduction to Red Matter 2, you will gain access to the game’s in-universe controllers. These mimic the actual layout and design of the Quest’s touch controls, so it really simplifies things. Throughout the game, you will gain access to multiple modes for each side. On both sides, you will have the grabbing tool that will allow you to interact with the world. Grabbing objects, doors, etc. It’s all very natural, and a wonderful idea to bring the Quests touch controller into the game world.
On the left, you have access to a scanner that will help you translate documents, as well as clues to help you solve puzzles and further the story. You will also have access to a flashlight that fires flares. The light itself could be a little bit stronger, though. It only really uncovers what is directly in front of you, meaning that spamming flares is the only way to see anything. You will be using these extensively throughout the game in just about every situation.
On the right, you have another grabber and a gun that will be unlocked about halfway through the campaign. There is combat involved here and it’s functional. You point in a direction and shoot, and that’s about it. It feels very arcadey and that’s fine, but I was hoping for something a little bit more interesting here. Thankfully, combat is pretty sparse and the gun is used for environmental puzzle solving as well.
Red Matter 2 has you solving a series of puzzles. It frequently introduces new gimmicks into each puzzle to help try to keep things fresh and exciting. For the most part it works pretty well; just about every room has something new and different. Alongside the combat that I mentioned earlier, there are some basic stealth mechanics. Whilst not the deepest, it does a solid job of keeping the game moving at a good pace. The highlight, however, is the jetpack. By pushing forward on the right stick, you will lift up for a few moments before hovering back down. This leads to some solid platforming that takes you to some visually stunning areas.
Considering Red Matter 2 is running on what is essentially mobile hardware with the Oculus Quest 2, it actually manages to pull off a unique and great-looking sci-fi adventure. Exploring an abandoned Soviet base on the edges of the solar system in spectacular fashion. There are hints of horror with an occasionally spooky atmosphere pulled off wonderfully in the VR space. It is arguably the best-looking game on the standalone device, with the PC version pushing that even further. It has fantastic lighting and well-detailed environments that really pull you into the game world. I would absolutely love to see these devs lean into that for a full-on horror title in VR.
If you have a VR headset and are itching for something to play, Red Matter 2 is a must-play. It’s a clever little puzzle adventure game that continued to surprise me throughout, thanks to its intelligent puzzle design that keeps things interesting and varied. Not to mention the occasionally gorgeous visuals that must be pushing the Quest 2 to its limits.
Considering the limitations of the Quest 2, Red Matter 2 looks absolutely stunning. Pulling you straight into its wonderfully detailed game world.
Red Matter 2 makes excellent use of VR capabilities with a highly interactive world and smart puzzle design.
Solid voice acting and sound design throughout but there’s not a lot here.
Fun Factor: 8.5
Red Matter 2 is a refreshing short adventure game that keeps things interesting throughout.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Red Matter 2 is available now on Quest 2 and PC
Reviewed on Quest 2.
A copy of Red Matter 2 was provided by the publisher.