In Red Matter, players are cast as Agent Epsilon, an astronaut whose mission is to investigate an abandoned research base on Rhea, one of Saturn's moons, and reclaim some top secret documents. Armed with little more than a hand-held scanning device, your own brain is your most powerful ally in this VR adventure that plays out almost like an escape room scenario. Each part of the base contains a variety of intricate puzzles that must be solved in order to progress. Very few clues are given, so it's completely up to you to examine your surroundings and figure out what your next task should be. Solutions are never too obscure, but putting the pieces together can occasionally be more challenging than things might first appear.
Many puzzles require the use of both hands at once, making Move controllers an absolute necessity (the regular PS4 DualShock is not supported). The Moves work well most of the time, although reaching for items below waist height can seem a little fussy on occasion. Trying to turn a crank with both hands isn't easy when one hand refuses to reach low enough to even grab hold of it. No such issues elsewhere though, with your scanner and claw-hands always doing exactly what you tell them to do.
Red Matter does an excellent job of recreating its environments, with the abandoned facility proving to be a great setting for some sci-fi based puzzling. There's very little music to speak of, but dialogue and sound effects go some way to keeping you company during your time in space. It all looks and sounds great on a regular PS4, and Pro owners will notice a marked increase in visual quality over the original console.
A little more narrative might have been appreciated, but perhaps too much talking would distract players from the task at hand. There's very little padding, and you'll be constantly either clue hunting or puzzle solving pretty much consistently throughout the roughly three hour long adventure. A splendid way to spend a chilly winter's afternoon, sci-fi fans should definitely give Red Matter a look.
RED MATTER / DEVELOPER: VERTICAL ROBOT / PUBLISHER: VERTICAL ROBOT / PLATFORM: OCULUS RIFT, PC, PSVR (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW