Crush, kill and destroy – repeat. Done? Repeat again for 140 levels. Done? Play again on a higher level of difficulty. Black Matter is an all out action assault game with a hint of strategy thrown into the mix.
In Black Matter you are in command of a space station with eight available weapon slots. You have to upgrade, and buy new weapons as you see fit. There are five different weapons to choose from, and they have an additional six upgrades for each. Lasers, missiles, freeze shots and sizzling hot plasma. Most weapons you control in battle by selecting a weapon, and aiming it in a general direction. Missiles automatically aims at the enemies of the corresponding colour, simply tap the weapon slot to change between red and yellow enemies.
The controls are quite confusing at times. When you have a lot of weapons it is hard to understand which you have selected. Some of them indicate that they are active at the same time, and trial and error becomes the only valid method of aiming. At times tapping a weapon instead brings up the space station menu that is supposed to pop up only when you tap the centre of the station.
Placing the weapons in a pattern for maximum destruction is key to success. Cross firing lasers supported by a couple of upgraded missiles is a great base setup. And sadly this is the main problem with Black Matter. Once you have built a station filled with upgraded missiles and plasma weapons the game more or less plays by itself. Sure at times I have to aim an extra plasma at a boss instead of in my crossfire pattern. Other than that my only role is to press the next level button.
Enemies come in many different shapes and sizes, but they share the same pacifist approach to battle. They don’t fire at you, and their only means of attack is to physically push you off the screen. I found this to be somewhat strange to blast opponents to kingdom come that just nudge me. Not to be political or something but it can be compared to Israel versus Palestine, tanks versus snaking homemade missiles.
The graphics are really crisp with massive effects, and explosions that can be felt. The infinite space backgrounds, and enemy ships all look terrific. You space station on the other hand looks a bit uninspired, and I would have liked some customization options. The presentation is seriously let down by using the iPhone OS message windows after levels. In game graphics are always preferred.
The music is good with a deep space trance vibe that works well with the game. Sound effects are thumping heavy weapon fire, and satisfying explosions. You can play your own music, and have the sound effects as well.
Black Matter is a really fun game with intense gameplay for the first 15 minutes of a new game. Then it starts playing itself, and it becomes as fun as watching weapons blasting enemies by themselves on a small screen. Not too fun, but at least I can listen to my favourite lads pod casting when waiting for my upcoming next level tap. More weapons, harder enemies that fire back and destroy the base could help the game from this black hole. Try the lite version, and you will get those 15 minutes of fun. Then take a look at my review again before buying the full version.