Dark Matter (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, July 8, 2007

Graphics: 8.00
Sound: 8.50
Gameplay: 7.00
Replays: 6.50

Canadian publisher Meridian 4 has slowly been carving out a niche for themselves since publishing their first title last year. The company has picked up some exciting PC action and kids titles, but now are also working to become a casual games publisher as well. One of the first titles to benefit from this new business decision is Dark Matter, an Asteroids clone developed by Big Toe Software. While it doesn’t seem as though Dark Matter is going to be the best casual title that Meridian 4 will get their hands on, it is a solid one for gamers interested in Asteroids style gameplay.

Before I kick off the review, I wanted to mention that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this game. There are no bugs and everything runs smoothly. The main issue is that this is essentially just an Asteroid clones with only two gameplay modes. Sure, you get over 30 missions and a little bit of a storyline in the campaign mode, and there are high scores in the Challenge mode. But that about covers the entirety of Dark Matter, as every level you upgrade weapons and take out asteroids and various alien ships until you progress.

Now, there are a couple of distinguishing gameplay features that this game has to help it stand out. For one, Dark Matter supports the use of the Xbox 360 controller. Not many casual games have supports for gamepads, and making use of the 360 controller was a great idea. In addition to that, it is possible to earn Achievement medals for doing well in the game. This gives the player some motivation to play, which was a nice thought by the developers.

Graphically Dark Matter looks great, and has a good amount of detail to it. There is no slowdown at any point, no matter how many ships and asteroids may be on the screen at one time. If there is one flaw though, it would be that some of the backdrops seem to blend together after awhile. It would’ve been nice if there had been some more variety, but it isn’t that big of a deal. Another positive aspect of Dark Matter would be that it features very catchy music, and the sound effects are well done.

As previously mentioned, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with Dark Matter. It has enough weapons upgrades to stay relatively interesting, looks and sounds great, and supports the Xbox 360 controller. However, potential purchasers should realize that this is an Asteroids clone with fancy graphics; nothing more, nothing less. There is more than enough content in the Challenge and Campaign modes to keep those interested entertained for hours to come, but if you’re bored of the key concept of Asteroids this won’t change your mind.

http://www.meridian4.com

Overall Rating: 7.00

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