Due out in just two weeks, Red Matter 2 is promising to up the ante over its already well regarded predecessor, this time being built from the ground up to look as good as possible on Quest 2. We got to sample the game to see how it’s shaping up ahead of release.

Developer Vertical Robot has boldly claimed that Red Matter 2 will be the best looking (realistically styled) game on Quest 2, and as we’ve played so far they appear to be well on track to make that a reality. In many ways Red Matter 2 running on Quest 2 looks as good or sometimes better than many smaller PC VR titles, which is no small feat given the performance constraints of the platform.

‘Good graphics’ is a really broad concept; it isn’t just about how high resolution the textures are or how many polygons are on the screen. It’s a synergy of both technical and artistic efforts that make graphics look great.

And Red Matter 2 is really delivering on that. Not only is the game sharp and full of graphical details like reflections and lighting, there’s also a very well executed artistic direction, with some spaces looking so visually distinct and with such great lighting composition that you’d swear the studio hired an architect rather than an game environment artist.

The game has a distinct retro-futuristic vibe, combining ’60s sci-fi sensibilities with brutalist architecture, leading to many impressive looking spaces that would be the perfect villain’s lair from an old international spy thriller.

Image courtesy Vertical Robot

But when it comes to VR, it’s never just about looks. For the world to feel immersive it also needs to be interactive. And this is another place where Red Matter 2 clearly understood the assignment.

Vertical Robot has continued to lean on their ingenious ‘grabber’ tools—which they pioneered in the original Red Matter—as the basis of interaction in the game. Simply put, in the game you hold a multi-tool that looks a lot like the controller that’s in your hands in real life. The tool can toggled between grabbing, scanning, hacking, and a flashlight. It’s surprising to say, but having ‘grabbers’ that look like your controllers feels way more immersive than using virtual ‘hands’ to interact with things in the game.

The reason for the added immersion is twofold: for one, because there’s a tool between you and the object, you don’t expect to feel that kind of haptics that you would if you were grabbing the object with your actual fingers (and thus realism is preserved). And second, since you can’t dexterously manipulate and precisely target virtual objects with your actual fingers, the grabbers much more accurately represent the coarse input limitations of your VR motion controllers. Frankly, it’s amazing many more VR games don’t use this approach.

With your multi-tool in hand, almost everything that looks like you could interact with it can indeed be picked up and played with. And that’s a big plus because, simply put, the core gameplay of Red Matter 2 is indeed interacting.

And if you can’t actually pick something up, there’s a very strong chance you can use your scanner tool to scan it for additional information. And as an aside, Red Matter 2 might have the best paper physics I’ve yet seen in a VR game—little details like that really add up!

To that end the studio has done a great job of creating satisfying interactions that are fun to execute. You’ll press buttons, turn knobs, and pull levers, all in service of solving environmental puzzles that move you through the game and progress the story.

The game isn’t just puzzling… there’s some action in there too, but I can’t talk about that just yet.

From what I’ve played of Red Matter 2 thus far (about a quarter of the game by my estimation), it’s been a very impressive experience that stands out from the rest of the Quest 2’s mostly arcade-y library. It feels a lot like a PC VR game that just happens to be able to run on Quest 2. And for Quest 2 players who wished Lone Echo would have made it to the headset, Red Matter 2 feels like the next best thing given its pace and focus on immersion and interaction.

If I had to give the game a rating from what I’ve played so far, it would be an obvious thumbs up. But the big question is if the gameplay will stay fresh through the entire game or become stale, and whether the story will feel integral to the experience or merely a superficial backdrop for puzzling.

You can find out in our full review when Red Matter 2 launches on Quest 2 and PC VR on August 18th.

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  • Nevets

    You certainly mastered the use of the Bold typeface.

  • namekuseijin

    reality is boring. Picking up cups, bottles, paper… boring, routine. Cool gimmick to have in a game but games shouldn’t be reality, should be more exciting than reality – and you get that from challenging obstacles, to your mind or to physical dexterity. I’m glad both are into RM2. if you want walking sims, there are thousands of user-made virtual places to be visited in VRC or Rec Room…

  • Arno van Wingerde

    Wow, the pictures look fantastic! RM1 is great, but this looks so much better, that honestly I simply do not think the Quest2 is capable of such graphics and blacks. I’d love to wrong here.

    • kontis

      That team does tons of optimizations and smart tricks that are not in the default Unreal Engine.

      It’s a good example showing that the tools devs get are still lacking and a much better job could be done if Epic/Unity/Meta/Valve cared enough.

      • Ookami

        I think optimization is a huge issue even in flatscreen games. I remember booting up Metal Gear Solid V on my potato laptop and surprised with how well the game ran–and it looked great. Other games that looked half as good ran more poorly.

    • Ookami

      in terms of blacks, video footage isn’t really going to give you an accurate picture because of screen differences. Whatever color quality you’re used to on the Quest 2 is what you should expect to see in game, despite how it might look on your monitor.
      The graphic though I’m sure will match :)

      • Arno van Wingerde

        I agree: the black levels will be awful because the Quest 2 really sucks in that regard. But as for the graphics: those demos are typically made on powerful PCs and do often not reflect the much lower quality on the Quest. Well, we ‘ll see in a week!

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    Is there a reason u need to be bolded?

    • Torsten Balle Koefoed

      To get attention. He also liked his own message…

      • ViRGiN

        I’m more worried about a guy having so much free time to be able to hover over upvotes to see who did what.

        • David Wilhelm

          I’d rather they fully block you so that hovering over stuff doesn’t then expose all your diatribe, but I don’t make the rules. If the OP didn’t bold his stuff, at least they would be making somewhat reasonable observations.

        • Alexis von Oberndorff

          Tell the guy who repeat himself over and over again on all articles lol. You ré the one who looks like living here

        • Ookami

          Better than a PCVR hater who obsessively check the steam charts every month

      • Ookami

        The fact that he disliked this and the comment above tells me everything I need to know.

  • I’m impressed and I can’t wait for the 18th to come!

  • Torsten Balle Koefoed

    Apart from your annoying use of bold, I’d somewhat agree with the content of your comment. This is what I wrote in my review of the game:

    “The puzzles themselves were fairly logical in the literal sense but often didn’t make much sense in the context – they often felt very much like artificial and simplistic game-designed puzzles and not like something you’d naturally encounter in the environment.”

    I also didn’t like the controls (would prefer natural hands) and weird movement in low-gravity, and the story had a strong indie-feel to it.

    Hopefully they made a solid step-up with RM2.

    • NL_VR

      I think Red Matter puzzles mostly fitted naturally in well in the game

  • Nevets

    I really wish it wasn’t puzzle based. If it was like Edge of Nowhere or the early Tomb Raiders, where you can wander around and explore, and skip the levels if you get stuck and cba, then I’d buy it. But paying for a game that I’ll invariably abandon after too many puzzles? Sadly, no thanks. I’m getting weary of this locked ecosystem thing of having no ability to add level skip cheats. I wasted money on Ven because it became too bloody hard and the devs think an invincibility cheat or level skip is unnecessary. I won’t get fooled again, it’s annoying.

    • Sven Viking

      Cheats are valuable sources of potential monetisation now (in general, not relevant to these developers specifically).

    • NL_VR

      Git gud

    • DeeJae GodsOwn

      I don’t agree with that attitude towards gaming. With Ninja Gaiden on NES aside, no game was ever so hard that I wouldn’t play it. I hope it doesn’t get boring and make me not want to play it anymore. That’s the problem I find with most games that I try to get into. I can’t get past the “filler” in the middle where they try to extend the games length and it becomes so tedious and boring. Difficulty should not deter you, especially with Youtube and other places to get walkthroughs and the like.

    • I totally agree. I’m really not a fan of the last ten years of indie stuff that seems to try to force a game around a bunch of puzzles rather than putting some puzzles now and then in an actual fun game. The fun of moving around in the world and exploring of your own accord, taking different approaches to how you fight enemies, make your way through the level, etc, should be the core of the experience imo. And that’s true even ore more level-based games and the like too. Just solving one puzzle room to move onto the next puzzle area, and repeat, is amateur game design hour as far as I’m concerned (and that can be an actual obvious puzzle of just a platforming and/or environmental puzzle too). Sooo many indie developers fall victim of this.

    • shadow9d9

      I love puzzle games.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Yes, but the same goes for shooters and other games, where I am simply not good enough to actually see more than the few few game levels. Making hints for puzzles like the “The Room VR: A Dark Matter” is a bit of effort but much appreciated and still my favourite VR game. But why oh why is it so hard to implement easy/medium/hard/impossible settings with e.g. slower or less Zombies?

  • I see now…

    You need to work on your articulation otherwise your ideas will be continually disregarded.

    • ViRGiN

      No matter what he says, he will be shit on, because PCVR people are primarily incapable of separating an art from the artist.

  • Gonzax

    Enough with the bold letters, dude, you always do the same. Stop craving for attention and write like everyone else.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    We’ve said it so many times, stop using bold for your whole post. The only reason why you do it, is to stand out. These days I mostly don’t even read your post but push the vote down button.

  • ViRGiN

    But wait, everyone all around told me for years that Quest 2 is limited by “PhOnE processor”, yet this looks like 99% the best of what PCVR has to offer?

    Look at Onward VR on PC. It’s CRYSTAL CLEAR that PCVR is incapable of providing good graphics.

    • David Wilhelm

      That’s a moronic statement at best.. just stop already…

  • Octogod

    Beautiful game. It’s a shame the gameplay looks to be so basic. Here’s hoping they mix it up by the end.

  • David Wilhelm

    Looks great but locomotion will make or break comparisons to Echo VR.

  • For me, the way they’ve implemented the shooting is going to make or break this. If it’s got that stupid travel time on bullets, where you can visibly see them moving slowly towards your target, meaning you constantly have to aim ahead slightly to compensate for their sluggishness, then I’m out. Similarly, if the bullets have some stupid random hit pattern that means sometimes they go where you aim and sometimes they don’t, unless if’s very subtle and doesn’t feel like aiming and hitting a target ultimately becomes a little bit of a chance/luck game, especially anything in the further distance, I’m out. This is basic stuff that needs to be nailed for any kind of shooting combat imo, doubly so in VR where you point and aim directly, and now that they’ve apparently added some weapons like this into the game, it needs to be nailed for me to be satisfied.

  • Carnel

    it’s hilarious, it’s like this ViRGiN guy has nothing to do other than troll the comments on every single VR website

  • Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne

    Hey here’s an upvote, pissing off nerds is funny and easy

  • Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne

    Boooooring

  • Ookami

    All that Bold text hurts my brain trying to read this.

  • Zack71

    Will RM2 last more than RM1?
    RM1 was a good game, but it was too short…