By Jason Quinn / February 4th, 2017
|Release Date||August 23rd, 2016|
|Platform||PS4, PC, Xbox One|
|Age Rating||ESRB E for Everyone|
Metrico+ is a puzzle platformer from developer Digital Dreams. It is an updated release of the original Metrico, which was only released for the Playstation Vita. Metrico+ isn’t very heavy on the story. There are no real cutscenes and no text explaining what the game is about. Simply pick a male or female character and off you go. Despite the game not having any sort of cutscenes, there is one tiny narrative. After each level you complete some part of your body disappears, revealing some robotic part underneath. I’m honestly not sure if this carries any meaning. There certainly isn’t anything explicitly told to the player.
Going by the game’s website, it is apparently a game about infographics and free will. The infographics part is represented by some of the visual elements, but I don’t see how either of those things tied into the story. I’ll just take all that at face value and say the game doesn’t have the most compelling of narratives. The main draw of Metrico+ is its puzzles, and they are certainly unique. Objects in the environment move in relation to some aspect of your own movement. For example, a block moves to the right as you move to the right, or a block will move only when you are in the air. The game doesn’t tell you specifically how objects act though; you must experiment for yourself to see. Some objects even respond to things such as falling to your death, so you’ll need to think outside the box.
Metrico+ doesn’t stop there. As you progress through the game, you’ll gain access to some different abilities. One ability you get allows you to shoot bullets you can aim with the right thumbstick. Each new ability you get adds another way objects in the environment can respond to you, which means puzzles get progressively more complex as the game goes on. Towards the end of the game, you’ll be using all of these abilities simultaneously, so the game does a good job of putting all of them to good use.
While puzzles boil down to just moving blocks around in order to get past, how you move the blocks is the tricky part. Due to the game’s nature, the puzzles are very trial-and-error heavy. Before you can put together a solution for each puzzle, you have to do a good deal of experimentation. The good thing about these puzzles is that it never feels like you’re just going through the motions. Each one is new and different. The bad part is that you can never really learn anything because the rules are never consistent. In a traditional puzzle game, you would learn what your abilities do and how they affect certain things. In this game, how your abilities affect things constantly changes. Puzzles get more and more complex, which means more time has to be spent just figuring out the rules.
The aiming controls don’t feel very responsive. Aiming is very sluggish and it can be hard to line up shots correctly. Also if you aim in the opposite direction that you’re facing, it takes a second for the game to respond to this. Fortunately movement and jumping feel fine, although this game doesn’t have much in the way of tricky platforming. Resetting a puzzle is also troublesome as you have to hold down a button for a couple seconds. I would’ve much preferred resetting be instantaneous, as you can often put puzzles in situations where they can’t be solved.
Metrico+ has some distinct visuals, consisting primarily of geometric shapes and flat, solid colors. The background consists of a single color and occasionally objects like mountains or trees populate it. Each level also has a unique look to it. The platforms you move around on are simple shapes like squares and rectangles, apparently meant to represent bar graphs. Overall the visuals are occasionally interesting to look at, and if you’re into minimalism or infographics you’re sure to enjoy it. The soundtrack consists of some soft electronic music. I found it to be pleasant most of the time, but for the last level I had to take my headphones off as it was rather grating.
I feel Metrico+ succeeds in having some very interesting puzzle designs, but the amount of obfuscation tends to be frustrating sometimes. On the very last level, I spent more time feeling like I was taking blind stabs in the dark than working towards a goal. If you want to have a good experience in this game, you’ll need to have a good deal of patience and a tolerance for trial and error. The game took me just a few hours to beat and is currently $13.99. If you want some strange puzzles and like the aesthetic, this might be the puzzle platformer for you.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Digital DreamsMetricoPCPS4Puzzle PlatformerXbox One