This month’s Playstation Plus free games are an interesting bunch, one that at first glance may seem a bit… lacking to put it nicely. One of these titles is Metrico by Digital Dreams. When I first looked at this title I wasn’t really sure what to think. OK, to be completely honest with you when I first looked at this game I thought to myself, “Oh great, another worthless game I’ll download and never play.” I mean here’s the tag line of the game:
Metrico: A game about infographics and free will for the Playstation Vita.
Ugh, just what I want after a tedious day of work; a tedious game about work. I mean if there’s one thing I don’t want to look at when I leave work its PowerPoint charts. Luckily for Metrico, the game is better than its somewhat poorly worded title.
Metrico at its core is a platform puzzler, heavy on the puzzle and light on the platformer. In Metrico, you progress through boards (which are actually individual puzzles) one at a time until you complete each zone. The game is a PS Vita exclusive and for good reason; it makes use of every possible control option the Vita has to offer. You see, in order to progress in Metrico you need to manipulate the world around you. How do you do this you ask? Tilt the Vita right, a bar chart may extend creating a new pathway. Rotate it left and another bar may descend making that impossible jump possible. Shoot an “enemy” and a ledge might just pop in existence but not quite close enough for you to jump to until you tilt the Vita ever so slightly down. The world of Metrico changes to your inputs, morphing in response to your every move. It’s a really cool mechanic and one that I’ve never seen utilized in a puzzle game. Each area in Metrico presents you with a new play mechanic which needs to be correctly utilized to solve new puzzles. For example, certain platforms may move left if you move the player right; you may actually have to jump into a pit, sacrificing yourself to extend a bar chart enough to reach it on the next time through . The developers seems to delight in creating puzzles that depend on the Vita’s controls and they largely succeeded. Often times I found myself randomly tilting and touching the Vita in a desperate attempt to solve a puzzle I found particularly challenging.
This brings me to the puzzles themselves. They range from straight forward to downright challenging, as any good puzzle game should. I have to admit, I did get stuck several times and had to turn the game off or risk discovering if throwing the Vita across the room was control mechanic.
The puzzles can get frustrating at times but never seemed completely insurmountable.
I even got so desperate one point that I resorted to searching online for an answer. Don’t judge me, I was staring to seriously consider that smashing the Vita under my foot might work. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the game is so new I couldn’t find help for my particular level. In the end I figured it out on my own and was almost embarrassed by how easy it was to solve. Often times the greatest difficulty of a board is in figuring out the proper way to manipulate the world using the various controls at your disposal.
The game remains true to its tag line through its graphical style. The world of Metrico is like a business presentation gone wrong; it’s a stark and eerie world of numbers and graphs. It’s what I would imagine a bad trip about a painful presentation you had to sit through would be like. Pie charts and bar graphs comprise the world in power point like color wheel spectrums. Bar graph like platforms display their percentage as they grow and shrink. Other platforms display fractions representing their current position. It’s all a bit unnerving but works well with the game. The music enhances this feeling, providing an ambient backdrop. But truth be told, the soundtrack quickly became annoying and I ended up turning the volume down.
A Gamers Opinion:
Metrico is a platform puzzler exclusive by Digital Dreams for the PS Vita. This is a game that I didn’t expect much from but ended up being pleasantly surprised by. It may not be for everyone and it is a bit gimmicky but this is precisely what separates it from the competition. The puzzles are as much about the world you guide your avatar through as they are about the controls used to manipulate that world. In the end, Metrico is a nice little puzzle game that can provide you with a few hours of contemplation, some moments of extreme frustration, but many more of triumph.
- Unique Vita exclusive puzzle game
- Good difficulty level; challenging but not impossible
- Makes great use of the Vita’s controls
- Minor control inaccuracies with the rear touch screen
- Not a fan of the music at all
- Limited if any replay value