Metrico Review (PS Vita)
Metrico isn’t so much a game as it is an experience. Sure, it has all of the trappings of a game, but Metrico is so much more. It challenges you to figure out the rules and consequences of your actions as you roll through the charts, graphs, bars, lines and other tools used for representing quantifiable data that creates this unique world.
At its outset, Metrico assumes that you can at least fire a few synapses and figure out how to perform basic actions such as moving left to right, right to left, jumping up and down and activating certain objects. The controls are so wonderfully simple, if only for the fact that the gameplay is challenging and requires you to stay on your toes as you perform some problem-solving.
Although the graphics are presented in a very minimalist style, there’s plenty to pop out and catch your eye in Metrico, which is good, because these visual cues can help you solves the various puzzles. For example, a floating platform at the other end of a gap will have a popout featuring the coordinates for the platform’s x-axis. You might find that as you travel across the floor towards the right of the screen, the platform’s x-axis is affected and started to get closer to you. But as soon as you jump forward, it stops. Through trial and error, you discover that it’s only when you’re traveling to the right, but remain on the floor, will the platform inch closer. And there you are. It’s thanks to informative popouts like that, as well as outlines that show where a structure is supposed to fit, that you’re able to piece together context clues in order to solve these puzzles.
While the gamespace is mainly populated by polygonal shapes, the backgrounds can change from a simple desert backdrop, a white screen or even pitch black when the action becomes a black and white affair. It’s so simple, but still very visually pleasing to the eye. Metrico probably won’t win awards based on its looks, but suffice to say that they made an impression on me.
If I was hard-pressed to give a comparison or liken Metrico to another game, I’d say it was like playing a 2D, more artistic Portal. You try to traverse a world in which various obstacles lie in your path, threatening to halt your progress. Each attempt to conquer said obstacles end up in failure, making one more determined to come out victorious and prompting one to look at the situation from different angles and to try new solutions. While messing with platforms and their x-and-y-axes is fairly simple, it gets even harder when checkpoints are introduced, tasking you with completing one part of a task, teleporting back to the checkpoint so that the team can continue on as well.
All the while, Metrico lives up to its namesake and provides you with various statistics. If you’re online, you’ll be able to see the percentage of players who made certain choices in the game where choices are allowed. The numbers might surprise you or, at the very least, give you something interesting to think about while you struggle to find a solution to the next platforming puzzle in your way.
The sound does a good job of providing you with just enough feedback to let you believe as if your movements are important. Setting foot or jumping on certain platforms plays back a tone, as if you were traipsing on the giant keyboard from ‘Big’ or those tiles from Michael Jackson ‘Billie Jean’ music video. It’s a fantastic, instantly-gratifying feeling that can urge you to keep pushing through the end of the puzzle and onto the next world.
Metrico, as I’ve said, is an experience. You can almost zen out while going from puzzle to puzzle, looking at something from different angles and trying to figure out how to manipulate objects on the screen to help you get from Point A to B. If you ever need a game to center you and give you a break from the apocalypse, epic fantasies, hardcore fighting tournaments or catching monsters, then Metrico is the relaxing, only sometimes frustrating break for you.
This review is based on a purchased digital version of Metrico for PlayStation Vita.