Indie Quickie: Metrico+

MetricoPlus_1

What is it and who made it? A retooled version of Digital Dreams’ infographic-based puzzle-platformer.

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? Originally launched back in 2014 as a PlayStation Vita exclusive, this plus-signed edition is now available on Steam and PlayStation 4, with an Xbox One version still to come. Get it now for $13.99. Anyone who already owns the Vita version gets a 50% discount on the new and improved PS4 edition.

How much did we play? Played the PC version for an hour and a half, finishing three of six worlds and playing a couple checkpoints into the fourth. I also replayed the first world in speedrun mode for a handful of attempts, narrowly crossing the finish line to get the achievement for beating it in under 2 minutes and 34 seconds.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements, or other details you should know about? Particularly for speedrun mode, it’s kind of annoying that you can’t restart the world from the beginning directly from the pause menu. Instead you have to pause, quit, go back to the level selection, and choose the desired world. That’s a lot of unnecessary menu hopping just to restart the stage over again when you simply want to scrap the current run. It’d be great to have a quick restart button.

MetricoPlus_2

Why should you play it?

    In a growing sea of indie puzzle-platformers, Metrico distinguishes itself from other games of brains and agility thanks to its unique, adaptive environment presented as an interactive infographic of line diagrams, pie charts, and bar graphs that shift in real time based on your actions. For example simply walking left or right may cause a particular platform to move in the same or opposing direction, while jumping may cause a section of the floor to rise or fall. The trick is to watch how each element of the world reacts as you move, then interpret those movements into a sequence that, say, creates a bridge across a long gap or properly aligns platforms into a staircase formation to climb to a higher area. It sounds simple at first, but the puzzle design steadily increases in complexity with each passing checkpoint, blossoming into a smart challenge primarily of spatial awareness and pattern recognition, with moments of twitch platforming skill.

    Puzzle variety remains fresh and unpredictable with the introduction of new mechanics for each passing world. World 1 starts off with the basics, World 2 adds in circular checkpoints that double as warp portals, and World 3 brings the ability to aim a compass line like a targeting sight for firing off little dot projectiles at these spinning blade targets that act as switches as well as insta-kill hazards should you land on one. The difficulty curve further increases with puzzle elements that react to a movement only a set number of times, forcing you to overcome the problem at hand within not only a limited number of moves, but also a precise, proper order.

    Metrico‘s abstract, minimalistic visuals are another highlight. In addition to new gameplay wrinkles, each world envelopes the silhouetted player character with its own stylized color palette and level geometry to go along with a matching soundscape that similarly reacts to your interactions. Though starkly detailed, there’s always a sense of motion to the world that keeps your eyes locked in, from cascades of line art splashing the sky and shapes rising up in the background like mountains, to the pure beauty of a warm sunset over a landscape of pillowy sand dunes. This game’s a low-poly looker, that’s for sure.

Parting Thoughts: I never played the original Metrico on Vita so I can’t speak to what makes Metrico+ any different/better/worse than before. But taken on its own, regardless of the platform you choose to play it on, I can definitely say that this is a cleverly designed puzzle-platformer set off by sparse yet eye-catching infographic landscapes and environmental color schemes. It can be a bit too ambiguous–a few times I sat looking at the screen, waiting for something to happen, not realizing that the game was actually waiting for me to press a certain button without any sort of button prompt or indication–but aside from the occasional moment of confusion, the lack of explanation mostly works in the game’s favor by making players discover the mechanics on their own and then figure out the best way to put them into problem-solving action.

What is Indie Quickie? It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

Disclosure: A Steam code for Metrico+ was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s publisher.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!