Metrico+ is an indie puzzle-platform game developed and published by Digital Dreams that is immersed in mathematics, charts and numbers. But don’t worry; you don’t need to be a mathematical genius in order to solve Metrico’s puzzle games. It’s simply in the aesthetic design that makes Metrico+ what it is – an innovating, extremely enjoyable and clever puzzle-based game. Though previously released as a PlayStation Vita exclusive, Metrico translates flawlessly to the PlayStation 4. Whatever technical issues were adorned by the PSVita are resolved with the PS4 due to the stripped back and much simpler control system that allows for a far more enjoyable experience.
What sets it apart from other puzzle-based platformers is the idea at the very heart of the gameplay. It’s simple, but my god it’s brilliant and makes you wonder how no one else has come up with it before. In Metrico+, the movement of the player corresponds with the movement of other elements in the world. These tend to be platforms, pillars or bridges, that all change depending on a particular movement undertaken by your character. A block may rise each time you jump, so you have to limit your leaps or the platform will become too high for you to reach, while at the same time moving to the right lowers another gate that threatens to block your path. Getting a headache yet?
It’s a fascinating concept that really requires some brain power in order to navigate your way through each level. They are not designed to trick you. Nor are they unfair or frustrating. Everything that you need to solve the puzzle is presented on-screen. Each moment exists within itself and if a puzzle is hard, it’s hard. There are no artificial barriers in place to catch you out. Chances are you’ll try what looks to be the most obvious way forward, find out that doesn’t work and stare blankly at the screen while your brain tries to figure out the answer. Then that little lightbulb will spark up in your head and you’ll have a satisfying moment when all the pieces start to fit together and you finally find your way through. It may require patience, but the only frustration you will find is with yourself, not the game, and once you’ve learned where you went wrong, you’ll be kicking yourself for not thinking of it sooner.
With each new level, new concepts are introduced that keeps the puzzles fresh and the player more engaged. In the second level you have the ability to respawn at designated checkpoints to reset all surrounding structures, and in the third you have the ability to shoot projectiles that can take out hostile obstacles. At risk of revealing too much I won’t go into the other concepts introduced further in the game, but needless to say, Digital Games have put great efforts into ensuring that the player experience evolves with the level design, by presenting new modes, concepts and challenges that avoid falling into repetitive gameplay.
Despite its indie game origins, the visual style feels exactly what you expect, even when playing it on the more powerful console. It may not be as technically impressive, but its design is smooth, slick and gorgeous to look at. Based on infographics and data, it’s nothing short of mesmerising. The abstract imagery that forms around you as you play the game is easily distracting but in the best possible way. The levels take on the form of dynamic bar chats and mathematical diagrams, which sound like the worst thing imaginable but instead becomes something quite beautiful. The gorgeous pastel tones provide the perfect backdrop to each level, whose designs continue to change throughout the game, constantly keeping things evolving.
Metrico+ is not the sort of game that you can play through twice over, not until you’ve long forgotten all the solutions to the puzzles anyhow, so it doesn’t have much replay value after completion. But for those who have a soft spot for puzzle-solving games, then Metrico+ is a smart and stunning example that shouldn’t be overlooked. With a gorgeous aesthetic style and evolving gameplay, there’s very little to find fault with this title. It constantly throws new features into the mix to keep things fresh and the puzzles are genuinely difficult, able to make you feel like a complete fool right before making you feel like an absolute genius.
For those who like a bit of puzzle solving now and again, and take a break from exploration, story and action, then Metrico+ is a delight to get stuck into.
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