After launching as a PS Vita exclusive as plain old Metrico in 2014, Metrico+ is now releasing for current gen consoles and PC with a reworked control system, new features and a fancy plus sign after its name.
Metrico+ is a 2D puzzle platformer with an unusual stylistic subject matter: infographics. Its levels are populated with pie charts, bar graphs and line diagrams, while its colourful backdrops depict minimalist landscapes through the use of geometric shapes. It might not sound like the most appealing mise-en-scène for a video game but in actuality, it's both functional and stylish.
Metrico+ consists of six levels, or worlds, each offering an increased degree of challenge. Things start off simply enough with the only controls being running and jumping. Movement isn't just about getting around as it's also integral to the puzzle solving. Platforms will change position depending on your actions. Walk left and one could float right; jump up and one might lower. Once you've figured out the rules for each puzzle, you'll have to determine the right sequence of movements in order to proceed to the next one.
Each subsequent world introduces a new aspect to the controls. World two adds a reset/teleport mechanic, while later levels give you the ability to shoot projectiles. The more possibilities you have to consider, the trickier things get. By the sixth world, some of the puzzles become mind-bendingly challenging (one of them took me at least an hour to solve). Subsequently, it's a satisfying feeling when you finally work them out. A little less rewarding is the lack of story which is conveyed via short semi-interactive scenes after each level. These enigmatic segues are rather slow paced, unengaging and don't feel like much of a payoff for all of your hard work.
Once (or if) you beat all six worlds, there's some genuine incentive to replay them for their collectibles. Rather than just being in hard-to-reach places like in most games, Metrico+'s secret items require you to solve some of its puzzles in alternative ways to reveal them, offering an even greater test than simply getting from one side of the screen to the other. Once you beat the campaign, you'll also unlock a speedrun mode which is a new feature in this version. The extra content will add some longevity for certain players, but if you're not into speedrunning or trophy hunting, Metrico+'s six levels might feel a bit lightweight.
As well as the ingenuity of its puzzles, Metrico+ also exceeds in its visuals and soundtrack. The levels look simplistic yet sleek and each has its own distinct character and colour palette. The sound effects are sparse but pleasing and the music is tranquil, zen-like and a fitting counterbalance to the frustration brought on by its tougher challenges.
I never played Metrico on Vita but from what I've read, it drew a fair bit of criticism for its controls which made copious (and sometimes quite impractical) use of the handheld's touch, motion sensor and camera technology. I'm pleased to report that this isn't an issue on PS4. There's no controller rotating or touchpad swiping to do, just good old-fashioned button pressing. This might rob it of some of its uniqueness, but if you've never played the Vita version, you won't feel like you're missing out on anything.
Metrico+ won't appeal to everyone's taste. Its presentation is highly stylised and ambiguous and its campaign is a little on the short side, but it's an engaging puzzler that offers players a genuine level of challenge that will both relax and agitate.
- + Mind-bending, genuinely challenging puzzles
- + New mechanics introduced in each world keep the gameplay fresh throughout
- + Attractive minimalist art style and soundtrack
- - Fairly short if you're not bothered about the trophies or collectibles
- - Cut scenes are rather slow and unengaging
- - Occasional bugs