Minimalism. Something that, if done right, can provide unparalleled style and atmosphere to a video game. Developer Digital Dreams certainly nailed this as their Vita-exclusive action-puzzler makes its way to the PlayStation store.
To describe Metrico in detail would spoil most of the experience. The lack of story works in its favour as you’re dropped into a mysterious world with no objective or explanation, giving you a sense of wonder and anticipation for what lies ahead. Greeted with nothing but whiteness surrounding your character your only option is to press onward into the unknown.
A first in gaming, Metrico centres around infographics. On paper it doesn’t sound very entertaining, but what follows is one of the most unique and beautifully crafted titles to grace the Vita in recent memory. Watching the world develop around you is a genuinely breathtaking experience. Every movement you make changes something in the world, be it mountains rising up in the distance or an entire section of a puzzle. This, along with a brilliant colour palette, grants Metrico a spot as one of the prettiest games of the year. Screenshots do not do this game justice – check out the trailer below to see what I mean;
Looks great, am I right?
Of course, no great puzzle game is without solid gameplay. Thankfully Metrico has this in spades. Each of the games six distinct worlds introduces you to a new game mechanic, most of which utilize the Vita’s features in fresh and interesting ways. None of these features feel poorly executed, and some skill will be required during later puzzles as combining your skills will become a regular occurrence.
The puzzles themselves are a delight to play through. The difficulty curve is a little slow to begin with, seeming almost too easy at first, but once you have multiple platforms to manage using three different skills at the same time can get rather tricky. Later areas of the game had me scratching my head a few times but don’t worry, there aren’t any huge difficulty spikes. Thankfully all of the puzzles are a blast to figure out and give you a great sense of accomplishment when beaten. The addition of a quick restart button and regular checkpoints before each puzzle mean there’s never a reason to throw your Vita at a wall.
Another area in which this game shines is the sound design. Dutch synth composer “Palmbomen” has done a tremendous job in creating a soundtrack to compliment the visual style of Metrico. Certain areas in the game contain musical cues that are triggered by your actions, such as platforms emitting piano notes, playing a little tune that goes with the background music. It’s little details like this that showcase the love and attention given to this title.
A personal favourite feature of mine is the areas that connect the worlds together. I won’t spoil much but it requires a wifi connection to fully enjoy and, while not directly affecting your game, adds a small social aspect to the game. These moments also play part to achieving two of the game’s eleven achievements, all of which are hidden (Good luck getting them all!)
Despite all of its strong points Metrico does fail to achieve the coveted perfect score for a few reasons. At only 3-5 hours long (depending on your skill) it’s not the longest game. There are secret collectibles scattered across the worlds encouraging multiple playthroughs and the trophies will add a few more hours to your total playtime, but for non-completionists it might not be worth revisiting more than twice. I also experienced minor frame-rate drops during level transitions, although they were barely noticeable and did not affect gameplay.
Developer Digital Dreams have set a high bar for their first Vita title. Not only have they implemented infographics into a game to create a fun and original experience, but their use of the Vita’s various features in-game is very well-executed, something a few other games struggled to achieve. If you’re a fan of action/puzzle games you’d be mad to miss checking this title out. A one-of-a-kind experience that fits perfectly on the Vita.
Metrico is free throughout August for PS Plus members – don’t miss out!