DOES IT MEASURE UP
I speculatively started up Metrico — like many people, math was never my forte. In fact, video games were normally my escape whenever I was bogged down with algebra homework. That said, the idea of a game based on the artstyle behind “infographics” had me intrigued; could Digital Dreams make a competent video game based off of unique theme?Metrico starts up with a clear message — this is an artistic experience (like Entwined, Flower, or Journey); plug in your headphones and take the Vita to bed. The minimalist art style is prevalent from the title screen, bringing a distinct look and feel to the game. While I was unsure about the “math-based” theme, the shifting line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts made for one of the most trippy experiences you can find in video games, to date.
While I was impressed by the visuals of Metrico, I was even more impressed by the use of the Vita’s features. While many Vita titles will only add some minimal touch controls to the gameplay, Metrico makes the player use all the features of the system. Much like Tearaway, the game is tailored to the Vita, making for a more dynamic experience — players will be using the rear touch pad, camera, and motion controls to make their way through Metrico’s stages.
The dynamic feel of Metrico’s controls are somewhat weakened by the difficulty curve of the puzzles, or lack thereof. The levels start off easy and never become too difficult. Unlike other puzzle games I’ve played recently (The Swapper first and foremost), Metrico never left me scratching my head — an integral part to any puzzle game. This may have been an intentional move; instead of making the stages hard, the operative experience was based on the sound design and shifting art style.
Speaking of sound design, I have to note that Palmbomen and Digital Dreams did a fantastic job creating a perfect atmosphere. While the levels certainly had a surreal influence, the sound design was able to match the experience and bring it to life. At some point I was moving forward in the levels to hear the progression of the music more than to actually see the next group of stages.
Metrico’s play time clocked in around three or four hours. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Digital Dreams is looking to deliver a specific experience. However, for $13.99, I’m not sure if I feel the game is worth the price. Luckily, Metrico is part of this month’s PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection — chances are if you are reading this, you are getting it for free.
Last but not least, I need to mention the “online features” and how Metrico performs on the system. When the game starts up, it prompts you to connect to PSN to receive the full experience. I’m still not exactly sure what online connectivity brings to the table, besides some Twitter integration. That said, I still have 80% of my trophies locked after beating the game, so I may have missed something here or there.
Meanwhile, Metrico seems to struggle a bit on the Vita. While it never noticeably affects the gameplay, framerate stuttering between puzzles and some long load times are no stranger to the title. There was only one time where the game’s bugs trapped me in a level (hopelessly looking for a solution that couldn’t be found) — a simple restart was able to fix the problem.
The Verdict: 6.9 out of 10
Metrico is an engaging indie, with some of the best Vita functionality to date. That said, the game is really intended for those who prefer gaming experiences than games themselves. The lack of difficulty and the stuttering technical issues knock the experience down a couple of pegs, however it was still, for the most part, enjoyable. While the game’s brief gameplay time suggests that $13.99 may be too much, everyone can try the game for free on PlayStation Plus.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.
Lou Contaldi is MONG’s Executive Editor. In his off time, he enjoys being aggressively mediocre at Hearthstone. You can follow his incoherent ramblings at Twitter.
This review is based on a Vita review copy game that was provided by the developers. The reviewer has spent four hours with the title, and is now rethinking math as he knows it.