Constantly Upping The Puzzle Ante
by Kimberley Wallace on Mar 18, 2014 at 06:30 AM
Platform PlayStation Vita
Publisher Digital Dreams Entertainment
Developer Digital Dreams Entertainment
Rating Everyone

Last year at Gamescom, we got our hands on Metrico and liked what we saw. The clever puzzle-solving is complemented by an empty world that populates with infographics as you progress, an exciting approach on the puzzle/platformer.  At GDC, Metrico was on display again, and I saw some more advanced stages that showcased that while the game is simple at heart, it has plenty of depth under the hood.

Metrico’s aesthetic is simple, but the vibrant infographics that multiply as you progress are not merely pleasing, but also provide a sense of progression. Each of the seven levels introduce a new mechanic to help you get past the world’s various obstacles, such slopes, out-of-reach ledges, and roaming enemies.

My first impression of Metrico provided a satisfying challenge, which constantly ups the ante. You start with basic movement and jumping, then move on to shooting abilities, using the back touchpad to aim for longer attacks, and later you even use the Vita’s gyroscope to expand ledges.  By experimenting with all the various mechanics at your disposal, you uncover what each puzzle’s modus operandi is. The solutions are clever; sometimes dying is part of the answer.

The introduction of new mechanics each level keep things fresh, but the biggest attraction is how these new abilities challenge how you to think. For instance, I was excited to unlock the shooting ability, but found out quickly that while sometimes simply shooting brought platforms to me, shooting everything in sight pushed some platforms out of my reach. My demo was all about balance, testing when to shoot or jump, how many times, and when to draw back. Each change is based off of information in the gameplay – each bar, pie, and graph matches exactly what you’ve been doing.

Metrico’s keeps you wanting to overcome every obstacle in place without it feeling repetitive. You’re constantly adapting to new rules with every puzzle and experimenting to see what works. I never felt like my hand was held or given hints on how to progress; I was the mastermind in obtaining every victory. In one puzzle, I had to consider that using the left stick would bring one platform toward me, while jumping would raise another. Later on, I’m presented a choice to enter one of two doors. The game reveals what other players selected, though it doesn’t appear to have a right or wrong choice.

We also got to hear the game's sound track for the first time during the new hands-on demo. Metrico offers an adaptive music system that gives you positive and negative feedback depending on your choices in the game. The music is a nice touch, lending not only to the immersion, but also lets players know when they’ve succeeded.

Metrico’s biggest thrill is those light-bulb moments where you finally put the pieces together. The game rewards you from learning through failure, trying other tactics, and persevering. I never felt frustrated by Metrico; it made me always look forward to my next triumph and how it would next challenge my mind.

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