A Puzzle Game That Finds Its Angle
I may have the patience of a saint. There is no other reasoning I could possibly come up with as to why I like Metrico+ so much.
Metrico+ is developed by Digital Dreams, and originally released back in 2014 on the PS Vita handheld system. While the design, and puzzles in the game were recognized by many as some of the best they had encountered at that time, the issue of relying on the Vita’s control gimmicks, and its cumbersome nature made it impossible for some to get through the game. Fortunately, Digital Dreams took a game that many admired and stripped down the novelty controls so that many can now have the chance love it.
Metrico+ is a 3D platformer that uses simple, solid color schemes that creates a humble look on the forefront and background, with geometric shapes that are used to portray mountains and other formations in the mid-ground. However, the look of the game shouldn’t fool anyone interested in playing it as the puzzles are as complicated as they are ingenious. On the surface, Metrico+ has a look that make it seems like only people that excel at mathematics will have a chance to progress regularly through the game. The equations, the numbers, and even the degrees that appear in each puzzle are nothing more than set dressing, and if there is a rhyme or reason for these numbers, I couldn’t find it. Then again, I was never great at geometry anyway. The look of Metrico+ is clean and crisp as you traverse your character through what I can only describe as being like an animated PowerPoint presentation, or infographics with its use of cubes and 3D rectangles.
The goal for each area in Metrico+ is to simply reach the other side that will ultimately take you to another puzzle. Almost every move you make in Metrico+ manipulates the board, and the obstacles within it; a cause and effect game if you will. For example, some puzzles will have a platform that moves the same direction as your character does while shooting projectiles will raise another platform on the other side. The trick is to manipulate the board to your advantage by making very precise moves. As you reach new levels the more complicated the puzzles will be. Are you still with me?
Every action you do matters. The trick is to simply use the trial and error method until the light bulb finally goes off in your head, metaphorically speaking of course. When you do finally conquer the puzzle, and you will with patience, you will go to the next area without a single thought of how much time you spent on the previous; that’s how great the feeling is. Of course, moving the objects to complete your objective is just part of the challenge, but as you delve deeper into the game you will also have to use precise timing with your moves in many cases.
The real unsung hero of Metrico+ is the soundtrack. Orchestrated by the Dutch composer, Palmbomen, the soundtrack compliments the look of the game by incorporating calm, synthesized sounds. Many puzzle games tend to use the same song repeatedly, but each area in Metrico+ gets its own sound. The calming effect the music has may be part of the reason I wanted to continue trying puzzles instead of simply claiming defeat. This game isn’t impossible as Metrico+ takes time, and the willingness to start the boards over as much as you need after you finish testing the waters in each level while the soothing sounds will help entice you to keep trying.
One point that should be made is that Metrico+ doesn’t have a story; at least one that is straightforward anyways. Most will argue that there isn’t one, but there is too much going on with the character you control that makes me think that there is some kind of allegory to life, or a deep message about how we obsess about our work that is hidden within the game. Also, the real crime is that puzzle game enthusiasts will probably conquer the game fairly quickly while others will probably clock in at least six hours to be able to complete the campaign. While this may be a bit of a letdown for some as Metrico+ has only six areas, the difficulty of these puzzles are some of the most complex I have come across in a while. If nothing else, gamers should take solace in knowing that a lot of love and work went into Metrico+ as well as its previous incarnation, and the end result is excellent.
Metrico+ is a sublime piece of entertainment that will have many puzzle game enthusiasts loving their time with it. Going back to the drawing board, and releasing this game on PC, the PS4, and later with the Xbox One version, was a great idea that I hope pans out for Digital Dreams as they deserve success from this title. Unforgiving in its difficulty at times, but satisfying more often than not, Metrico+ is a great title. Maybe I actually don’t have the patience of a saint. Maybe I just have patience for hard games that give me a sense of accomplishment.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PC; Publisher: Digital Dreams; Developer: Digital Dreams; Players: 1; Released: August 23, 2016; Genre: Puzzle; MSRP: $13.99
Full disclosure: This review was written based on review code supplied by the game’s publisher, Digital Dreams.