Lines, bars and pies are usually just boring charts on a PowerPoint presentation, showing you dull numbers while someone drones on about stats. But only in Metrico+ do these come to life as fiendish platformer puzzles.
Developer: Digital Dreams
Publisher: Digital Dreams
Release Date: August 2016
Played: All levels
Purchase At: Steam, Playstation 4
Source: Review Copy provided by Publisher
Metrico+ is a puzzle platformer and as many other puzzle games, it’s light on plot. You start as either a male or female protagonist, no names whatsoever, and as you traipse through each level your character will suddenly grasp a part of their body in pain, a short sequence lasting only a few seconds. Then at the end of the level, he or she enters an orb where there are two doors. On opening one, they’ll see their reflection on a mirror float and one of its extremities darken or glow. If you cross the door, stand on the pedestal and press the appropriate and infuriatingly-ever-changing button then that’s what happens to them.
As the progress bar that deletes them completes, you can see the full charts you puzzled through appearing in the background, as if consuming your body printed them.
I’m sure there’s something completely symbolic and philosophical about it all, about losing ourselves as individuals, what makes us people and just becoming statistics, just another number on a line or bar, but I’ll leave it to you to confer them meaning. I know I did and found myself depressed, because all my interpretations were slightly fatalistic.
I really enjoyed the platforming puzzles. Jumping and dropping to make bar charts grow or shrink, move left or right for line charts to do the same or just move around, using ‘loading’ circle icons to respawn and either reset the environment or trigger a bar chart with that requirement. Discovering how to make each puzzle work was fantastic. The more elements they added, the better it became, save for the bounced shot mechanic and levels. These are some of the new elements, I believe and I don’t feel they add to the experience as much as they take away from it.
Puzzles in this game have a rhythm to them and most importantly a sense of wonder that culminates in the “Eureka!” moment that all good riddles should have. But when the bounce-bullet puzzles come into play, it stops being about figuring out the right actions needed, or their sequence, which was the fun it, and it becomes a game of geometry, finding the right angle to bounce the bullet at so that it does what you need it to do to clear the puzzle. The pacing slows to a crawl and in my case, boredom replaced the sense of wonder, particularly because these puzzles abandon the platforming almost completely—and the cursor is finicky as all hell. These levels bring the overall experience down.
Visually it’s great in its minimalism. It’s all about solid colours, striking ones against stark backgrounds, the same way you’d see charts on a paper or a computer screen. They really sell you on the idea of platforming through charts. The newer levels have more of a neon feel to it, bright shiny colours against darker backgrounds. It works, but it lacks the pleasantness of the first ones and clashes with the overall visual theme.
I have issues with the Sound. The soundtrack is repetitive, in a bad way. Often the pieces are just a couple of notes repeated over and over to the point of annoyance. While you’re puzzling, solving and platforming you’ll most likely ignore them, but the moment you start struggling with a puzzle the more grating the music becomes. Also, I don’t know who had the idea of giving the bullet cursor a sound effect. If by any chance you tab out, as I often do, the volume goes crazy and ramps up to 11, turning a mild hum into a migraine-inducing buzzing.
I like Metrico+ up until it switches from puzzle platformer to geometric shooter. Then it becomes tedious. At best, the music is harmless but not memorable, but migraine inducing at worst. The new levels don’t feel like they add to the experience but rather take away from it.
4/5 – Exceptional!