Metrico+

Metrico+ feels like the brainchild of someone who has been forced to sit through a few too many business meetings. This puzzle platformer takes you on a whirlwind journey through the world of infographics. Although that may sound unappealing, the game cleverly utilizes these geometric figures to form dynamic stages that react to your actions. Ratios and percentages provide immediate feedback, helping you understand how you can efficiently solve a puzzle. Metrico+ is a revamped version of Metrico on the PlayStation Vita, featuring less of the original’s motion and light sensor gimmicks and replacing them with new, less intrusive mechanics.

The first thing you’ll likely notice about this game are the numbers and charts throughout each area. The goal of Metrico+ is to help your silhouetted mountain climber make it through the end of each section by manipulating the bar graphs, pie charts, and other statistical figures to get across. Certain platforms react to different actions. For instance, jumping may move a platform to the right. Walking left or right may make certain platforms rise or fall. In some clever puzzle design, falling into a pit may even cause a platform to move. You can't tell what a platform will do until you see it move.

This kind of reactionary puzzle platforming is both good and bad. On one hand, developer Digital Dreams can concoct virtually any puzzle with the main character’s limited moveset by simply changing the rules on what makes a platform move. In this way, the game tests your inductive reasoning, asking you to logically infer which actions move which platforms and then figure out how to solve the whole puzzle from there. The frustration comes in the trial-and-error portion of having to learn what each action does at the start of every section. It’s as if you were playing a game and the rules changed every five minutes. It’s nearly impossible to solve a puzzle without having to start over at least once.

There is a method to the madness. Numbers line up moving platforms in the form of ratios, percentages, or axis coordinates. These statistics indicate the extent and limit of platform movement, giving you a clearer guideline of which path you can travel. Additionally, the game uses the numbers to challenge you by limiting your actions or movement. For instance, one puzzle punishes you by lowering a platform to block your progress every time you jump. Jump one too many times, and you will have to reset; figure out how to get through the level without jumping and you win.

Platforming may look like it’s taken a backseat to logical reasoning, but it plays just as important a role. You need to take big leaps, race moving bar graphs, and even jump over obstacles to get through. Clever level design offsets any frustration. Even if you’ve figured out how to solve certain puzzles, the execution becomes the true challenge. Thankfully, your character controls responsively. Metrico+ graciously includes checkpoints in each section, with some areas having multiple restore points. Without the need to worry about lives or continues, you can better focus on the puzzles at hand.

There are six worlds, and each one builds upon the last by introducing new mechanics. These new techniques include shooting bullets, ricocheting those bullets off walls, and swapping places with moving obstacles. Aiming with the right control stick on a 2D plane leaves much to be desired, especially when the section requires fast reflexes and movement. Despite this setback, the new mechanics are welcome and do not require any of the motion/light sensor gimmicks that the original Metrico had.

Metrico+ provides roughly three hours of gameplay, and most of that playtime will likely be spent on the fairly difficult final world. The game ends just as it’s getting good and complex, leaving you wanting more. There are collectibles in the form of hidden pie charts, but the conditions to obtain those are very esoteric. Since a large portion of this title is learning how each block moves, there is little incentive to play again once you know the solutions. There is a confusing story that tries to be deep, but it’s so vague that replaying the game won’t help you learn anything more about this mysterious mountain climber’s plight.

The playing field looks like an infographic come to life while remaining as minimalistic as possible. To its credit, each world has a different graphical style within the geometric aesthetic, with stages featuring cone mountains, black-and-white cubes, and even glitchy shapes. The soundtrack is a mix of techno and easy listening. Instruments get added and removed as you progress through sections. However, the music loses its impact the longer you’re stuck in a room listening to its repetitious beats.

Metrico+ is an entertaining game that combines business charts and platforming. The cause-and-effect puzzle elements are clever but require too much trial-and-error to be truly intuitive. Still, Digital Dreams has made a unique title that must be experienced to be understood. The game appropriately conveys the message that you can’t figure out solutions to problems just by staring at them. Metrico+ is all about trying something new, taking risks, and hoping that the numbers will work themselves out.

I am a lifelong gamer, having grown up with Nintendo since I was young. My passion for gaming led to one of the greatest moments of my life, my video game themed wedding!