Metrico + — Digital Dreams — PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Steam — August 23, 2016 — $13.99
Puzzle games are a guilty pleasure of mine. Not because I’m embarrassed to admit that to people, but I hardly go out of my way to find and play them. I’ve always loved the challenge of solving puzzles, but my passion for gaming is dominated by so many other genres that I rarely have the time to go outside my comfort zone. When I played an early build of “Metrico +” at PSX 2015, I was sold on this unique vision of a what a puzzle platformer can be, and now that I’ve been able to dig deeper into it’s world, I’ve been grinning from ear to ear.
Every video game we play is made using mathematics, but “Digital Dreams” took that to heart and made a puzzle platformer that’s a visual representation of mathematics, graphs, percentages, geometric shapes, infographics, etc. On paper, the concept might sound boring if not weird, but they’ve managed to make everything work in unison, while at the same time making it interesting and occasionally frustrating. Every movement — whether I’m walking left or right, jumping or shooting a line from my virtual protractor — affects the level’s layout in various ways. It’s a beautiful dystopian world full of mind numbing puzzles, breathtaking colors, and geometrically distracting backgrounds that change with every action. And like so many great puzzle platformers before it, there’s a great deal of trial and error. Whenever I completed a small section of its various levels, I found myself clapping and cheering like I was celebrating for my favorite sports team.
Primary complaints about “Metrico” was the frustrating touch controls and janky camera inclusion, so “Digital Dreams” decided to scrap touch controls completely and move everything to the sticks and buttons of a controller. With the exception of trying to aim my protractor to destroy objects, the more fundamental control scheme has helped immensely, where the only frustration comes from player error and the puzzles themselves. On top of the better controls and improved visuals, the game handles load times efficiently and the frame rate stayed consistent throughout, save the few times I used the PS4’s quick menu. Needless to say, these refinements make “Metrico +” feel like it’s half remake, half reimagining of “Metrico”.
One of the most curious aspects of this game is how vague the story is. I’m solving all these mathematical and geometrical puzzles, then ending up inside a void and making a decision between two doors that will transform an appendage and unlock new gameplay mechanics.
I’m not entirely sure what these things represent, but I can’t help but be intrigued to figure out what’s really going on. Even though I haven’t completed the game, the entirety of my puzzle solving adventure has made every small accomplishment that much more cheerful. The crew at “Digital Dreams” have created an incredibly unique and intelligent puzzle platformer and I can’t imagine the headaches that came from putting this game together the first or even the second time.