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Metrico review: Pie-charts and Vita-twirling

Metrico Screenshot - Metrico

Metrico is a game about thinking outside of the box. From the first chapter to the very last puzzle in the game, it continually surprised me with challenges that unraveled themselves in layers. The visual style is centered around a theme of infographics, bar graphs, and pie charts, almost ironically. It’s odd that a game with such specific, structured visuals had me doing so many strange things to solve its puzzles.

As a Playstation Vita exclusive, Metrico makes full use of just about every inch of the handheld. Everything from the rear touch screen, to the gyroscope tilting and camera get some amount of use. Often, the first step in a puzzle is to simply figure out what does what. You may find yourself holding the Vita upside down to extend a platform, running and jumping across a gap while contorting your hands to fit the flipped control scheme.

For some the use of these Vita “gimmicks” will be a turn-off, and to those people, I recommend avoiding Metrico. For myself, despite hating the use of rear-touch and camera/light gimmicks in games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, Metrico’s use of these features always felt fine. I never struggled with them, and instead found that it added to the unconventional puzzle logic.

Metrico

The best puzzles in Metrico always go beyond what you expect. There’s the initial stage of figuring out whether a platform moves when you jump, tilt the Vita, kill yourself, or aim the Vita camera at a light source, to name a few examples. From there it’s a matter of getting everything into the ideal position to navigate your character from one side of the screen to the other. Even then, often you’ll get everything right only to discover that your character is in the wrong spot or can’t jump across a gap without screwing up the positioning of a platform. It asks you to go back to the drawing board and perfect your solution in a way that’s far more satisfying and thought-provoking than most puzzle games.

I’d love to heap endless praise on Metrico for all the brilliant “a-ha” moments it provided, but it does falter in other areas. Despite the Vita exclusivity, the game struggles to run, loading in content at a stuttery pace that can be really disruptive. What’s worse, it has more than its fair share of odd glitches, with some puzzle elements failing to work as they should without reloading your save.

Metrico

You know those times when you’re so stumped in a game that you’re sure there must be some kind of glitch? I can’t count the number of times I was stuck in a game and suspected a glitch only to realize I was the dumb one. Metrico presents both scenarios, with puzzles so hard that you’ll think they’re broken, and yet sometimes they are. It left me reloading any puzzle I spent too long on because I was worried I was wasting my time on a glitch. Hopefully this all gets patched up, but as of now this is a nearly unforgivable problem.

Metrico managed to rise above its glitches, presenting a must-play experience for any Vita-owner and puzzle lover who doesn’t mind twirling their console in their hands. It may be a bit short-lived, clocking in at only a few hours, but it’s absolutely a case of quality over quantity. Metrico might not have any profound statements to make, but it’s puzzle design comes from the heart, and that’s pretty special.

Enjoy random thoughts about the latest games, the Sega Saturn, or the occasional movie review? Follow me @JoeDonuts!

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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