By: Casey Curran
There are games where I feel I could write a paragraph or two and sum up the entire thing perfectly. Metrico is that kind of game. The controls are very simple, the graphics are simple, and, you guessed it, the gameplay is simple. Oh, and the conclusion is simple: Meh.
Metrico is one of those games that could be played with a Sega Genesis controller. The X button is used to jump, which unfortunately does not always work. It is not a frequent issue, but it’s an issue nonetheless. The circle button is used to restart the section you are currently in, and the shoulder buttons are used to shoot balls. These two elements are both very simple and work very well.
Minimalism is the name of the game with Metrico. The main character is a stick figure, and the platforms are either 3D ones lacking textures or nothing but lines. Yet these lines give the illusion of a 3D shape thanks to the lack of color present during those bits. The colors will usually shift a little as the game goes on, yet the game never goes beyond feeling basic. I would stop short of saying the game looks bland, but its artstyle never really popped out.
Music is presented as though it is a crucial part of the game in the demo, but it never really blends in with the gameplay the same way Lumines or Rez did. The music is mostly techno, which ranges from bland to a little annoying. I spent most of the time either turning the volume low or off.
Metrico decided that we did not have enough indie puzzle platformers and decided to offer its own take on the formula. What hurts the core gameplay more than anything is that the puzzles require more trial and error than critical thinking. Those, “Eureka!” moments that make Portal and Zelda so satisfying are sorely lacking here.
The main issue is how the rules to the game change with each new level. The game is based around moving platforms, each of which have their own unique condition to make them move. Some move while you are in mid-air. Some move when you press the jump button. The game gets creative with what conditions make platforms move, which should have impressed if not for the game’s major flaw.
The flaw is that the game never clearly indicates why until you experiment. The game only offers fractions and degrees to give info on how far the platform has moved, never giving any hints as to why they moved. This brings each new section to a halt, where you have to figure out the new mechanics, a process which is usually more annoying than fun. When the situations are figured out, the solutions are usually easy once everything is reset to normal.
Any challenge is derived, not from tricky puzzle issues, but requiring precision in how much time you spend in mid-air or jumping, which ends up feeling pretty annoying. Every time I was clueless on what to do, meanwhile, critical thinking was never as good an option as just trying every idea I had until something worked. The puzzles never get incredibly frustrating or annoying, but they are not that fun, either.
Metrico is best played with something mindless on television. So, if you have a cartoon or anything with a laugh track that you want to watch it can pass the time well. There are better games for this, such as Rogue Legacy, but if you download the game while it is still free off of PlayStation Plus, then give it a spin. Otherwise, you can skip it.