Publisher: Digital Dreams
Developer: Digital Dreams
I feel like Metrico should be better than it is. Or, at the very least, I feel like I should like it more than I do. Whichever way you slice it, though, the conclusion is the same: this game is kind of disappointing.
The problem, I think, is that for such a stylized game, Metrico is awfully bland. On the one hand, it's got a really neat hook — it's a platformer, but one that tries to incorporate charts and graphs and math! — but in practice, that just ends up meaning you're playing a minimalist puzzle-platformer.
Not that there's anything inherently wrong with being a minimalist puzzle-platformer. Indeed, considering the sheer volume of retro-inspired platformers we've seen for the last little while, it's kind of nice to play one that doesn't have all kinds of nods to the '80s and early '90s. Where so many other games are 8- and 16-bit odes to developers' childhoods, Metrico is all cool colors and sharp lines. There may be a hint of very early gaming in some of the designs — early as in, like, Atari, not Sega vs. Nintendo — but generally, this game is resolutely modern.
The thing is, there's often not a huge distance between "cool and modern" and "cold and antiseptic", and after awhile, Metrico starts to feel like it belongs in that latter category. The same goes for the music, too; I'm not saying I want chiptunes in every single platformer I play, but at the same time, I can't say I'm very drawn in by Metrico's sparse, desolate soundscapes. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love my music being all chilly and forbidding, but there's usually a limit to how much of that I can take — and that limit is usually around the length of, say, an Autechre album, not a whole game.
It should come as no surprise that a game that looks and sounds cold and clinical could have its gameplay described in the same way. Every section of every level feels more like a math problem to be solved than a part of a living, breathing game (no offense to people who love math intended). And again, while that's not a bad thing — you could arguably describe much of Portal in the same way — after awhile you want something that feels a little more alive. I mean, it's neat how developers Digital Dreams managed to create a game that incorporates so many of the Vita's various inputs, but that appreciation is more from a technical perspective than anything else.
In fact, that line pretty much sums up the whole game: it's easy to appreciate Metrico on an intellectual level and it's easy to admire what the game is doing on a technical level. But there's a world of difference between admiring a game and loving it, and, unfortunately, Metrico falls very clearly on one side of that divide.