E3 2014 Impressions: Metrico

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Metrico is a puzzle platformer that is inspired by infographics, pie charts, and bar graphs. Now that concept might scare those that found the best sleep of the day came in math class at school, but when you see the game in action it is a thing of beauty. 

Metrico uses a very basic, but stylized art style that might be compared to something like Echochrome or Sound Shapes. The game uses basic colors and a 2.5D world as you navigate a character silhouette around the platforms. The key to the game is everything that the character does has an impact on the environment. Examples of this are running left to right can swing a platform forward and back or jumping can cause a platform to rise or fall. So as you approach an obstacle it is up to you to figure out what actions you can do to transform the level in order to solve the puzzles. The game begins to add more elements as you go and one way it does this is by adding portals that work like checkpoints, once you reach a portal it can become your new spawn point and the level resets. This can make the overall puzzle breakdown into multiple sections as multiple portals can appear in a single level. This element also helps you undo any mistakes because with a hit of a button you respawn at the last portal you checked into, giving you a fresh start at tackling that point in the level. This element helps ease the player into the game’s more complex puzzles while also acting as a way of adding a little more complexity.
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The concept and level design are well executed using little to no control indicators or directions, I was dropped into a level to figure things out for myself and after a few seconds it became clear on how things worked and when it clicked for me it became a matter of executing the specific movements needed to finish an area or level. The concept works and does not require much direction as it is easy to notice how a jump affects the environment or what a run does and with that the simplicity of the design makes the game very approachable. The puzzle design using these mechanics varied in difficulty and complexity which required really stepping back from time to time and looking closely at the world as a whole to see how your movements changed things and when a puzzle finally clicks for you it is a thing of brilliance as a smile or “aha” moment happens and you start putting the pieces together.
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I spent 30 minutes in total with Metrico and in that time I had many “aha” moments and with the game’s hypnotic soundtrack it was difficult to put down. After a week filled with big budget titles and the big circus that is E3, this puzzle platformer inspired by infographics stuck with me and was something I wanted to play again as soon as possible.  
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Metrico is expected to release for the PlayStation Vita possibly before the end of the summer.
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