Back when I was a wee lad in school, there was one subject I hated with a passion: Maths. Couldn’t do it. Numbers were the bane of my life. Pie charts? Piss off. Graphs? I’d rather have detention – and I did thanks to not completing maths homework…
So it’s unusual that some 15 years later I’ve found myself in front of the TV playing a game that, when broken down to its basic, is all about maths. It’s not even subtle about it. The game’s worlds are made up of minimalist graphs, charts and equations and the gameplay makes you follow the rules of numbers. Kind of. You won’t have to divide, subtract or multiply, but you will have to use your noggin to get by.
The first world is simple enough with some basic rules that you’ll quickly pick up on: walking left may make a platform rise, while walking right may make another fall. It’s simple platforming with a twist. You’ll need to figure out what your actions will have on the game world, and once you’ve gotten the hang of what’s what, you’ll be dandy.
Well, no, you won’t be. As quickly as you figure out the rules of one world, you’re thrown to the next. Each world becomes progressively more difficult and the challenges become a little more varied. In the first world’s levels, you basically just run and jump around to get the job done, but in the latter stages of the game you’ll get the ability to reset/time-warp, fire projectiles. However, with more options comes more possibilities. The puzzles become much harder and I found myself swearing excessively on more than one occasion.
The controls work well and it’s never a bother to translate your actions to the screen – something that was a royal pain in the arse with the PS Vita edition that released a long while ago. The inputs are very simple, so I’m happy with that; the less buttons I have to remember, the better.
There’s a story of sorts to accompany the mind-boggling puzzles and pie-charts, but it’s fairy redundant. Cut scenes are kept to a minimum and their presentation is just as simple as the rest of the game. That’s not a bad thing, by the way, as Metrico+’s art direction is superb. The graphics are clean-cut and concise in their aim: to keep you focused on the task at hand. It’s nice how the backgrounds blend, grow, shrink, and change with every step you take, and their minimalist design really do work with the concept of the game. Think of it as an extension of a maths textbook: there’s a few nice diagrams to look at when you get stuck at the puzzles.
The visuals are impressive, even if they aren’t mind-blowing next-gen displays of technical know-how, but the audio is also just right. There’s no overbearing techno-pop, nor are there any heavy metal drum solos, just tranquility throughout. It’s actually rather calming, not that it helped keep my rage in check…
Metrico+ isn’t a particularly long game, though if you’re a hunter of trophies then you’ll probably get a good dozen hours or so. With Metrico+ there’s also a new speed-run mode that’s unlocked once you’ve cheated your way to the end by using an online guide. Er, I mean, once you’ve legit completed every world… It’s a nice addition and those who’re into speed-running will appreciate the extra playtime with the game, if they haven’t given up on it by then.
It’s a hard game to recommend. It’s a platformer/puzzler that really does sit inside its own little weird genre. If you’re a fan of having your intelligence tested, I’d say go for it, but if you’re a simple man/lady/other that doesn’t have the patience for such puzzles, perhaps it won’t be for you.
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