Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Release date: August 19, 2016
Review Platform: PS4
Metrico+ is a clever game that nevertheless has me feeling pretty cranky. I’ll explain.
First, what is it? It’s a puzzle platformer that’s been described as what would happen if infographics became a game. It’s a series of traversal puzzles. Get from here to there. Where the challenge comes in is in the kinetic nature of the landscapes you’re traversing: An abstract world of platforms and cubes and lines that seem to have a mind of their own.
I need to jump across a series of platforms to get from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen. No problem. Except… when I jump, the platforms to the right keep going higher and higher so that by the time I reach them they’re too high for me to jump to.
The puzzles in this game sometimes require you to take a break, put the controller down, review what you’ve learned, and then try coming at the challenge from another angle. It’s awfully satisfying when you have the light -bulb-over-the-head moment that allows you to make it to the next stage.
The puzzles are in small groups, and new controls and environmental elements keep getting added as the game progresses. So far, so good, right?
So why am I grumpy? Two reasons.
First: The game is unstable. I’d played a good chunk of it when it simply stopped opening. I think it just got tired. It’s still there, in my PS4 game library, but it will. not. open. I spoke to our editor David Kim about it. What should I do? Should I contact the developers? In the end, the decision was to not contact them. Why? Because this is not beta testing. I’m not a game tester, I’m a reviewer. Metrico+ has gone gold, and is now available on Steam and PS4. It should be stable. It’s not. So there’s that.
Second: I’ve had a string of games slip through my transom lately that I feel have no business on the PS4. These are games that have been developed for mobile platforms and then released on consoles and Steam. The most recent one I wrote about was Hit Man Go.
I understand that commerce consists of finding new ways to sell your product to the public, so I can understand why the publishers of mobile games want to port to the big platforms such as Steam, Xbox One and PS4. No one likes leaving money on the table.
The problem is, different games work on different platforms. A game like Metrico+ was designed for mobile, and it looks it. Actually, it came out two years ago (sans the plus sign) for the PlayStation Vita. And I would have liked this game a lot more on the Vita. It looks and feels like a mobile game. It has that pick-up-and-put-down quality many of the best mobile games have.1 Metrico would be perfect as a diversion while waiting in a doctor’s office or for the subway.
But if I’m sitting down in front of my PS4, I want to be playing a real PS4 game, not a port. I want great graphics and sound. I want depth and story. Or at least immersion. I don’t want to waste my time with 2D jumping puzzles when I could be playing Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, The Witcher 3, Abzu, Deus Ex, Life is Strange, or any of a million other actual PS4 titles.
Is this the fault of the developers of Metrico? Arguably not. But as a player, it’s not my fault either.
I recognize that this complaint is an entirely subjective one. You, dear reader, may love the idea of playing a mobile puzzle platformer on your 55 inch flatscreen. If you do, and if you can get through the game without it terminally crashing, you may very well get your $13.99 worth.
1 This is one reason why strategy/tactical RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem and Tactics Ogre work so well on mobile platforms. Hurrah for turn-based gameplay!
+ Clever, unusual puzzle platforming
+ Tackle the game in bite-sized chunks
- Boring graphics for a PS4 game
- Feels like it's trespassing on the PS4