Bar graphs. Pie charts. Histograms. These are things that should be kept in math class, not in videogames. Digital Dreams, a new videogame developer, tried to make the newest trend of information graphics (i.e., infographics) into a fun platformer for the PlayStation Vita called Metrico. Its success, however, may not be as high up in the charts. No pun intended.
Metrico has no plot. The game starts by asking whether the player wants to play as a man or woman and drops that avatar into the world of infographics. The gameplay has a very experiential nature to it; it does not give the player much hints as how to progress except for a short tutorial of the newest aspect at the start of each world. It leaves the player to figure out how to work each graph by jumping, running, shooting, or killing enemies.
Each world consists of a few levels of graphs that the player has to manipulate in order to progress to the next level. There are a few ways to progress to each level, but the game is mostly a puzzle, which means a simple mistake can lead to restarting the level. While the game is short with only six worlds with around eight levels each, the game can take longer to complete because mistakes are so easy to make when there are really no hints as to complete the puzzles. However, for very apt players of puzzle games (or resourceful by using a guide), the game can feel very short and boring.
Running, jumping, shooting, and/or killing will manipulate the infographics.
Players should not expect fireworks and fanfare at the end of each world (and completing some very difficult puzzles). What does await at the end is a choice to go with a very vague statistic: two percentages of a whole. Players can then decide to go with the popular or the unpopular vote, and whichever they choose increases that statistic. The statistics at the end of each world really serves no purpose in the game and may give players an underwhelming feeling of accomplishment.
Speaking of accomplishments, trophy hunters, or PlayStation players who like to complete all aspects of a game, will get frustrated. Many of the trophies consist of playing the whole world with some type of restriction, whether it may be jumping a certain number of times to never hitting the restart button. Failing to do so, means restarting the whole world again, which means having to sit around three minutes for the world to fully load as the game is graphically intense with seamless transitions to each level.
Making a simple mistake may mean restarting the whole world for those who want to achieve everything.
Metrico, however, is a very aesthetically pleasing game. The developers play around with colors and light in each world, and it creates worlds that have individual themes. The game also utilizes all functionality of the Vita, from its motion sensor to its cameras although they are introduced to the game as the players progress. At one point toward the end of the game, there is at least one level where all of the Vita’s functionality must be used to complete it.
The game is beautiful even when it is black and white.
All in all, Metrico successfully paints a eye-catching game utilizing infographics, but sadly fails to create an innovative puzzle platformer. The game should be meant for a rental, but as of right now, Metrico is only purchased digitally. If this game is available with the advent of PlayStation Now, that would be the perfect time to play it.