September 12, 2013 7:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
The Vita has a ton of options for control, and Digital Dreams means to make use of all of them with its upcoming puzzler Metrico. My quick jaunt with the game at PAX Prime didn't reveal all of the game's secrets, but I feel confident that the studio is going to make great use of each type of input based on the puzzles I played.
Metrico is being billed as an infographics game, so the stark visuals are highly stylized. Graphs, charts and other types of visual aids can pop up in the background depending on your input, but they also provide obstacles for you to conquer as well. I honestly never knew I'd have so much fun climbing around on a pie chart.
Completing a puzzle isn't as simple as running from the left side of the screen to the right and jumping over pits, though. Sometimes moving forward on the ground will raise a platform out of reach. Experimentation may reveal that jumping and moving forward in the air won't have the same effect, keeping the bar at a scalable height, allowing you to progress. Another has the player running backward then jumping forward to lower a platform with the backward jumps, which felt a lot like operating a crank. Solutions are usually simple, but not readily apparent. The game is constantly playing with your perception by changing how the world interacts with the controls, lending complexity and variety to what look like simple tasks.
Eventually you'll gain an ability to fire bullets, which can be aimed with the rear touch panel. This allows you to kill enemies, the death of which and order they die can have effects on the game world as well. Digital Dreams has ideas about how to use the system's camera as well, and may require players to color match what the lens sees with the hue displayed on screen. They may also use it to detect how much or how little light is in a room and translate that into the game as well.
While the answers are never straight forward, I always felt like the solution was a hair's breadth from my view. I just needed to keep looking. And sure enough, playing around enough got me where I needed to go each time. Avoiding frustration is an important intangible for a puzzle game to get right, which the first two worlds of Metrico certainly do. Let's hope it extends across each of the ten nine-level worlds. Super sleuths not satisfied by mere level completion can find hidden collectables strewn throughout the game. Expect this Vita puzzler around the first quarter in 2014.