Graphs, pie charts and line diagrams… Right, now those uneducated lot have left to read about shooting, murder and flattening mushrooms underfoot, you can settle down with the rest of the 6.07% of gamers still reading this article. Metrico is a game designed to show you just how these usually hidden mechanics control the world of puzzle games in a display of infographic imagery.
You control a character who manipulates the environment through action. Action being running, jumping and… Well, I’m trying to see what else is happening in the rapidly changing trailer but failing miserably. As your hero wanders around, the game charts his movements and by accumulating certain percentages from each directional input, it will morph your surroundings to enable you to navigate the level. This is shown in chart forms appearing in the background or numerical pointers on screen.
For instance, in the trailer, you’ll see the character jump a few times, raising a block incrementally so he can get to a ledge previously too high to reach. It also seems that the speed in which you move determines how much of the landscape alters around you, walking a few steps may move a platform slightly in the direction you need it to be in order to advance whereas running would have it overshoot the mark and leave you stranded until you stop to think about your movement. Developers, Digital Dreams call this, ‘input morphing’.
Describing Metrico to gamers is probably the equivalent of listening to snooker legend, Steve Davis and Victoria Beckham explain the offside rule on Tomorrow’s World, but playing it looks infinitely more fun than you would expect. Just watching the way the world collaborates in unison to your avatar’s actions is slightly hypnotic and shows that there’s more thought behind game mechanics than we expect.
Bounding and cantering along to a soundtrack befitting something from an 80’s science education programme, the soothing tones and blips of yesteryear seem to be part of the process too, rhythmical notes playing in the background as you progress through the ever-increasing challenges.
Still interested? Go and watch the trailer and you’ll see why Metrico might just be a great time-sink for handheld fans.
Metrico will be available for Playstation Vita on August the 5th and 6th for the US and Europe respectively.