He was quiet, serene, and before he handed me a PS Vita out of his bag, he gave me a delicious Dutch Stroopwafel and, like a young wizard, practically whispered to me that the game must first be played on my own, without commentary. I’ll admit I was already a little pre-excited when I realized I was playing THE Metrico, but it proceeded to blow me away anyway, so there you go.
You may remember Digital Dreams and their game, Metrico, from the bizarre trailer they showed at GDC as part of the Sony presentation. Metrico is a visually unique game based around the growing trend of super well-designed info and motion graphics. You control a silhouette-type character, whose actions are measured in various ways by all sorts of different graphs and charts.
Some are obvious, such as vertical bar graphs that grow as you walk. Some are less so, like the horizontal graphs that measure the time you spend in the air without jumping.
It sounds a little confusing at first, but all the graphs and charts also double as platforms and puzzles that you’re tasked with solving. Once you grasp the concept, the gameplay dynamic of reading an infographic becomes infused with the wonders of discovery, and you’ve got one of the most unique, engaging and enjoyable experiences I’ve seen on the Vita.
Granted, the version I played was a pre-alpha build, and Metrico is also one of the first games developed in Unity for the Vita. There was no music, but even then, the experience was positively captivating. It’s elegant gaming.
Thijmen opened up a bit once I played through the game. He explained that Digital Dreams is already three years old, but Metrico, their first major release, is sort of a culmination of those years, which were spent designing Flash games and attempting exciting passion projects that ended up too large for three guys to do on their own. They’ve always loved puzzles, and they seem to have a very valuable eye for beauty in unconventional places. As Thijmen puts it, this is a relatively new concept in the world of game design.
“We have always looked at other forms of art. Movies and books are often named as an inspiration for video games, but there is so much happening in fields such as product design or motion graphics, for instance, as well, that it would be a waste not to draw inspiration from them.”
Now, with Metrico, they’ve signed a pub fund deal with Sony, and they’re taking their first major steps toward their final goal of creating wonderful unique games that are mentioned in the same breath as stuff like Braid or Limbo.
After spending about 45 minutes with the game, it seems to me that Metrico indeed has the potential to get them there. I can’t think of a more exciting PS Vita game in the works right now. In the meantime, as you can’t get your own grubby mitts around the game, just check out this rad trailer again.