Metrico+ isn’t a simple port, it’s a rebirth.
This post is a supplement to my original Metrico review, concerned primarily with how Metrico+ differs from the original. For more on Metrico, please see my review of the Vita version.
Originally released exclusively for the Playstation Vita in 2014, Metrico was so heavily entwined with the Vita’s hardware that it was difficult to imagine how developer Digital Dreams would replicate it on other platforms. The short answer is that Metrico+ both is and isn’t the game released on Vita just over two years ago.
Its first half remains largely unchanged, though the visuals are now noticeably more robust, to the point your character will even stop at times to take it all in. Metrico’s art direction was always eye-catching, but Metrico+’s enhancements make it outright beautiful. Low-poly mountains and sonically synced environments pulse and bend around pastel colors and bold shadows. Walking through a level and watching it come to life around you and because of you was already awestriking on the Vita, but when played on a larger screen at HD resolutions Metrico+ is finally able to fully encapsulate the player, and the experience is like being inside a piece of digital art. Which, of course, is what Metrico is and always was, but it has never felt as alive as with Metrico+.
But though Metrico+’s visual upgrade is welcome, it is the reinvention of the original’s control scheme that truly elevates the port over its forbearer. On the Vita, Metrico utilized every input method available to it, from touch to tilt to light and all the idiosyncratic spaces between. It was a marvel of hardware specificity, but in execution was not only clumsy but actively uncomfortable. Much as I attempt to champion the neglected Vita (whether out of a legitimate love or mere delusion, I couldn’t say), it’s an incommodious piece of plastic at the best of times. With a game like Metrico, I routinely had to set aside the game to uncramp my hands, as the act of playing for more than 15-20 minutes proved more than mildly painful.
Metrico+ avoids this, of course, by being playable with a standard controller or mouse and keyboard. But though a few of Metrico’s mechanics map cleanly to more traditional controls, others like those utilizing the Vita gyroscope and camera, required a more specialized approach. Rather than attempt to retrofit new controls onto these levels, Digital Dreams simply built new ones in their place. And while that does mean Metrico+ is forced to move away from the original, in the end, the loss of these levels make it a significantly better game and their replacements feature some of the game's most phenomenal puzzles. Gone is the finicky color sensor, replaced with teleportation and ricochet puzzles, which make the most of Metrico's mathematical setting while merging invisibly with puzzles carried over from the original. Metrico+ is the best kind of rerelease because it doesn’t just repackage the original game, it edits it and makes it better.
To some degree, the removal of Metrico’s quirky control scheme has caused Metrico+ to lose a bit of the original's personality and abstracted magic. But when the end result is a game that is incomparably more playable, it is hard to argue for the Vita’s originality. Metrico was always an enjoyable platformer hosted on an unfortunate platform, so even if it took two years and the rebuilding of half the game, it is a welcome sight to witness Metrico+ finally save the original game from itself.
"Quick Thoughts" is a place for micro criticism, abstract musings, and shameless showcasing for games which either don't fit into a full review or I am not yet ready to talk about to that extent, essentially acting as a concise running commentary on whatever I'm currently playing and my thoughts thereof.