I can't pretend to know how hard it must be to design a puzzle game. You have to constantly walk a thin line between two extremes, trying carefully not to make obstacles too simple to solve (and therefore unrewarding), or too difficult, resulting in brain-busters that might bring players' progress to a full stop. What I do know is that playing Metrico is a ton of fun--until you get stuck. In that moment, you suddenly forget all of Metrico's unique visuals and mechanics, because all you can focus on is your frustration.
Every aspect of Metrico's presentation is clean and simple. The atmosphere here hinges entirely on the creative backdrops, which look like giant infographics that react to your every move. Its an appealing look, which manages to make the mundane pie charts and bar graphs that occupy all the puzzles look like space-age technology. When you're not admiring the environments, your ears will enjoy the great synth-heavy tunes and subtle rhythms that sound like the score to a 1980s instructional video.
At the onset, you simply pick a gender, watch your new avatar drop into a completely blank level, and try to figure out what to do next. Levels boil down to a progression from point A to point B, as you're constantly looking for ways to proceed from left to right. Running and jumping is intuitive; the tricky part is figuring out how to manipulate your surroundings using the touchscreen, rear touchpad, and camera to create a path to the next puzzle.
Not once does Metrico nudge you in the right direction, and there's no in-game hint system to help you out of a jam. Knowing that you're completely on your own is refreshing at first, and you feel like you have the freedom to decipher solutions at your own pace. Unlike some puzzle games, Metrico never feels like it's insulting your intelligence. That's encouraging when you're cruising through puzzles right out of the gate--but once you actually start wishing you had a helping hand (besides online guides), Metrico unwillingness to assist you will feel more like a weakness than a strength. A good puzzle game gives you other options when you can't figure out a solution to the challenge at hand, letting you come back to the difficult obstacle later with fresh eyes. But if you get hit a roadblock in Metrico, you're literally stuck; there's nothing else to do and nowhere else to go.