How steady is your hand?
As I said to a friend, “Hmm I’m not sure what to make of this one… On one hand I’m sitting there thinking ‘Why am I playing this?’, but on the other hand I can’t STOP playing it…”
Mercury Meltdown Revolution is quite a bizarre little puzzler. The aim of the game is to guide a blob of mercury around maze-like levels which grow ever more complex in their design. Along the way you will find a multitude of objects that you will more than likely need to interact with in order to progress, as well as friends that can help you and enemies that must be avoided.
Mercury’s controls are amazingly simple and make good use of the Wii-mote controller. All you have to do is hold it on its side with the buttons facing up and tilt it about to change the angle of the ground and make your blob move accordingly. You can also use the D-pad to rotate the camera angle, the 1 & 2 buttons to zoom in and out, and the – button to enter free look mode where you can tilt the controller to view the whole level. Easy.
On one hand I’m sitting there thinking ‘Why am I playing this?’, but on the other hand I can’t STOP playing it…
As far as sound and graphics go there’s not much to speak of. I was initially disappointed with the graphics to be honest but as I got further into the game I really stopped noticing how simple they are as the game really takes a hold of you. Sound-wise it’s a bit boring and repetitive but again, you do get drawn in to the gameplay so it isn’t much of an issue.
The brief tutorial provided is recommended not to get used to the controls so much as to learn what you will be facing. If it were a case of getting from start to finish with no obstacles what fun would that be? You often find that you need to re-spray your blob in one of the “paint shops” before you can pass through a certain coloured gate or activate a coloured switch. Further still you often need to use the on-screen colour chart to work out what colours will mix to make another before deliberately splitting your blob and spraying each part a different colour before combining them again, and let me tell you controlling two blobs at once isn’t easy…
Levels are represented by test-tubes in the menu, and when you complete a level the test tube will fill with the amount of mercury you saved. In addition to just navigating the level, there are also bonuses to collect along the way, and a “par” time for the level. You don’t need to complete the level within this time but you get extra points for every second under the par time meaning a hefty bonus if you can find a shortcut. The bonuses, naturally, also give you a points bonus when collected. Most importantly though, if you are able to collect all the bonuses on the level in one go AND you have the top score for the level AND you managed to save all the mercury you earn a “gold cap” for your test tube, which helps you towards some unlocks. This adds enormous replay value to the game as you do not need to earn all three criteria in the one try, but can opt to play multiple times to concentrate on each one separately.
Apart from unlocking new levels as you go, the main unlockable items are the Party Games. Sadly these aren’t really multiplayer games at all, although you can pass the controller around to try and beat each other’s scores. So far I have to admit I’ve only unlocked two of these – “Rodeo” and “Race” – and whether you are at a party or not they are definitely worth playing and great fun as they are so completely different from the main game. Also unlockable are hidden levels and labs and “skins” for your blob.
My first comment really sums the game up. It is hugely addictive even if it doesn’t look or sound stunning, and any initial worries are soon forgotten as you try and twist your mind around the next level you face. With over 150 levels to play through, plus party games, it should keep you going for a long time so it’s worth a look.
The Bad: No multiplayer, Can be frustrating