Games for Lunch: Mercury Meltdown: Revolution
Release Date: Oct. 16, 2007
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site
0:00 I played the PSP version of this game a few years back and was moderately impressed. I'm hoping the Wii's motion controls can really put this puzzler over the top.
0:01 The Wii Menu screen for this title has a bouncing yellow smiley face over a bass jazz groove. Ten bonus points right off the bat!
0:02 The game shows a computer mainframe-style green computer prompt, then commences with a normal loading screen, then the regular "don't throw the Wii remote" warning. Weird.
0:03 Tutorial time. Tilt the Wii remote to tilt the stage, and your blob of mercury with it. The clock turns to a sad face if you're too slow. Awww...
0:05 Teleporters, pressure switches, etc. Nothing I haven't seen before, although it all looks a lot better on the big TV screen. Very stylish black outlines around all the major set pieces.
0:07 Conveyor belts and color-changing stations make a return. Maybe I should have skipped the tutorial...
0:09 I love the fluid dynamics behind the mercury itself. It really acts like liquid, sloshing and breaking as it rolls with realistic momentum.
0:11 I push some blocks, navigate around some mercury-magnets, and the tutorial is done. At least it was quick. There are a lot of good set pieces here... Let's see what they do with 'em.
0:12 There's a story? "Welcome to the Astro Lab," says a computer console. It shows some random images of a laser and a planet, then goes out. Perhaps "story" was too strong a word...
0:13 Color Mixing 101: I have to split the blob into two pieces, then spray one blue and one red, then combine them to make purple. I always hated this part of Art class in school.
0:14 There are only 16 stages? And the first one took me all of a minute? I really hope they get harder, or that there are more stages to unlock. Or both...
0:15 Stage 2 took literally five seconds to spray myself yellow and roll back to the goal. Not a good sign.
0:18 Stage 3 is another coloring puzzle, but with a twist... I have to transform back to silver before I finish. It's still pretty simple. So far, I'm really liking the tilt-the-remote controls and the funky, light techno music.
0:19 Stage 4 is full of pushers and smashers and such. The fluid dynamics get shown off as half my blob gets pushed unceremoniously into the void. I love the sound effect that accompanies this.
0:21 Stage 5 is the first substantial one, with a few real hazards and some tough, narrow paths. Still kind of short, though.
0:26 Stage 8 requires a light touch to navigate through the icy and precarious paths. My first real challenge.
0:28 More tough stuff in Stage 9... I lose 75 percent of my blob to unforgiving ramps. I'm glad they're turning up the heat relatively quickly.
0:32 Stage 10 is reminiscent of Super Monkey Ball, with curving, half-walled paths and a lot of places to fall off. It takes a bunch of retries, but my last attempt is a good one. The camera is starting to get in the way, though... Luckily it's easy to adjust with the face buttons. I'm still really enjoying this soundtrack.
0:34 A fun, steep conveyor belt puzzles for Stage 11. I'm really enjoying the stage designs now that they're not treating me like a baby.
0:35 The fluid dynamics might be a little too good... I keep losing bits of myself just trying to fit through normal passageways. Who knew mercury was so fragile?
0:36 "Congratulations. You have unlocked the Bio Lab." I knew 16 stages seemed to short. I jump ahead to the newly unlocked stages.
0:38 The first bio lab stage reminds me of Marble Madness, with some oddly undulating floors. The soundtrack drops out once the level is finished... odd.
0:40 I'm intrigued by the constant bonus items floating in mid-air above voids. How the hell am I supposed to get those?
0:45 Another somewhat complex color-changing level. I require three retries because I forget to change back to silver before finishing. Whoops.
0:47 The mercury will fit through any crack... even the one between the floor and the moving platform. Whoops again. Now that I think of it, the falling mercury sound also reminds me of Marble Madness.
0:51 The first genuinely confusing level requires a lot of navigation through hidden tunnels and using blowers to jump over walls. I figure out a way through, but not before losing 63 percent of my mercury to the tough jumps. They're not pussyfooting around anymore.
0:53 It's hard to split your attention between two different pools of mercury. Hard, but necessary. Like coal mining.
0:59 My last stage before the break has the mark of good puzzle design: It's really hard if you're greedy and really easy if you're not. Getting the bonuses means managing momentum and direction in some interesting ways.
Would I play this game for more than an hour? Definitely.
Why? Great controls, great level design, great concept, great soundtrack. Great!
This column was based on a retail copy of the game rented from GameFly.
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