The Mercury series has only been around for a few years but has already had an interesting history. The first game Archer Maclean's Mercury debuted alongside the PSP back in September, 2005. The game was originally set to include a tilt sensor, that never quite made it. Last year we got a sequel in Mercury Meltdown and despite being only a minor upgrade the game was still incredibly enjoyable. A port of the game eventually found it's way to the PlayStation 2 and now the game has made its way to the Wii in the form of Mercury Meltdown Revolution. The good news is, Mercury Meltdown Revolution is incredibly fun and perfectly suited to the Wii, we are getting tired of ports making their way to the Wii but in this instance the Wii controller suits the game perfectly.
The premise of Mercury Meltdown is simple. You take control of a blob of Mercury and you have to try and guide you blob of mercury through the hazards that will get in your way. Whereas in the PSP and PlayStation 2 versions you would use the analog stick to tilt the mercury in Revolution you use the Wii remote to tilt the mercury. It works beautifully and makes it seem like Mercury Meltdown Revolution belongs on the Wii. Pleasingly (and surprisingly) the game also utilises support for the classic controller. So if you happen to be playing Revolution for a few hours and you get tired all you have to do is clip the classic controller in and you can use it to control your mercury.
The concept of guiding your mercury from the beginning of the level through to the end may seem quite basic but there are certain objectives along the way. For example, often you'll need to change the colour of your mercury. There are colour changers scattered throughout the levels and often you'll need to split your mercury in halves or thirds, change the colour then mix the colours together to finish the level with a blue or purple coloured blog of mercury. There is a colour changer guide on the top right of the screen for those who are not confident with mixing colours. As if colour changing wasn't enough to worry about there are also plenty of hazards scattered throughout the levels such as air jets, force fields, giant fans, platforms and pendulum. In total there are around thirty objects to contend with in the levels.
At times you'll also need to finish the level with a certain percentage of mercury left, so even though you may be happy to finish the level with just 1% of your mercury remaining, it may not be good enough and you'll need to start the level from the very beginning. Your mercury blob now has four different states as well. The mercury can be normal, hot, cold or solid and will react differently according to what state it is in.
As you play through the single player mode you'll unlock party games. There are five party games in total rodeo, race, metrix, shove and paint. All of the party games can be played in single player or multiplayer and you can use the Wii remote or a classic controller for the party games. In the rodeo party game you need to hang on as long as you can whilst a tray tips your mercury around, not helping proceedings is the giant fan that wants to see you off the tray. The race party game is self explanatory, you'll just need to race your mercury around a circuit. Metrix is a puzzle challenge. In metrix you need to line up coloured blobs to form a row of three. The shove party game requires you to "shove" your mercury as close as possible to a target. In the paint party game you mercury leaves behind a coloured trail and the objective is to try and cover more of an area with your paint trail than your opponent. Hidden away in the extras section is the playground. The playground puts you in a circular dome full of random objects and is a great way to practice, it's unlikely you'll return to the playground all that often though.
The game runs at a smooth frame rate and the levels are intricately designed. It does feel a little bit like somebody has mixed together twenty different colours and dropped them on a science lab. The cel shaded look will either be despised or loved but personally we thought it made the game look a little more unique. Just like the visuals the sound is very upbeat. The sound only plays in the background and loops pretty frequently, but it doesn't seem like much of a focus was placed on the audio.
The single player mode is quite lengthy with several unlockable hidden labs. The party games are entertaining as well and can be quite a bit of fun in multiplayer. This is also the type of game that you can pick up and play for only a few minutes at a time, so it's quite probable the game will get a significant amount of playtime. Later on the levels become extremely challenging as well, so this isn't the type of game you're going to finish in one sitting.
We're the first to complain about unjustified Wii ports. Third party publishers were certainly caught off guard by the runaway success of the Wii and this has meant several very average Wii titles. Mercury Meltdown Revolution however is not one of them. The Wii controls suit the title perfectly and it feels like the game belongs on the Wii. With an extensive and addictive single player mode and some thoroughly enjoyable party games for multiplayer gaming Mercury Meltdown Revolution comes highly recommended for those who want a decent puzzle game on the Wii.