Recently delayed until mid-June, Mercury Meltdown Revolution is the first game in Ignition Entertainment's popular puzzle series to support the motion-sensor-powered gameplay that was featured in early prototype versions of the original PlayStation Portable game. That the Nintendo Wii's unique controller is well suited to a game in which you manipulate objects by tilting the world goes without saying at this point, so we wasted no time putting the console to work when we received a near-finished version recently.
In case you're not familiar with the Mercury series, your goal on each puzzle is to guide a blob or multiple blobs of the titular liquid metal through complex, labyrinthine levels to an exit or exits. It's not entirely unlike Super Monkey Ball and games of that ilk, except that mercury is much more challenging to work with because of its ever-changing shape and tendency to break up into small pieces after colliding with an obstacle. Mercury's unique properties are put to good use in all of the puzzles that you'll be tasked with solving, and the challenges you'll be facing are so varied that you'll rarely have an opportunity to get comfortable. There are puzzles that require you to work with different colored blobs, puzzles where the temperature of your blob comes into play, puzzles in which enemies attempt to eat your blob, and puzzles that require a good deal of problem solving in addition to skills with a Wii Remote, to name but a few.
To a newcomer, the sight of almost any Mercury Meltdown level can be a daunting one, but we're pleased to report that the game's tutorial does a great job of familiarizing you with both the control setup and a number of the more common hazards and environmental features that you'll be encountering in the game proper. The tutorial comprises eight levels that pose very little challenge, and as you play through them, you'll be introduced to door-opening pressure switches, sticky (slow) and slippery (fast) floors, paint shops, heaters, coolers, helpful cubic characters named Stan and Huebrick, and evil mercoids. You'll also get an explanation of the onscreen displays that are used to time your run and to show you what percentage of your original mercury blob is still in play. Losing mercury over the edge of or down through a hole in the current level is a hazard in almost every puzzle that we've completed to date, and since it's possible to complete many of the puzzles with only a fraction of your mercury remaining, the challenge of getting all of it to the finish goes some way to adding replay value.
Achieving the highest possible score in Mercury Meltdown Revolution puzzles requires you to not only complete them as quickly as possible without losing mercury, but also go out of your way to collect bonus items en route to the finish. These bonuses are worth a significant 2,000 points each (compared to 1,000 for every second you are below the par time and 500 for every percentage point of mercury that you finish with), and they're also needed to unlock bonus content, such as different skins for your blob, secret levels, and party games with names like rodeo, race, metrix, shove, and paint. Collecting many of the bonus items involves straying from the most apparent route through a puzzle, and figuring out how to reach them is often just as challenging as actually doing so.
The complex nature of many of the puzzles in Mercury Meltdown Revolution means that the camera is occasionally forced to zoom out farther than we'd like, or it struggles to give you an optimal view of the blob that you're working with. It can be zoomed and rotated manually, though, so these problems are easily avoided if you can handle messing with the directional pad and 1 and 2 buttons without losing control of your mercury. We look forward to bringing you a full review of Mercury Meltdown Revolution closer to its release.