Mercury Hg

Overview

Mercury Hg is a sequel to Mercury Meltdown, a puzzle game in which your objective is to get your blob of mercury to the finish line in a short amount of time while collecting atoms and not losing any mercury along the way.  Mercury Hg refines the formula and renders the game in great HD graphics while allowing players to experience some truly insane levels to the beats of their own music.  For $5 Mercury Hg seems to have a lot going for it in such a small package.

Gameplay

Mercury Hg is not the most deep and intimidating puzzle game on the market, but don't let that fool you into believing it is an easy game.  Players navigate a blob of mercury through different mazes by controlling the mazes pitch and tilt, similar to a ball in a labyrinth maze.  By moving the maze up or down and side to side players move the blob accordingly throughout the maze.  Mercury Hg does a nice job of easing players into the various mechanics, such as color coded puzzles and splitting your blob in two. Each mechanic is nicely taught to players in the Discovery Mode, the game's single player campaign that is set in the format of the periodic table of elements.  These different mechanics help each of the 60 Discovery Mode puzzles feel fresh and different throughout the playthrough.

Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot
Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot

For a game that revolves around moving a blob through a maze there are a lot of different factors to calculate.  There are color coded puzzles, blocks that will split your blog, magnets that will pull in or push away your blob, ramps to jump, holes to navigate around, and so on.  The game never throws all of these roadblocks at the player at once but it does combine some of them in later levels to make truly demonic structures of blob torture.  Luckily players can play through levels as many times as they'd like to in order to gain the four unique atoms each level has.

Players gain an atom for each of four different objectives for every Discovery Mode level.  An atom can be gained for completing a level without losing any mercury, finishing the level in a short amount of time, gathering all of the bonus items in a level, and completing the level in general.  Some levels are easy enough that all four objectives can be completed at once but only masters of mercury will be able to gather all four atoms in the latter levels that throw everything possible at the player.

Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot
Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot

Besides the Discovery Mode, which takes two to three hours to complete, there are Bonus Modes and Challenge Modes as well as ghosts to race.  Players can check out the insane 20 bonus levels unlocked by completing certain objectives in the Discovery Mode or try the truly difficult Challenge Mode that puts certain levels into groups with set criteria for the player to meet.  It all adds up to around six to ten hours of game time depending on whether or not players want to complete every single thing possible.  On top of that players can download ghosts and race against them for an added level of competition.

Another fun feature to the gameplay is the inclusion of music's importance in the game.  The background, and occasionally the playing field bounces to the beat to the music that is playing.  While the generic tracks in Mercury Hg are pretty great the ability to add in your own music and play to it is a nice addition that adds a bit of longevity depending on how important music is to you.

Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot
Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot

Graphics

Mercury Hg is a great looking game that won't win any awards but will satisfy players well enough.  The mercury blob look and animates well throughout the levels and the levels themselves have a great futuristic feel to them.  That feel coupled with the music that moves the level accordingly gives life to the otherwise unspectacular environment.  All of the menus in Mercury Hg are slick and well presented and most objects in the game world have the same aesthetic appeal. Overall there isn't much to say about the look of the game other than it is perfectly suitable for the $5 cost and looks great in high definition.

Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot
Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot

Fun Factor

Mercury Hg is addictive and will easily suck away a few hours if you get into it.  Once you complete the first few tutorial levels its easy to just keep going onto the next level.  With each level comes another four atoms to collect and it becomes a mission to collect the four atoms for each of the 60 levels, and that doesn't even account for challenge and bonus levels.  Mercury Hg is the type of game that players will derive fun from when they feel the need to complete every task and get every collectible possible.  If players really get into the game and want more than the few hours Mercury Hg provides there are also two DLC packs out now as well that feature more levels.

Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot
Mercury hg XBLA Screenshot

Overall

Mercury Hg is a great buy for $5 as it is both fun and challenging, not to mention dirt cheap.  It's a game that is very easy to get into and will certainly drive some crazy with all of the collectibles, but its a drive that'll keep the game going.  Completing each level in the fastest time or with the highest score will keep some playing this game for a good long time while trying to figure out what path is the fastest or most efficient.  It's cheap, it looks good, and it plays well, if you've got $5 and a few hours to kill you really can't go wrong with Mercury Hg.