Developer: UTV Ignition Games / Publisher: UTV Ignition Games / Played on: Playstation 3 / Price: $4.99 / ESRB: Everyone [No Descriptors]
It doesn’t get much simpler than the Mercury series: guide a blob of the titular element through a maze and into the goal. And you know what? It’s pretty damn fun. Mercury Hg brings the PSP puzzler to consoles in glorious HD. At the low price point of $5 Mercury Hg will cure your itch for a new puzzle game, even if the experience is over rather quickly.
Mercury Hg plays just like the PSP originals. You don’t control the actual glob of mercury but instead you control the level itself. Sort of like a labyrinth, by tilting the level itself you move the mercury accordingly. The physics work well and respond appropriately: gentle nudges and forceful pushes allow you to be as accurate as needed when guiding the mercury through each stage. Levels offer up a variety of challenges, too. Bumpy paths make navigation troublesome and if you’re not careful your mercury can spill over the sides of the stage. Some puzzles require the mercury to be a certain color in order to progress, forcing you to find your way to a color station to move forward. More levels charge you with splitting the liquid metal into separate blobs, color one red and one green, then combine them to make yellow in order to reach the goal. Mercury Hg has a simple premise but these challenges spice up what would otherwise be a plain puzzle game.
Mercury Hg has two distinct control schemes for you to use. The simplest and easiest to use is the default style. The left stick tilts the maze while the right stick controls the camera. The d-pad is used to control the music tracks, and the shoulder buttons shift to specific camera angles. Though you’ll have to take some time to get used to the game’s physics, the sticks respond well to your input. The secondary control method utilizes the PS3 Sixaxis controller. By moving and tilting the controller you move the level as you would with the control sticks. This method actual works well, and is a viable control method. I personally preferred the control sticks over the Sixaxis controls, but either method can be recommended.
Graphics and Sound
Mercury Hg, if you couldn’t tell, is a play on Mercury HD (Hg is the symbol for mercury on the periodic table), meaning the visuals have been given an update from the PSP titles. Stages aren’t all that flashy, but the levels and colors look crisp and stand out. The blob of mercury itself looks great, flowing and moving as a liquid should. The soundtrack stands out as a mix of ambient techno and electronic tunes. If that’s not your thing you can import your own playlist of music to play throughout the game. Certain stages respond and change with the music: as the tempo and cadence increase, the stage will pump up and down in rhythm to the beat. While this doesn’t change how the game is played, it is a neat addition that makes your musical choices somewhat important. Overall the game looks good and sounds great.
For five bucks it’s hard to not pass up Mercury Hg. Interesting puzzles, HD graphics, and a great soundtrack make for a one-of-a-kind puzzle experience. Tight controls keep things from being overly frustrating and a couple of extra modes add variety to the mix. Though everything’s over quickly, Mercury Hg still has fantastic puzzles and addictive gameplay. Playing with the actual volatile metal is not a smart idea, but playing Mercury Hg on the PS3 is recommended.