Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Mercury Meltdown Remix
Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment USA
Developer: Ignition Entertainment USA
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:
I have been a fan of the Mercury games since the launch of the PSP, but how well does the handheld puzzle game translate to the consoles?

Mercury Meltdown Remix along with its portable sibling, Mercury Meltdown, take the mechanics introduced in Archer MacLeanís Mercury and adds enough enhancements to make it even better than the original.

From a graphical standpoint, Meltdown takes a different perspective than the original. Where the first game tried to be ultra-realistic, these sequels go for a more artistic and simplified, cel-shaded slant.

Audio-wise, Mercury Meltdown Remix is just like the original. Though the game features new music, the style and feel portrayed by Mercury are still present.

The basic overall gameplay of Mercury Meltdown Remix isn't all that different from Archer McLean's Mercury. Your goal is to tilt the level around so that your blob of liquid metal can make it to the finish line with as little lost as possible. At first, this is a simple task of avoiding holes and weaving your way around obstacles. But as you progress, you will have to learn how to split apart your blob, change their colors and recombine them to form other colors. That all comes from the first game, but Meltdown gives you even more, with the ability to change the state of your mercury so that it can be solid, cold or warm.

The ability to change states also means the developers have thrown in a few more obstacles that can really challenge you. For instance, when in a solid state, you become like a ball bearing and you can ride along rails to other parts of the level. In the cold state, your blob or blobs move slower, but they stick together a little more. And when turned hot, the mercury is faster but harder to control and doesn't stay together quite as well.

The structure of the hub world has changed as well. In the first game, you could not progress to the next world until you completed every level in the current world. This lead to a lot of gamers getting stuck halfway through the game and getting fed up. The developers have changed things around some so that you don't need to pass every level in order to progress, you just need to have saved enough mercury in the levels you have completed to continue. Of course, there are benefits to beating all of the levels.

So that is what makes Mercury Meltdown Remix and Mercury Meltdown different than the first one. How does the console version vary from the PSP title? The biggest difference, aside from the control changes that will be talked about later, is the addition of two new themed labs/worlds in Remix. The other differences include a lack of multilayer capabilities in the console version (the PSP title has wireless battle games) and better all around graphics.

The addition of multiple states in Mercury Meltdown Remix makes for more concepts to juggle and has the potential to make the game harder than its predecessor. But the developers took this into account by making sure you don't have to deal with too many concepts at the same time, well at least not until the later levels.

One of the ways Meltdown has helped to balance out this issue is by only introducing one or two new mechanics per level and having a sprinkling in some levels that require you to use different combinations of these systems, so that when you get to the point where you need to have blobs of different colors in different states, it isn't all that scary.

Game Mechanics:
One of the benefits to Mercury Meltdown Remix appearing on the PS2 is the ability to use a second analog stick. Where the PSP versions of this game used the face buttons to rotate or tilt the camera, Remix gives you much better control and really helped to line up some of the trickier moves that you have to accomplish in this game. Consequentially, the face buttons have no function on the PS2.

Mercury Meltdown Remix is a great game, but I worry how well people who have never played the original title will do since there is a whole new level of mechanics added to this game. If you have a PSP and are seriously interested in getting Remix, then try out the original first, just to get a hang of the idea. If not, then try renting. Either way, puzzle fans will be able to pick up this game and fall in love with it.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.