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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Puzzle

 

Publisher

Ignition Entertainment

 

Developer

Ignition Banbury

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q1 2006

 

 

- Fun control scheme

- Interesting concept

- 200+ maps

 

 

- Visually dull

- Generic audio

- No multiplayer to speak of

- Gets repetitive after a while

 

 

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Mercury Meltdown Remix

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

Mercury Meltdown Remix (MMR) is a tough title to sum up. Itís a strange concept right from the get go: You have a blob of mercury on a free-floating Ďboardí with dozens of elements to it. There are devices that change your color to get through color-specific blockades, block doors, scoot your mercury blob off the map, etc. Your goal is to get from the start point to the finish point as fast as possible, losing as little mercury as possible.

 

mercury meltdown remix          mercury meltdown remix

 

MMR is a case of simple concepts with smooth execution becoming addictive. The real quirk is the control scheme. You donít actually control your mercury blob; you control the game board. You tilt it to varying degrees and watch your mercury slide along with it. You have to be careful, though. Itíll lose small blobs as it goes along, and if you tilt it too far itís easy to fly off the edge of the map, and lose. Getting the hang out of the controls is relatively simple. Youíll have a working grasp of it after just a minute on the first map. But mastering them is another story Ė I canít honestly claim to have done that after playing through the vast majority of the

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available maps. Itís the times that you just barely miss making a corner, or get caught in the wrong mechanism by little more than a hair, that will keep you coming back to MMR.

 

The biggest problem with this game is that the novelty wears off too soon. Yes, there are 200 plus maps, and you can clear a good 

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number of them without getting too bored with things. But by the time I got to map 130 or so I was just marching along, hoping things got changed up somehow. I was playing because I was hoping it became fun again, not because it still was; which, in a game that boasts its large number of maps as a big selling point, is a real problem. In fact, it is largely the reason the score for this game is so low. Itís not that I didnít enjoy playing it Ė itís that their just is not enough content to justify a higher score. What MMR does, it does very well; unfortunately, it doesnít do all that much.

 

This is also illustrated in its lack of neat extra features. There are no multiplayer modes to speak of whatsoever. Personally, I think a two-player racing mode would have fit in really nicely. Give each blob a separate board to play on, perhaps even randomized maps, and see who can finish first with the most mercury. But no such feature exists. This was probably the most disappointing factor for me in MMR since it seems like itís perfect for multiplayer. It probably could have found a niche as a party-game if the developers had put in a few multiplayer modes, but I guess it just wasnít meant to be.

 

The only extra feature thatís included, that is, a feature thatís not necessary for the core gameplay, is the ghost mode. This is where a Ďgrayed outí ghost of your best run through the level plays at the same time you do. It helps to compare how youíre doing while running through a given course if youíre going for the gold on each level. This is pretty standard stuff and kind of handy to have, but itís a lone tree in the desert.

 

mercury meltdown remix          mercury meltdown remix

 

Visually, Iíve never hidden the fact that I donít much care for cell-shading. This is always an obstacle for me when reviewing cell-shaded games since I know there are folks out there that just love it; and if youíre one of them, then youíll like the look of MMR. But I donít. If all weíre going to be looking at for the entirety of the game is a bubble of mercury that changes colours, and some devices that spin or have electrical effects on the map, then the least they could do is make it look interesting. A nice, fully reflective mercury blob would have done a lot more for me then the dull looking cell-shaded one. Likewise, a nice satisfying electrical arc does more for me then a series of white and blue bubbles and lines that disappears after a moment. There is simply nothing in this game to really catch your eye. Now, I can hear the folks out there telling me ďThatís not what puzzlers are about!Ē and thatís fine. Iím not saying graphics should have been on the top of the list Ė but it should have been somewhere on the list.

 

The audio is almost a repeat of the visuals. There just isnít much to do with it. Thereís music and some sound effects but I donít think anyone is going into this one expecting a feast for the ears, and thatís a good thing. Again, echoing the visuals, the music and effects that are there just arenít spectacular. Theyíre bland, and kind of generic.

 

What it comes down to is that if youíre looking for a fairly mechanically solid, single player puzzler then MMR is your thing. Youíre not going to find any exciting visuals or audio, and youíre not going to be able to have some friends over and bust out some MMR. There is certainly a niche market for this and I think this title will be very pleasing to the folks that fall into the demographic. I canít help but weep a little for what could have been if theyíd just included some multiplayer gameplay, though.

 

- D.T. Mathers

(March 29, 2007)

 

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