Sunday, November 4, 2007

Review: Get your roll on with "Mercury Meltdown Revolution"

If being a blob of mercury is this much fun, in my next life, I want to be in a thermometer.

Since buying a Nintendo Wii in July, I will admit, in the S.K.I.L.L.Z. household, "Wii Sports" is still the most popular (and fun) title. However, Ignition's offering, "Mercury Meltdown Revolution," is rolling fast to try and dethrone the champ.

The game, which sells for $19.99, is one budget title that earns its stripes. According to, the game was originally made for the PSP in 2005, and made the jump to the PS2. It has been out in Europe since June 2007, but has finally made it to U.S. shores in October. The game still has the same basics - using your Wii remote, you send the ball of mercury through 150 levels. Some of the levels are short - some that some intense thought, but regardless, it's still a blast.

The game, which reminds this old skool gamer of the Atari hit, "Marble Madness," has a lot of the same elements, but being able to slide all over levels - is rather insane. And you can divide your mercury, which helps big time if you are on a level that requires different colored blobs to open certain doors. You will indeed find yourself being squished, flattened, dissected and divide to complete your tasks. Don't worry - you come back together like new every level.

You do have enemies - including crumbling blocks and mercoids, which either hurt or nibble you to death. You are mercury, so you can usually just avoid these guys.

There are literally thousands of ways to finish levels, and all are fun. The only thing is - if you lose enough mercury, you'll have to restart the level.

For me, the coolest part of the game was the way you use the Wii remote. You have to move the remote, turned sideways, forward and back to move your lil glob. I didn't read the manual at the beginning of the game and discovered it by accident. Definitely read the manual to find out more about the game before playing.

Before you start the game, you will be asked if you want to do the tutorial. Do it. Trust me, if you don't, you'll have a difficult time picking up the game and having a blast.

Still having a problem with control? Head to the playground and get your practice it. There are tons of game objects to help you sharpen your skills.

Another cool feature are the multiplayer party games you can unlock as you progress. There's Rodeo, which tests your ability to hang on. A fan tries to blow your blob off the level. The lower you hang on, the better. There's also Paint, where you use paint to leave a colored trail behind. You must cover more area than your opponent. You can play this in single or multiplayer. There's also Shove, where you shove your mercury to the center of a target, and there's Race. The last minigame is Metrix, which is a puzzle challenge.

The graphics are ok - the sounds are too. You wouldn't buy the game for the visuals - the gameplay is where it's at.

There are tons of games that cost $50 plus that don't offer the kind of fun you can get at $19.99.

Why should I care:
It's a budget Wii title that offers tons of enjoyment at a low price.

The good: Killer concept - pays homage to Atari's "Marble Madness" - just $19.99 (a couple pizzas, a DVD or a haircut, folks!) - replay ability through the roof and multiplayer party games!

The bad:
So-so graphics, sounds - and not so much fun without reading the manual

The ugly: Trying to figure out how to make my blob pass a ramp - for like 10 minutes. Yes, I am special at times.

Overall: 8.0 (out of 10):
This is going to be one popular Wii title. It's right up there with "Carnival Games" as a must-buy if you own a Wii. Yes, it's not new, but it's a definite welcome addition to the Wii lineup. Yes, the graphics are so-so, but the gameplay rocks.

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