MacLean's Mercury game is the equivalent of a Salvador
Dali version of a pinball game. Instead of a silver
ball you guide a silver mass of molten metal through
a playfield. Everyone will be simply fascinated by
this game but not everyone will feel compelled to
take on the challenge to complete it.
great to see unique games developed for the PSP. Archer
MacLean is an independent developer and he and his
team have come up with a great puzzle concept that
doesn't have any correlation to Tetris. Instead, Mercury
could be seen as a rip-off of Super Monkey Ball as
the gameplay dictates that you must maneuver a glob
through various obstacles by tilting the playfield.
As I've already mentioned this glob is not solid and
that's what makes the gameplay unique.
liquid metal is Mercury which remains in such a state
at room temperature. The blob is not always silver
and it's not always just a blob. Different colors
are included to solve different puzzles and in many
levels there is more than one blob, sometimes up to
four or more. It can become quite a process to multitask
all of these blobs and puzzles at the same time.
are twofold. First you have to navigate each stage
without losing your blob over the edge and then you
replay the level for best time and high score. You'll
have to go through the level first to figure out what
to do and then go back and try to do it faster. This
is what will separate the casual gamers from the hardcores
since some of these levels are so tough that many
players won't want to go through them again.
the more than 70 different levels they are all imaginatively
designed with different challenges including switch
throwing, maze navigating and the opening of different
colored gates with similar colored globs. At times
you will have to combine different colored globs to
open gates. Responding nicely to physics the globs
will be influenced by gravity and speed. If you go
too fast each glob could break down into a series
of bubbles. Go too slow and you won't complete the
level in time. If you tilt the playfield too far in
any direction the blob may leave the edge and it's
how to play the game is as simple as making a phone
call - though not related in any way. Many of the
playfields float and resemble multi-tiered oil refineries
with various stairs and ramps. Other levels look like
waterslide parks complete with multiple curved paths
to follow in an effort to escape the labyrinth. Then
there are levels that feature moving machinery in
a meshwork of gears like a giant clock. You have to
figure out the patterns of the gears and such and
make your moves accordingly. Your mind will be very
busy processing information.
the camera is adequate when left on automatic pilot.
The more glob balls on screen the further away the
view will get so that you see more of the playfield.
At times when you need to focus on a particular glob
it's no problem to manually zoom the camera in. It
would have been nice to see real-time reflections
on the globs since they are metallic and not plastic.
At least the developers did get the flow of the Mercury
looking and responding realistically. If you've even
seen solder move when it's been heated you'll know
what I'm talking about.
rhythmic oriented music is a perfect choice for a
game like this. There aren't any sound effects to
speak of and certainly no cutscenes. The multi-player
modes are really nothing more than competitions that
could have been facilitated by one game system. Don't
forget to save the game after you complete a level
as there is no automatic save which I found out the
highly recommend renting Mercury first to see if you'll
play it longer than a couple of hours. It's not for
everyone but puzzle fans looking for something fresh
are bound to embrace this original concept.