Review: Mercury HG (Xbox Live Arcade)

By Wayne Webb

Mercury HG is a new version of a game previously available on Wii and PSP called Mercury Meltdown. It’s a fun, addictive and creative maze game with a scientific twist. Kids and adults should love playing it and may even learn a little while doing so.

The concept is simple; you have a maze-like plane that rises and falls, and has gates and switches, obstacles and holes. Through these you navigate your blob of mercury using the physics of gravity and velocity. You use the controller to tilt and turn the landscape and then gravity and inertia does the rest. Your blob of mercury acts just like a blob of mercury should by flowing downhill and around objects.

In later levels you can use this to separate and colour various blobs, then reform them and mix the colours together to solve puzzles and complete levels. And while some levels may be finished in seconds, others will have you scratching your head, then solving it and replaying it for a record time and improving on your score. You can even compete against a ghost of your previous best run.

The game itself is not overly long and can be completed in a matter of hours on basic levels and without too much distress. If you want to excel or better yourself you will replay and try for a record time, get better bonuses and collect all the atoms that lie about the levels adding points and secondary challenges. This means that if you are the addictive gamer or competitive with your flat mates etcetera, then you will revisit this game again and again. You can search your Xbox HD for saved music and insert this into the game, thankfully supplanting the annoying euro pulse club music that is preloaded there.

The science theme is cool and interesting and once the tutorials are over the designers stop taking liberties with actual science (elements irritatingly misnamed colourium and switchium) and stick to levels named after the elements on the periodic table. This may even be a way to get kids to learn and familiarise themselves with the sciences of chemistry and physics in motion.

Overall it’s loads of fun, small enough to download without taking up too much space, and for what it is, a great value game that can sit on your HD and be pulled out again whenever you are in the mood for science and fun.

Pros: Great design, science themed, addictive and fun to play, good replay value, insert your own music.
Cons: Some levels are frustratingly easy, not too hard or long to finish the game initially, music annoying

4 Shacks out of 5