Friday, June 08, 2007

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Mercury Meltdown Revolution (Wii)

Product Number: 164
How Much: £39.99 RRP
Where can I buy one:

I’ve been wanting to write about the Nintendo Wii ever since it was released last year as it perfectly sums up what we’re all about. A breakthrough product that appeals to people yet might be overlooked as nothing more than a novelty. Thankfully Nintendo have effectively carpet bombed every major TV station with adverts so everyone out there knows about the console and what it can offer so any more words I have on the subject would be pointless. But what of the overlooked gems that can’t afford that kind of market exposure? The unique treasures that take that machine even further? Well we’re there to give them some time in the spotlight too.

Mercury Meltdown Revolution is one such gem, and is featured on these hallowed pages simply because they took the time to send us a copy of the game. Like Super Monkeyball and Kororinpa - which may be familiar names to Wii owners - Mercury Meltdown tasks you with guiding a small ‘ball’ from one end of a maze to the other by tilting the maze with the Wii Remote. However, unlike those previous games your ball isn’t all it seems to be.

For one it’s made of Mercury so the ‘ball’ will change shape as it rolls its way around the tricks and traps in the mazes. Some panels will make it hot and start to melt which sends little bits of mercury rolling off on their own course. Others will turn it in to a solid hard ball (allowing it to roll along pipes) or make it soft so it can bounce over platforms. All of these components mean that your blob of Mercury is constantly under threat, and even in its default form the slightest knock on a sharp object will split it in to two.

This leads to a hilarious scramble as you rotate the level and try to control two blobs of Mercury at the same time! This is tricky but it helps add to the ‘tongue between the teeth’ moments as you slowly tilt the Wii-remote (which is held sideways in both hands) left and right to try and reconnect the blobs in to one complete blob again. Unlike Super Monkeyball which was too sensitive, and Kororinpa which let you rotate levels a full 360 degrees, Mercury Meltdown Revolution fits neatly between the two and lets you carry out small movements easily, which is ideal given the number of narrow ledges you’ll need to traverse.

Splitting the ball in half is more than just a nuisance, and there are occasions when you’ll need more than one blob in order to progress. For example, one of the big features of the game is the ability to change blobs in to different colours by passing through ‘paint shops’, which then allow you to pass red, green and blue gates. When you come across a purple gate, you’ll then need to split your blob in two, find a red gate and a blue gate and then merge the balls together again in order to progress. It’s tricky but once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon appreciate the numerous puzzles this creates, and a handy colour chart is always on show to help with the colour mixing.

On top of 150 levels there’s also secret objects to find on each, time challenges and the lure of attempting to get all 100% of your mercury to the end of the each level without losing a drop. There’s even a few party games tossed in there for you to unlock, such as a fantastic racing mode, curling sim, tetris clone and a rodeo mode where you have to stay on a level whilst a fan tries to blow you off. All in all a complete package and although we would have loved some multiplayer support (everything is single player only) it doesn’t take away too much from a great example of what the Wii is capable of.

Mercury Meltdown Revolution hits stores today so be sure to look it up or head to

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