Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Mercury Hg

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Electronic Theatre ImageIgnition Entertainment is once again attempting to expand the audience for their once humble Mercury franchise with a brand new digital release. Mercury Hg is available now on Xbox LIVE Marketplace and PlayStation Network for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 respectively, and is the very first version of the videogame designed specifically for the high-definition (HD) formats.

Having been designed from the ground-up for the HD consoles, Mercury Hg makes good use of a few of the systems’ modern features. The PlayStation 3 version offers tilt control via the SIXAXIS controller, and of course both versions are presented with HD visuals and online leaderboards. Another new addition comes in the form of  soundtrack integration: players can utilise Electronic Theatre Imageany music stored on their hard drive as the score for the videogame. More than a background addition, certain levels (or parts thereof) function in time with the music being played, and so a key element of the videogame can be adapted by the player, raising or lowering the tempo by changing the track being played.

The core game takes place in the Discovery Mode. For those not familiar with the gameplay of the Mercury series, the closest comparison would be SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball. The player doesn’t control the blob of mercury with which they need to make the journey across the levels, but instead the floor underneath. Moving the left analog stick will tilt the floor in the same direction, the degree of which will control the momentum given to the aforementioned liquid metal. The player must guide the mercury to the exit tile, around corners, down steps and more besides, and that’s just for starters.

As the player progresses through the levels they will find new colours and elements that alter the flow of gameplay, demanding the player move through a specific portal or split their blob before continuing. These challenges grow in complexity at a fairly smooth difficulty curve throughout, building to lengthy levels demanding Electronic Theatre Image several changes before completion. Each level in the Discovery Mode is ranked in terms of four targets: time, bonus items collected, the amount of mercury retained and the basic completion. Players will get up to four atoms per level, based on their success in these four regards, and atoms are then used to unlock new groups of levels.

The additional modes, Challenge Mode and Bonus Levels, are unlocked with progress through the Discovery Mode. These two additions are fairly lightweight compared to the core gameplay mode, but are certainly a welcome inclusion. As is the opportunity to download and compete against ghosts from other players, learning tips and tricks, and potentially new assets that had been hidden to you previously.

The visual quality of Mercury Hg is perfectly acceptable, with the mercury animated well and the level design being as bland as is necessary to allow for players to concentrate on the task at hand. The backgrounds are also bland so to not distract, which is certainly a contrary to the musical accompaniment. Even though players Electronic Theatre Imageare given the opportunity to incorporate their own soundtracks, that which is included within the videogame package is pretty good in its own right.

Weighing in at over 170 MB and offering an extensive variety of levels, Mercury Hg is undeniably good value for money at just 400 Microsoft Points. The duration of its challenge will depend greatly on your previous investment in the series, but even for those who have played every instalment thus far Mercury Hg offers plenty of reason to return. It’s not a groundbreaking work, but ably pushes forward the series and makes for a wholly entertaining action/reaction based puzzle videogame.

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