Indie Review: Mercury Hg
Mercury Hg is an Indie-developed title that is available exclusively on Xbox 360 LIVE Arcade. Is it something you should play? Read on to find out.
- Worth The Time?If you like puzzles, then yes.
- Things LovedPuzzles! Challenging ones. Also, the soundtrack is pretty awesome. The controls are smooth and really help you develop those lazy thumbs. Lots to do. It's really cheap to purchase.
- Things HatedThe vibrant colours can sometimes get a bit much. Some levels suffer insane slowdown, probably due to bad optimisation. If you're not a fan of the style of music and you don't have your own to play, it's going to gnaw at your sanity until you slowly but surely lose it.
- RecommendationIf you enjoy little arcade puzzlers that have the potential to take up hours of your time, or if you're just looking for some time-wasters for when you take a break from serious gaming, you need to get this title now.
- Name: Mercury Hg
- Genre: Puzzle
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online Leaderboards
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Developer: Eiconic Games
- Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
- Price: 400 Microsoft Points
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Have you ever played a game where once you were done playing, you left it on just because you enjoyed listening to the soundtrack?
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
That’s what I am doing right now, as I work on this review.
Mercury Hg — from here on in, simply Mercury because I find saying ‘Mercury Hg’ to be an exercise in redundancy — is the latest Indie title to come out of the Eiconic stable, and it doesn’t really do very much wrong.
At just 400 Magical Sexy Points over the Xbox 360’s Live Marketplace, it’s also really cheap.
The game falls square into the puzzle genre, presenting you with a simple blob of liquefied mercury and tasking you with navigating a series of levels, each comprising the obligatory increased difficulty over the previous one, by shifting the entire level in various directions using the analogue sticks on your controller.
All of these levels are basically hovering in free space with some crazy background in the, uhm, background and as a result, in some levels it is possible to lose some of your mercury as it falls over the borders of the level. This is pretty much the only way you can fail a level, and also a brilliant exercise in Physics (with Chemistry).
While navigating levels you may also opt to collect little atom-looking objects for bonus points and at the end of the level you are awarded
experience points molecules for nailing any of the four targets for each map, namely completing the map within a specific time limit, retaining the full amount of mercury that you started with, collecting all of the atoms in the level and achieving more than a certain high score, overall.
For each of those targets, you are awarded a single molecule that totals to four per level and once you reach a milestone of molecules awarded (25, 50, 75 and so on), you unlock the next tier of levels, cleverly designed according to the periodic table of elements. “Now we’re doing science!”
This ingenious method of awarding players depending on what they do in the level, creates something that keeps the really dedicated coming back for more as they attempt to achieve all four targets for every level, while still rewarding those who simply wish to play through decently challenging levels. And there a lot of levels in this little game…
The game even goes one further and, like many other games on Xbox 360 LIVE Arcade, offers leaderboards that rank players according to their high score for each level as well as the time taken to complete the level.
If you’re a pathological completionist (read as: Achievement whore) like myself, then you’re going to find yourself spending hours trying not only to achieve a higher score for each level, but also a faster time.
Did I mention that this is an arcade game?
The game itself is pretty trippy, with colourful vibrant levels and music that makes you want to get up and dance along, or at least tap your feet to. It might get a bit nauseating a la Mirror’s Edge, especially when you’re frantically tilting the level trying to keep your little blob of mercury from falling off, while colours flash everywhere in tune with the music that is blaring on in the background, but that’s about the only criticism I could possibly have, and even then it’s not really much of a criticism.
If you’re not a fan of the music in the game, you can simply play your own off your hard drive.
The game’s menus are presented with an adequate quality, although they are a bit bland compared to the game itself. Possibly a design choice, to emphasize levels.
The only real flaw that the game seems to have is the tendency for some levels to suffer mass slowdown, with a certain level slowing down to a crawl upon loading. While it’s still entirely playable, it does get a bit annoying. But you can simply quit out to the menus and go back in and the level will work just fine. It’s a weird little bug that presents itself at seemingly random times but doesn’t stay long enough to be a game-breaking issue.
There really is no other criticism about this game. For an indie arcade title, it’s pretty great at what it does and though I was initially apprehensive over trying out the game, I must admit that I was very pleasantly surprised at what I played.
For 400MSP and a quick 170MB download, you won’t get much better than this game. There’s even DLC for it, once you’re done with the game’s many levels.
If you enjoy a challenging arcade title that you can play while you take breaks from the bigger titles, you really need to try this. Even more so if you’re a fan of science and all things geeky, like myself.