Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Archer Maclean's Mercury

An immersive and utterly addictive puzzler.
Review By SFUNPSP.
Have you ever looked at a thermometer and wondered "man, I would love to play with that strange substance in there!?" Well, first of all, do NOT break open a mercury thermometer because it is an extremely harmful substance. Second of all, you shouldn't want to anyway, because the PSP has its own game based around the gooey substance!

PRESENTATION: The main character in Mercury is... MERCURY! Seriously, who would've thought of this? This game has a cool concept, some neat (though pretty pointless) FMVs, insane levels, and over 70 different stages for you to attempt.

GRAPHICS: First of all, can I just say that the camera controls in Mercury are amazing? Seriously, very seldom did I lose because of the camera, which is nice to see these days. The graphics really are great. The mercury looks very realistic, the levels are intricately designed, and the backgrounds look very cool.

SOUND: I loved the sounds in Mercury, especially when it separates (BLOOP!). It actually even helped improve the gameplay, since you know you lose some Mercury because there's this sort of "anvil-drop" sound that arises when that happens. The music has a sort of "ambient-techno" theme to it. It's good and helps set the mood, but is far from anything special.

GAMEPLAY: Although the mercury is the star of this game, you essentially are controlling the level that it's on, causing it to slide in the direction the level is tilted. It never gets old and will never lose its touch throughout the whole game. Your goal is to get the mercury to a certain point... but that's not nearly as easy as it sounds. Mercury is an extremely difficult game that will test your patience like no other. You will fail, fail, and fail again... but you never give up until you finish that DAMN puzzle! And then when you've finished that, you'll be like "hmmm okay. Just ONE more puzzle," only to recommence what you did in the last level.

The levels have many obstacles and requirements. Some require you to have your mercury a certain color, some require control of more than one blob, some require you to teleport your mercury, etc. There are tons and tons of different obstacles and objects that you need to interact with/avoid in each stage, so the fun factor just keeps on coming.

A couple problems are here though... one being the difficulty, of course. There are some unlockables, but that means you need a high score. The initial high scores in this game are so incredibly high that it will take a complete expert to finally beat them (which will take a looong time). 

Another problem is that some people have shakier hands than others, and often times you need to slide the mercury down a narrow pathway... only to result in too much mercury falling and a failed level. Still, the originality and addictiveness Mercury has makes it one of the most innovative yet simple games on the PSP.

LASTING APPEAL: There are over 70 levels! ...but then again, many of these last less than 30 seconds. Still, you'll be failing a lot, which is actually a good thing. You will never want to quit playing. Plus if you're THAT committed, you can attempt to beat the high scores and get some bonus levels. After this game has been completed, you will probably want to come back now and then to retry a level you liked or something. However, hopefully in the next one there will be more than just a single player and a vs. mode.

OVERALL: Mercury is a great idea that left a lot of room for improvement but still managed to add enough variety to keep you playing. I say go ahead and buy this great game and AVOID real mercury! Great... now that I've told you to stay away from real mercury you'll probably want to play with it even more. Sigh...




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