Viewed as a continuum, the puzzle genre has two distinct sides, with one side being about careful thinking and problem solving, and the other mainly a test of skills. "Lumines" would be towards the first end of the continuum, while "Mercury" would fall squarely at the second end. "Mercury" is all about skillful wielding of the analog nub, and is almost as different a game as possible from "Lumines" while still being a puzzler.
In "Mercury," the goal is to guide one or more blobs of liquid through an obstacle course, using the analog nub to "tilt" the level. That, along with controlling the camera, is really all there is to playing the game. Because of this, "Mercury" is very easy to pick up and play. However, after a few simple tutorial levels, the game becomes difficult pretty quickly, partly due to the complexity of the games levels. After the tutorial the hints at the start of the levels disappear, and figuring out what to do can become difficult. Your blob also acts like a liquid a bit too well, spilling over the edges frequently. These factors lead to one thing: frustration. I spent days trying to get past a single level, and this was on the second of the game's six main "worlds."
After those nine levels, there are two "combo levels" which combine two of the three aspects into one course. The final course in a world is a "boss level," which has all three objectives to complete. Beating the boss level unlocks the next world.
With six worlds (plus one bonus world) at 12 levels each, "Mercury" has a lot of game in it. When you factor in the number of repeats some levels take to beat, it'd be easy to spend several weeks on this title just on the one player game. "Mercury" also has ad hoc wireless play, meaning you can play with a friend nearby, but not over the web.
"Mercury" succeeds in presentation. The graphics are detailed and the animation is fluid. While there aren't many sound effects, you wouldn't expect that many from a puzzle game, so I have no complaints in that area.
Eric Hysen. Former SGA President Eric Hysen was a senior (really?) in the Magnet Program and is excited to begin his third year as a part of SCO's amazing team. While he would have loved to be able to be a full member of the SCO Senior … More »