The Xbox LIVE Arcade boasts a great number of quality puzzle titles, that’s a set in stone fact. Whenever you fancy putting the old grey matter to the test there are a number of options craving your attention, so when a puzzler arrives on the scene boasting not only top notch gameplay, a rousing soundtrack and a hearty challenge but also come with a 400MS point price tag attached it’s only to be expected that gamers everywhere sit up and take notice.
Welcome then to Mercury Hg, Eiconic games simplistic but superb puzzler. The premise of the game is that you guide a blob of mercury across a platform by tilting the surface to make it slide, collect the atoms dotted around the board and eventually exit at the finishing square. Along the way you’ll be required to avoid varying degrees of tricky obstacles and the ever present threat of sliding from the board completely. You’ll also have to change the colour of the mercury blob, via the use of special squares, to access different areas on the platform. At times the blob will split into a number of smaller pieces which can then be assigned different colours and combined to make a new colour altogether, this really does keep you on your toes as at times it’s challenge enough to keep the single blob on the board.
Each level is scored on four categories, collecting atoms, keeping 100% of the mercury on the board, time and of course reaching the finish. Not all of these bonuses need to be completed to continue, in fact you can if you wish simply aim straight for the finishing square and ignore the extras. This means although Mercury Hg offers a good challenge it never really reaches a level where it’s just too frustrating to continue and that is truly a blessing.
If anything what Mercury Hg gives is a very relaxing experience, sure it’ll tax the brainpower at times and you certainly won’t just sail straight through the game, but it’s all done at a very leisurely pace. It reminded me of playing Marble Blast on slo-mo, not that I’ve ever played Marble Blast on slo-mo but if I ever did…….
The graphics aren’t amazing but it’s not really the sort of game that demands great graphics, instead they’re solid, functional, bright and colourful. The visuals add to the relaxing tone of the game if anything and that for me was another plus for Mercury Hg.
The soundtrack is chock full of bouncy, memorable Techno style tunes and never gets irritating but a major bonus is the inclusion of allowing custom soundtracks. Basically you can play through the game backed by any tune you happen to have saved on your hard drive, play Mercury Hg with something acoustic and mellow strumming along in the background and you may actually reach a state of such relaxation you’ll wind up on another plane of existence altogether.
There are also the customary online leaderboards to keep a track of your progress and how you match up to other Xboxers. These are of course always a welcome inclusion and give great reason to return to already conquered levels.
Mercury Hg is yet another great addition to the LIVE Arcade, it’s another of those beautiful little pick up and play titles, there when you get fed up of the usual fast paced video game world and want a game more akin to popping on a pair of the comfiest slippers and curling up on the sofa while the wind howls outside, it’s a nice game, I put it on a par with Chime in terms of just sitting back and letting a game chill you completely out. At 400 MS pts Mercury Hg is a total steal and an absolutely vital addition to the Arcade. Wonderful.