If you enjoy casual, pick-up-and-play puzzle games, then get ready for an experience, because Mercury Hg is going to rock – and roll! From the developers of Polar Panic and Arctic Adventures comes an update to this PSP classic.
First, a bit of history about the periodic table of the elements. Mercury is metal that has a peculiar trait: it’s a liquid at room temperature! It’s also a highly toxic substance to play with — unless it’s done digitally, of course. In Mercury Hg, the core premise is to guide a blob of mercury around a tilting puzzle maze while collecting bonuses, reaching the finish as quickly as possible with as much of the blob left as you can.
Mercury was first released on the PSP in 2005, and updated again in 2006 as Mercury Meltdown. This Tuesday, we’ll be releasing it in HD for the first time as Mercury Hg – pun intended! When UTV Ignition approached us to develop a PS3 version of their popular IP, we wanted to update the franchise to appeal to today’s gamer. We designed an entirely new look for the game, drawing inspiration from the visual style of Apple and games such as wipEout and Mirror’s Edge.
We wanted to go far beyond a simple “re-skinning” of the old game, so we explored ways to make the levels more visually engaging. From the start we knew we wanted the soundtrack to be an integral part of the experience, so we tied that into the design with parts of the levels and backgrounds glowing and pulsing in time with the music.
What else is new? We’ve kept the basic premise of the game: getting the blob of mercury from the start to the finish, keeping as much of the blob intact as possible, mixing in colours, plus the splitting and merging mechanics. We’ve streamlined a majority of the elements within the levels, making the game more accessible and balancing the game for both the casual gamer and veterans alike. Unlocking new content is now a lot easier, as the levels themselves are easier to complete. The majority of them fit into the 30-60 second time frame if played well, though some are shorter and some are longer. We followed a “two-minutes, max” philosophy for all the levels, so it will never take more than two minutes to achieve 100% completion. This reduces the frustration that players had at losing their last drop of mercury after playing a level for five minutes and gives the game more pick-up-and-play feel. And because replayability is an important aspect for us, each level has a leaderboard based on score and time, as well as a ghost replay system.
Music plays a major role in the look and feel of Mercury Hg. The blob pulses to the beat of the music as do the backgrounds and tiles, and the game supports custom soundtracks so you can stream in your own music from various sources to create a kind of personalized interactive jukebox. It also made sense to support the Sixaxis functionality of the DualShock 3 wireless controllers, something that was discussed at length on the original title but never came to fruition. Sixaxis adds a different element of skill to the game: some will prefer it, others will prefer the original analog stick control scheme. Try them both!
There are 120 levels across the main game and two DLC packs, with each level being named after one of the periodic table elements. Science geeks may note that there are only 118 recognised elements — we took the liberty of adding a couple more, maybe the IUPAC will consider those names when element 119 & 120 have been proven to exist! Additionally, there are 40 bonus level variants across the main game and DLC packs, in which the player starts off with a small blob of Mercury and must navigate the level collecting the other blobs in order to finish. There are also 20 challenges spread across the main game and DLC, and these require the player to meet a set of tricky criteria across a set of levels.
Mercury Hg hits PSN on Tuesday, September 27th for $4.99, along with the first DLC pack Heavy Elements; a second DLC pack will follow in the coming months. Mercury Hg is one of the slickest puzzle games to have been released on PS3 – download the demo this Tuesday and give it a try for yourself!