Even since its starting point on the PSP, Mercury was always meant to be played with tilt control. Deep in the vaults at developer Ignition Entertainment lay a motion-sensitive adaptor for the console that never saw the light of day. So when Nintendo revealed that the Wii would offer a controller with such a feature, a conversion for the console was pretty much assured. While Mercury Meltdown Revolution is effectively the PSP game with a few new levels, the implementation of the Wii Remote is faultless, refining the experience and making it more enjoyable than before. What's more, it's a game with immense longevity, and if you're a fan of puzzle games, you shouldn't miss out.
Race, a mercury-take on Wipeout, is one of the five party games unlocked by playing through the main game.
The basic principle of Mercury is to guide blobs of metallic liquid around a maze. Points are awarded for speed and accuracy, meaning that you need to move quickly while preventing your mercury from dripping over the edge. While those are the basics, there are a great number of obstacles to overcome as you progress. For example, some obstacles will solidify your mercury or make it runny, others will attract it or repel it, and the most annoying creatures in the game will eat your mercury if you go near them. Once you throw in dexterity tests that involve escalators, moving platforms, and a variety of surfaces, you have a fairly tricky puzzle game.
While all these features were also present in the PSP game, the attraction of the Wii version is its intuitive and well-implemented control system. Holding the Wii Remote as you would a DS, you tilt the controller to angle the maze itself, with gravity dragging the mercury along in that direction. And that's pretty much it--the only other controls are for the camera; the D pad is used to rotate or pan and the 1 and 2 buttons are used to zoom in or out. It may sound like the most simple control system of all time, but it fits the game perfectly and has been implemented incredibly well. The controller responds to subtle movement without feeling twitchy, and you don't have to hold it with spirit-level accuracy to keep the level flat.
Mercury Meltdown Revolution doesn't have a convoluted backstory that explains why you're rolling metal around these mazes; it simply presents eight laboratories with 16 test tubes each to represent all the levels on offer. They're made up of a combination of levels from the PSP game (but have been reordered slightly) and brand-new ones created especially for the Wii version. The more mercury you get to the finish line on each level, the fuller its test tube becomes, and you progress in this fashion to open up the labs that are locked at the start of the game. This structure means that you don't have to beat every level to get to the next lab, nor do you need to complete them within the recommended time frame. Although most levels take no more than a minute to complete, they usually require a bit of thinking and at least a couple of attempts to finish. Those who want to reserve a spot on the scoreboard will need to play over and over to perfect their runs.