MERCURY MELTDOWN REVOLUTION, Wii, Ignition, rated E — for Everyone (reviewer's rating (8.5 of 10)

Mercury Meltdown games are fun on other gaming systems, but nowhere do they shine as much as on the Wii system, because motion is the most natural thing in the world when you're trying to channel "blobs" of mercury through a maze.

This clever and well-priced game (only $19.99) is a single-player puzzle-logic game and it's challenging as can be. You have to figure out how to get the blob through the various labs. And it's made much more complicated by the fact that the blob of mercury — which can be as unpredictable as real mercury, if you've ever seen that shiny, metallic substance split up and go wherever it wants — can come in different forms: normal, solid, fast and slow.

There are more than 150 levels, and if you conquer them, which will generally take more than one try, I promise you, you'll be able to unlock some really fun party games. At my house, Rodeo and the shoot the target game were favorites.

"Mercury Meltdown Revolution" utilizes the Wii tilt sensor, and the moves you need to conquer the mazes are fairly intuitive. You're not moving the blob when you tilt but rather angling the surface of the maze so that "gravity" can lead the blob. The surfaces are not all created equal, either. It takes a while to figure out how to control the blob when it's on an escalator, for example.

The control system is very even-handed, so it's up to you to get the motion down right. There's no room for error on this one, although you don't have to be perfect to move on to the next lab.

Controlling the game is super simple: the angle of the floor vs. gravity. Other than that, it's a simple matter of changing your camera angle or zooming in and out.

Along the way, you'll learn to split off sections of the blob on sharp-angled surfaces so that you can change their colors and recombine them into whole new colors you'll need to move on.

The most intriguing thing about the game is the need to really look at what you're doing and figure out how to approach each challenge. While the movements you need to master are intuitive, this is a very well done puzzle, and it takes a thoughtful approach.

Graphics: The graphics didn't bowl me over, but they're bright and fun in a cartoonish way. The mercury blob itself, though, is totally cool.

Audio: The audio is pretty pedestrian, but it's not distracting and that's a good thing because the game requires even more precision than you need to work the levels on a Monkey Ball game. The only jarring note is the little squawky sound that mercury makes when pieces fall off the edge of their world. And after a while, that's kind of funny.

Parent's Take: Nothing objectionable here, folks. Just a good, solid puzzler that's sure to provide hours and hours and hours of fun.

Final Word "Mercury Meltdown Revolution" for the Wii is one of my favorites this year, a solid gaming experience that makes you use your brain. While there's no great plot line or amazing action, it's both compelling and addictive. It grows on you as you get better at it. And I suspect it's a game that members of the family will revisit periodically after they've already conquered it.


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