Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 12/04/05 | Genre: Puzzle
When the PSP first launched, I, along with just about every other person covering the industry, expected Sony's new handheld to completely overpower and destroy the Nintendo DS. It really appeared that Nintendo was finally on the verge of losing the only market it had never lost dominant market-share of. Ultimately we were all wrong. But early in the life of the PlayStation Portable a new puzzle game appeared that gave all PSP owners something fun and different to play at a time when the software library was severely lacking. This led Developer Ignition Entertainment to release a follow-up to the original--Mercury Meltdown. Although nowhere near as popular as the first title, Meltdown has found its way to the PlayStation 2 as a "remixed Port" of a handheld title. The results are a bit of a mixed bag.
For those familiar with the PSP version, Mercury Meltdown Remix will be very familiar. The biggest change about the game is that it now appears on a bigger screen. This is one of the first problems evident with the title. The PlayStation 2 version is nowhere near as crisp nor are the colors as vivid as they were on the smaller 16X9 PSP screen. Unless you have played the PSP version, this will not be evident and is probably an area puzzle fans can overlook.
The gameplay plays out just like the PSP version of Mercury Meltdown. Players take their blob of mercury and must get to the finish line. Bonuses are given if you complete the level under the time limit and complete various other requirements in the game. However, these are optional in most cases. The game is not as straightforward as moving your blob from Point A to Point B though. Players will be forced to do things like split their Mercury Blobs in two, change colors at various in-game stations, recombine blobs of Mercury to create new colors, open gates, avoid obstacles, and much more. Ignition Entertainment does their best to put your puzzle skills to the test by delivering up some very hard levels. Fortunately the PS2 version puts a controller in your hand--which is much less expensive to replace, than a PSP, when you break it in frustration. Although the challenge is still there, the difficulty has been reduced slightly from the PSP original which is a welcome change.
Ignition Entertainment did not completely redesign Mercury Meltdown for the PS2 though. Proving why straight ports with slight enhancements are a royal pain in the butt, instead of redefining the controls, this version of Mercury Meltdown responds in the exact same fashion as the original PSP title. This is best seen in the camera controls. Since the PlayStation 2 features two analog sticks, it only makes sense to redefine the controls and give precision camera movement, right? Wrong. On the PS2, players will find that they are forced to move the camera 90 degrees each time they move the right analog stick. This change alone would have probably made the PS2 version superior over the PSP--even with some slight graphical problems.
The PlayStation 2 version is also missing all of the multiplayer games found on the PSP. This is yet another example of why a port of a PSP game doesn't work well when it is moved to a home console. The Developers should have really gone to some lengths to think out how to include these gameplay elements or give PS2 owners something new entirely.
Overall, Mercury Metldown Remix is a fairly fun puzzle game on a console that is lacking in this genre. While it is worth checking out, I recommend the PSP version if you have access to the handheld console. Otherwise, steer clear of Remix unless you are a fan of the genre.