At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Matt Bailey PlayStation 2 Ignition Entertainment Ignition Banbury 1 Here
Requirements Also on... Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Memory Card: Around 80KB Wii (as MM Revolution), PSP (as MM) Click here to buy Mercury Meltdown Remix.

Mercury Meltdown Remix review

Ignition's Mercury Meltdown Remix has a title which is rather self-explanatory; it's a remix of the previous PSP release Mercury Meltdown. As you may have noticed, we recently reviewed that, and were rather impressed with the well-designed and addictive puzzle game. So, now comes the PlayStation 2 edition, ready to swap out UMDs for DVDs, analogue 'nubs' for analogue sticks, widescreen display for TV, wireless multiplayer for, er, nothing. With all the fundamentals covered in the other review, let's take a look at each change here.

UMD to DVD This isn't a huge change, of course, but the important thing here are load times. The PSP edition already featured surprisingly quick loading, and now it's even quicker. This is particularly important due to the fail-retry-fail-retry nature of the game, where "Restart" is the most common menu item you'll likely see.

Analogue 'nubs' for analogue sticks One of the big criticisms of the PSP is always its pseudo-analogue stick, often known as the 'nub', and the limitations in control it presents. Personally I find the control to be adequate, and favour it over the D-pad, particularly on racing games, and Mercury Meltdown was another title that suited it well. However, it still provided a limitation on the range of tilting, something which should be solved by the use of the DualShock2's full analogue sticks. Except, it wasn't. Instead you end up with a control scheme that doesn't quite feel right, with full lock on the sticks not providing the level of tilt you would expect. It's disappointing, but ultimately isn't too debilitating to the gameplay.

Widescreen display for TV That seems a strange way of putting it, but the idea is simple; the game was originally designed for the PSP's (always impressive) widescreen display. The PS2 version, on the other hand, doesn't offer 16:9 support, leaving you to mere 4:3 views. While not everyone has a widescreen television, such an omission is disappointing in a game designed for that ratio, and the camera sometimes feels 'cut-off' and more awkward than it was on the PSP. There's no 480p support either, and although that's not particularly common on the PS2, those playing on a PlayStation 3 (again, this is compatible) would have welcomed it.

Wireless multiplayer Well, obviously the 'wireless' bit was going to go on the transition to the PS2, but the multiplayer could have remained. While we didn't expect online support (though it would have been welcome), some form of multiplayer on the platform would have been a good addition. Split-screen competitions or even a take-turns mode which encourages people to complete levels quicker than each other could have worked well, but alas it wasn't to be. Instead you'll be playing those unlockable party games against the A.I. only. That certainly gives the game the feeling of a cheap port.

One particularly intriguing thing about Mercury Meltdown Remix is that it actually shows that more levels aren't always a good thing. The PSP version already contained a vast amount of stages, but their extreme difficulty in the latter part of the game means that, unfortunately, a lot of people will never see them. Therefore adding more, as Remix does, is only really of interest to purists, but more importantly, it has a major downside; it makes progression harder. With more levels to play, there's more success to be achieved, but this means it now takes more time to unlock the bonus party games, which used to feel just about possible. Not that these feel as worth unlocking as before, as mentioned above, but the incentive to progress has decreased, offering a less rewarding experience.

Ratings

Graphics The new visual style may not be popular with some fans of the original, but it's bright and bold colours provide a more mass-appeal design. However, while the animation might be good, the graphics don't work so well on the big screen as they did on the PSP. 7/10
Gameplay Enjoyable, addictive, and sometimes frustrating, but it doesn't quite feel right translated from the PSP you hold in your hands to the disconnection of holding a joypad. It's especially strange if you're holding a SIXAXIS... 8/10
Value Even more levels than the PSP version would make it more worthwhile, if it didn't cost more and feel like the inferior version. 8/10
Lifespan There are over 200 levels here, ready to steal your time. However, the lack of multiplayer is disappointing, and makes the party games feel useless. 8/10
Audio The soundtrack is fine, but its repetitiveness can get annoying over time. 6/10
Overall At the heart of Mercury Meltdown Remix is the excellent puzzle game seen before, but it hasn't fared well in the translation to the PS2. More work was needed, and while it's still worth picking up, we'd recommend you do so on the PSP if you can. 7/10

Click here to buy Mercury Meltdown Remix from Amazon.co.uk.

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