We've always loved the Monkey Ball series, but from this day on, if you want some platform tilting action on Wii, Aiai and the other apes have been superseded by Atari's faceless blobs of Mercury.
Yes, even without cutesy little characters and the proposition of a about 784 million mini-games on the side, we'd put Mercury Meltdown Revolution above Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, no least for being ridiculously addictive.
It's innitital simplicity is what pulls you in at first. You have a blob of mercury, a sort of gloopy, metallic fluid, that you have to navigate through initially simple obstacle courses by titling the Remote. It's as basic as that.
Once you're hooked and you've worked your way through a few stages, the cleverly-designed platforms begin to demonstrate some of the more complicated intricacies of later levels in a simple way. Anyone who played the PSP game (which is basically exactly the same as this), will know that as well as keeping the blob on the platform, reaching the end of the levels involves pressing switches, slipping though doors and then some.
Much of the switch-pressing action is colour-coded, which means your blob has to be a specific colour to activate certain switches or pass through certain doors. You change the colour of your blob by moving it into colour fields. This is where it gets more complex: sometimes you'll need to split your blob in two (by running it into sharp bits of scenery), turn each blob into two separate colours then recombine them to make a third, and otherwise unachievable, colour.
This clever mechanic, along with a mix of other obstacles like shifting blocks, disappearing platforms, seesaws and thin conveyor belts not only add a puzzle element to the test of skill, but they bring masses of variety to a game that, on the surface, seems as shallow as a puddle.
Crucially, the game works perfectly on Wii, to the point where it would seem as though it were designed specifically for the console. The more hardcore among us will know that the original Mercury WAS designed for a tilting control mechanic, but for the PSP with the now-binned tilt sensor.
If, for some reason, you don't want to move anything other than your thumbs (in which case, why do you have a Wii?), you can simply plug in a Classic controller and play using the analogue stick instead. Conveniently, the game automatically detects the insertion of the controller and switches to analogue mode removing the need to trawl through to a controller settings menu. Both control systems work well, but the tilt controls obviously offer a more visceral experience so we stuck with that.
Unfortunately, the six included party games, which have you doing various tasks from racing through stages to colouring a platform with your coloured blob, are relatively lame in comparison, and you won't be spending much time with them at all.
The other major downfall is, although it would seem like an obvious feature to include, there are absolutely no multiplayer options in here. This was one of the biggest omissions of the PS2 version and we'd have thought that would have been fixed, especially for Wii - a console that places such a huge emphasis on party gaming.
But that doesn't detract from the fact that, as a single-player puzzle/obstacle game, Mercury Meltdown is nothing short of fantastic. With well over 140 levels, each packed with more varied features than we could possibly list, it'll provide many hours of lone gaming. It can be infuriating and frustrating at times, but that's testament to it being a test of raw gaming skill, which puzzle fans should thrive on.