After I realized I could finish up the “El Shaddai” demo (previewed here) at home, I stopped playing a little bit early and headed over to check out a couple of publisher UTV Ignition’s upcoming downloadable games.
“Magical Drop V,” due out in October for PC, with console releases coming later, is the latest entry in a long-running series of gem-matching games originally created by defunct Japanese publisher Data East. The gameplay is simple and, I assume, addictive. (More on that in a second.) Basically, rows of colored gems descend from the top of the screen. You capture a particular gem, then fire it at like-colored gems to destroy them. Knocking out rows of multiple gems gives you more points and, as you play, the gems fall faster and faster.
Unfortunately, I only got to try out one level of “Magical Drop V.” Once I’d passed with flying colors, my demo station crashed, and I moved on to the next game after informing a UTV Ignition rep that I was so awesome at “Magical Drop V,” I broke the machine. This meant that I didn’t get a chance to see “Ghostlop” mode, a new game type based on an unreleased coin-op classic. Nonetheless, what I saw convinced me that UTV Ignition has a fun little downloadable game on its hands, provided it keeps the price point low enough.
The second game I tried, “Mercury Hg,” was a physics-based puzzle game that has the player guiding a pool of mercury through a series of physics-based challenges. (Sadly, UTV Ignition doesn’t have screen shots available for this game at the moment.)
“Mecury Hg” and another game planned for iOS called “Mercury Meltdown” are follow-ups to a PlayStation Portable game called “Archer Maclean’s Mercury.” The gameplay is a bit like what you’ll find in a title like “Marble Madness” or “Super Monkey Ball.” You have to guide your puddle of mercury from one point to another as quickly as possible, while losing as little of your puddle’s original mass as possible.
I only got to play a couple of levels, but the puzzles I encountered required me to guide the mercury to areas where I could “paint” the mercury a specific color. Then, I’d guide the mercury to white tiles that needed to be painted a particular color. Once I’d touched all the tiles labeled “Cy” with my cyan blob, a new part of the puzzle would open up.
As you play, you’ll encounter a number of obstacles that will split or divide your mercury. Generally, you’ll want to loose as little of your original mass as possible, since the percentage you have left at the end factors into your final score. (In this way, “Mercury Hg” is reminiscent of another game I played recently, Konami’s upcoming physics-based arcade game “Puddle.”) What the publisher calls a “re-merge” will gather together some of your split-up mercury, but it’ll add seconds on to your overall time, so you’ll want to use the feature sparingly.
I didn’t get to see this in action on the loud show floor, but “Mercury Hg” also has a feature where the levels respond to the game’s soundtrack or your own custom audio on your console’s hard drive.
“Mercury Hg” is due out in August for Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.