As the banner says, Mercury is an experimental, winner-generated arcade roguelike. That’s a lot of modifiers, so let’s break it down.
At its core, Mercury is a roguelike. A roguelike is a type of game where you descend through a dungeon, killing monsters and equipping items in an attempt to see some sort of victory or survival. By roguelike standards, Mercury has a very simple combat system. When you attack a monster, you deal damage based on your attack, and when it attacks you it does the same. When you run out of health points it’s game over and your score is your final score for that game. Mercury also has a turn limit, and each action you take draws from your total bank of turns. The only way to replenish these turns is to venture further into the dungeon, as each floor down you go gives you more turns.
However, unlike most roguelikes, Mercury is also fundamentally an arcade game. That means that Mercury is a roguelike that is based around points and high scores. As players play the game, they earn multipliers from boss monsters on each floor which multiply every point they earn in the game. Additionally, clearing any individual level of monsters results in a board clear, giving the player a huge amount of bonus points.
So that’s one way that Mercury stands out from other roguelikes. But the truly experimental part of Mercury is that all the game’s content is winner-generated. That means that the game starts out barren. One class for players to play, one monster to fight, and one item to use. But every round, the top two scoring players use a tool built into the game to make a monster, item or class and then that object is automatically inserted into everyone’s game, and players fight for new high scores in an entirely different game every round. In short, I just designed the thing. It’s going to be the community that really makes it.
So that’s Mercury.