Game Rant's Dwayne Holder reviews Slam Bolt Scrappers
We've been posting about Slam Bolt Scrappers for a while now, and some lucky attendees at PAX even got some free copies of the game. After playing through it ourselves, we can safely say that the game is as fun as it looks. Fire Hose Games dedicated their resources to bring a fun gaming experience to the masses with this title, and they don't disappoint. That doesn't mean the game is without its flaws.
Slam Bolt Scrappers, the puzzle brawler by Fire Hose Games, lets players use flying avatars to beat down baddies to gain blocks. They then take these blocks, which look very much like Tetris pieces, to build towers with blocks of similar colors to create weapons. Bigger blocks of a certain color create a bigger version of its respective weapon. There are seven block types including a rocket launcher, a laser and a canon which has to be fed blocks as ammunition.
Two out of the seven block types are defensive. The shield, which generates a shield around adjacent blocks, and the ping-pong block which deflects incoming rockets and lasers. All the blocks are fun to utilize in battle and each has there own purpose, though I found myself falling back to utilizing a few specific block types and building only them up to win the round.
Players choose from one of six characters – four at the start and two unlockable – each sporting jet packs and and oversized arms, ready for building and brawling. I couldn't help but feel that the roster was a bit small, and would've liked to see a few more brawlers. Apart from their appearance, there are no special attributes for each brawler. It's a level playing field no matter who is chosen.
Players can alter the colors and hats of their brawler, rewarded for completing levels and unlocking trophies. Getting an actual in-game reward for completing a trophy challenge is awesome, though, like the characters themselves, the hats are only cosmetic and don't add anything to the gameplay. It would be more rewarding and useful if there were special hats that applied modifiers to the controlled character.
The cartoonish cell-shaded graphics are fun to look at and work well for the game, but the backgrounds are lacking in some of the stages, with some of the city levels looking rather plain. The blocks, characters and environments are colorful and appealing to the eye. This is a game that will appeal to younger gamers as well as older ones. Events in the background in a few levels signal when players should switch strategies and prepare for environmental hazards.
Along with the blocks, players can defeat ninjas to gain special power-ups for their brawler. One power-up gives a 'comet attack' against the incoming baddies and other brawlers, another gives the player the ability to attack an opponents tower directly. There's also a ability that allows players to outright steal blocks from the enemy tower. That last power-up I had the most fun with. All of these powers can tip the scales depending on how well gamers use them.
There are two modes: 'Campaign' and 'Battle.' Battle is your standard versus mode, and players will have to go through the entire campaign to unlock everything for this mode. The campaign will take you from a downtown metropolis to inside a volcano and each locale has its own mechanics which switch up the gameplay. Each level isn't just tower vs. tower scenario; There are times where players will have to build two towers on a scale and carefully balance building on each to prevent them from falling into lava. Another scenario will force the player to use a specific power-up to succeed. The boss battles are particularly fun and represent one of the game's highlights. Players will have to race between hitting a boss' weak-point and building weapons, in order for them to fire while the boss is vulnerable.
A challenge players will have to face with Slam Bolt Scrappers is with the camera angles. It works adequately during normal two-tower combat, though when there are three or more towers on screen, it becomes difficult to see the action and place blocks accurately.
Those who are looking for a full single-player experience may be disappointed as the campaign is rather short. Gamers can easily beat the entire campaign in one sitting, but can turn up the difficulty if needed. You can however, play co-op with up to four players, a very welcome addition to any game.
Even though you can play Slam Bolt Scrappers with others, you cannot do it online. Similar to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, SBS was designed to get people together on a couch and yell at each other. Online multiplayer could have fleshed out the single player experience for those who don't always host people at their homes. Those who crave online competition – but don't always have friends available – might want to check the demo before buying.
Despite some issues with the camera, Slam Bolt Scrappers is an overall fun experience. Though we recommend it for gamers who regularly have friends over to play games locally.
Slam Bolt Scrappers is available now exclusively on PSN for $14.99.