In a nutshell, Fire Hose Game’s Slam Bolt Scrappers is a twisted love letter to universal gaming legend Tetris, though re-orchestrated to suit head-on competitive play. Instead of chaining blocks together in order to score points, in Scrappers they are stacked together to form weapon towers.[boxout]The objective is simple: obstruct your opponents, build and defend an impenetrable fortress of multi-coloured bricks, and wipe out enemy towers all at the same time. Each colour represents one of the in-game weapon-types; including lasers, rockets, cannons, ray guns, paddles, drill bits and many more. Creating a two-by-two square using the same colour will produce a level-one tower which can then be expanded using additional blocks to increase its potence. The game handles well, despite becoming monotonous at times, and it could be argued that there is a strong tactical element to be unearthed.
Slam Bolt Scrappers can be played in two ways, either via the Campaign or in Battle mode. The former is a two-hour block fest which steadily ramps up in difficulty, each mission used to highlight a specific game mechanic. It’s fun to begin with, and though there are a few neat boss battles scattered throughout the repetitive gameplay will begin to grate, and for those with short attention spans, Scrappers could easily turn into a slog.
Battle mode on the other hand allows up to four players to build their own personalised match-types, including weapon choice, maps and characters. This is where the game comes into it’s element; the multi-layered mechanics create an insurmountable chaotic experience rarely had in modern console gaming. However, without any online functionality the only way you are going to get the most out of Slam Bolt Scrappers is by inviting a few mates over. It would have been nice to see some unique network modes, both co-op and competitive, though it doesn’t take much insight to realise that “couch-play” was the central focus for the guys at Fire Hose. Hell, there’s even a control scheme dubbed “Beverage Mode” allowing you to play with just one hand!
The audio and soundtrack may not be of a great calibre, but the vibrant art style is definitely appealing. Everything has a distinct cartoon aesthetic, and though the visuals can get a little blurry around the edges, there has yet to be a single hitch with the frame-rate so far.
- Solid gameplay and potentially addictive
- Vibrant and explosive colour palette
- Fully customisable match options
- Thorough tutorial system
- Will prove tedious for non-puzzle fans
- Short campaign mode, and lack of overall variety
- No online component or challenge modes
Unfortunately, Slam Bolt Scrappers isn’t the immediate arcade classic some will have been hoping for. The repetitive gameplay and lack of online multiplayer leaves the overall package feeling somewhat lacklustre. With that said, Scrappers’ split-screen competitive play is almost second to none.