Slam Bolt Scrappers review

by Alex Morgen on March 20, 2011

in Game Review Bits, Sony PlayStation News Bits

Slam Bolt Scrappers (PS3, PSN)

Slam Bolt Scrappers
Available for: PlayStation 3
Game Developer: Fire Hose Games
Game Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Official website: www.firehosegames.com


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review Summary:
Slam Bolt Scrappers combines some frantic puzzle-solving and brawling in one. The game is best enjoyed with up to three friends at your side (no online multiplayer). The single-player campaign has a few boss battles and provides a way to unlock more options for the multiplayer game, but is over far too soon and has no storyline or anything on the characters. Some levels vary in how they are played, which ensures Slam Bolt Scrappers never gets stale. The music is composed of a variety of lighthearted tracks that suit the colorful visuals. Slam Bolt Scrappers is an original and bold take on Tetris-like puzzle matching and beat-’em ups. Players who enjoy having gameplay gatherings with friends and fans of puzzle games will most enjoy the fun that Slam Bolt Scrappers offers.

Slam Bolt Scrappers review

Slam Bolt Scrappers is a very unique take on the traditional puzzle-matching genre, combining a good mix of fighting in the gameplay. Imagine it as a puzzle tower-defense brawler. Yes, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. Pieces can be obtain by defeating various floating enemies, with my favorite being the cthulhu, and dropping the pieces on a platform. That is, if your opponent doesn’t manage to smack you down and swipe the piece from you beforehand. Building and matching like-colored block types is the goal for bigger weapons and defenses, which include Missiles, Lasers, Drills, Shields and more. The bigger the matching block segments, the bigger the weapon or defense. Orient and stack up the most blocks for the biggest tower and demolish your opponent’s tower for the win. Slam Bolt Scrappers challenges players to use their brain and brawn at the same time.

Players won’t have too long to think and must act fast, because there usually are more elements than just flying enemies and the CPU opponent to bring your tower down. Some levels require a careful balance between two platforms. Tip the scales with too many blocks on one side and your tower will be fried by a pool of lava. Some ice blocks may bury your tower, requiring the player to pound them away so more pieces can be connected. This is just some of the variety that comes up along the Campaign play that really challenges both your thinking and reflexes at the same time. It doesn’t take long to get hooked into the fun. I was often drawn back to playing Slam Bolt Scrappers, tempted to try to build up the most massive missile cannon I could.

Watch a gameplay video below (or here):

Slam Bolt Scrappers takes some getting accustomed to in the beginning, because of the combined brawling and building gameplay. Besides dealing with shields, punch and kick combos, players have to remember what button allows switching between the current pieces that the builder is carrying, which button rotates the piece and which one drops the piece. One of the things that takes getting the most accustomed to is where pieces will land. There didn’t feel like there was enough “snap” to it. I recommend you ease yourself into Slam Bolt Scrappers with the tutorials and a playthrough of the Campaign mode on the Casual setting. There are four difficulty settings in each level, so you can go back and try for best time completions and bigger challenges as well. It is often difficult to turn the tide on a match once the player’s opponent has gained a lead in their blocks. I know I quit out a few times knowing I wouldn’t have had a chance to make a comeback. In times like that, I felt maybe having some kind of a random chance power-up ninja could have kept me in the game (like those times in games like Mario Kart when you’re in last place). There are a good variety of power-ups that can be obtained for the builder/brawler, from the strengthening Comet power-up to a Thief power-up for swiping weapon’s from an opponent’s tower (for the ultimate humiliation).

Watch a gameplay video below (or here):

The playthrough of the Campaign mode isn’t too long (difficulty depends on the level players set). I was hoping the Campaign mode introduced some kind of story element, which would have helped in the character designs, but there is none. There isn’t too much variety in the bosses either. Levels are brightly colored, while the visuals are designed with a nicely animated and cell-shaded 3D style. The musical pieces are catchy and complement Slam Bolt Scrappers‘ light-hearted style. Some of the initial player character choices may feel a little generic, but the bonus characters are the icing. I won’t spoil what they are, but they bring a nice change up from the starting builders. Dressing up characters with a selection of hats and masks as well as changing up outfit colors help make the builders a bit more unique. Enemy designs are the highlight with oddities like cthulhu, pigs with sledgehammers, devilish imps on oversized birds and even ninjas that drop power-ups.

Watch a gameplay video below (or here):

A great thing about Slam Bolt Scrappers is the variety of gameplay levels throughout the campaign. A Mega Blocks level scales out the playing field a bit and exaggerates the sizes of the building blocks, which means bigger weapons and more mayhem sooner in the game. Blizzards and Boxes is one of the levels that fills up the player’s stacking area with ice, which must be broken so pieces can continue to be matched up. Powered Up Paradise is another level which was a pleasant surprise, which was populated only with Ninjas that drop power-ups rather than the enemies that drop building pieces. Just when you think you’ve started to master Slam Bolt Scrappers, Fire Hose Games slips another surprise under you. A nice thing about Campaign Mode is that players can team up with up to three other friends for co-op campaign play.

Battle Mode is where players can have fun in two to four player Free For All versus or Team Battle matches. Players begin by selecting a stage and what block types can be used in the match. Up to four players can join in and customize their own character. The multiplayer in Slam Bolt Scrappers is designed for local play, not online. Having friends at your side, just like in any fighting game, is fun for indulging in victorious moments or yelling obscenities at them when they pound you down and steal your blocks. Maybe at least a two-player versus online mode would have been better than none, but so it is. There will be a bit of a learning curve for fair play with friends who haven’t played through Slam Bolt Scrappers. Players can limit the number of different block types (colors), which is the ideal way to start playing with friends, and later build upon the challenge.

Watch a gameplay video below (or here):

The replay value in Slam Bolt Scrappers is mainly in playing Battle Mode with friends. Players have quite a few bonus items to unlock, from a couple of new characters to plenty of new hats and masks. Players can also try to go for “Best Times” in the Campaign levels. The Beverage mode is a one-handed gameplay mode, which means it is ideal to use the PlayStation Navigation controller with. It is a thoughtful control method, among others that can be selected, which makes it easier to play with friends (since you won’t need four PS3 Dualshock controllers). Fire Hose Games has managed to create their own very unique game with Slam Bolt Scrappers. Put your thinking side of your brain and button-mashing brawling side all together for some fun with Slam Bolt Scrappers!

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Slam Bolt Scrappers trailer:


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