|System: X360, PS3 (Tentatively)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Firehose Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: TBA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: TBA||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
April 5, 2010 - It's kind of hard to believe it, but this little, local indie game out of Boston was actually the talk of the show. Before we got the chance to play it, we were dumbfounded as to why everyone we met was talking about Slam Bolt Scrappers and not Red Dead Redemption, Crackdown 2, or Splinter Cell Conviction (all of which were playable on the show floor). Maybe it's because most people didn't feel like waiting in the gigantic lines for those games, but as we learned when we finally got to play Scrappers, it's just flat out tons of fun. Is it as fun as those other games? It's pretty hard to compare them, but it's hard to deny the ingenuity that Firehose Games has on display in its first creation.
Before we rave too much, here's a brief rundown on how the game plays. It helps to envision it as something of a mixture between Super Smash Bros., Tetris, and maybe even a touch of Super Puzzle Fighter thrown in there for good measure.
You play as a character who flies around the screen bashing up little demons that appear near the top. Once defeated, those demons/bugs/whatever explode into a block piece similar to the classic Tetris pieces. You then grab those pieces and can place them on your tower.
You play as a character who flies around the screen bashing up little demons that appear near the top. Once defeated, those demons/bugs/whatever explode into a block piece similar to the classic Tetris pieces. You then grab those pieces and can place them on your tower. The goal is to build your tower ever higher, while matching blocks of certain colors to create different offensive and defensive devices like a rocket launcher or a shield. The bigger your square of a certain color is, the higher its power. The goal is to create offensive batteries that bombard your opponent's tower and shield to protect you from their shots as well.
What makes this formula so engaging is the mixture of frantic pacing with a need to make snap strategic decisions. You can't spend more than a few moments debating where to place your latest piece or your opponent will get the edge that could turn the tide of the battle. The game is designed in such a way as to reward the person who can think best on their feet, rather than many other games which reward pattern recognition and twitch reflexes.
This was an unlikely underdog, but it's safe to say that Slam Bolt Scrappers is one of the most interesting games that came out of PAX East. Going into this expo, it was evident that the city of Boston had something to prove. They had set out to show that they're the preeminent indie game hub on the east coast, and with awesome new games like Slam Bolt Scrappers leading the charge, they made a very good case.
The team is so far undecided on the release date and platforms the game will appear on. Although when we played it at the show, it was played with an Xbox 360 controller.
CCC Freelance Writer