PAX Impressions: Slam Bolt Scrappers
This is Slam Bolt Scrappers. It’s coming out early next year, which is way too long of a wait. To hold you over, you’ve got us at PAX 2010, playing, reporting, playing, interviewing, and playing Slam Bolt Scrappers. We’ve seen a lot of great PSN titles here (impressions coming soon), but Slam Bolt Scrappers is a cut above anything else I’ve gotten my hands on (barring Sports Champions, perhaps). But enough with the highly parenthetical sentences and onto an offscreen video Chris took of a few people playing the game:
Unfortunately we don’t have footage of me and Chris playing, but take my word for it when I say we demolished the two chumps who “challenged” us. That was yesterday. Today, we talked with Eitan Glinert, the Fire Chief at Fire Hose Games, and he talked us through the challenges and triumphs behind making such an awesome game.
Slam Bolt Scrappers is anything but simple when you think about it. It’s part jetpack brawler, part Tetris block builder, and part tower construction management. Sounds complex? Trust me, it even looks complex if you’re watching it offscreen. When you pick up your DualShock 3 (it’s a PSN exclusive! Rejoice!), however, you just know how to play.
We played 3 different modes: VS Battle, a random boss level from the co-op campaign, and a more difficult level: Volcano City. Like I said before, we rocked another team in VS Battle. The way VS Battle works is 2v2, with only 2 platforms. As a team, you beat up different colored monsters to obtain colored Tetris blocks. Fly the block back to your platform and drop it to make 2x2s, 3x3s, etc. of the same color. The squares turn into turrets. Each colored turret does something different: Red fires rockets; purple shoots lasers; green flings drills that unless dealt with continually wreak havoc on opposing turrets; white tosses snowballs that leave blocks on the opponents platform; and blue emits a shield that protects itself and any turret that is in contact with it. The objective of the game is to build up your own turrets that automatically attack the opponent’s turrets. If you destroy all of their turrets, you win. In the boss level, 4 of us worked together to take down a giant robot’s shields, allowing our turrets to damage it. It was fun splitting up roles. You punch him until his shield falls, I’ll build up some reds, you get some blues, let’s down this bitch. In the Volcano City, Chris and I played on the “Snowball’s Chance” difficulty, the pun being that we have a snowball’s chance in hell beating it. To the developers’ surprise and entertainment, we just barely beat it. It was difficult, sure, but besides for that it was fun.
Trust me, the game gets frantic. You’ll constantly have to juggle between building up your own forces/defenses, attacking monsters, and even beating up other players. That alone gives the game a whole lot of variety, making it play differently each time you start it up. To boot, Eitan told us that there will be a handful of different turret types beyond the ones we saw. The way the game works is at the beginning of each match, 3 random turret types are chosen. If you’re familiar with Dominion, it’s similar to how you choose ten kingdom cards at random at the start of each game. In short, this astronomically boosts the replay value of the game. Each time you play, you’ll have to concoct a new strategy according to what turrets are in play. Add to that some dynamic environmental effects and the possibility of online multiplayer and you’ve got a grade A game through and through. I can’t wait to get my hands on this game. It’s the PS3’s first legitimate answer to Smash Brothers, and hot damn, it is good.
Best in show, hands down.