End of the month and looking for something to spend your last 500MB on? So, what does the mighty PlayStation Store have to offer? You could get some game add-ons, map packs or themes, or there just might another option. If you find yourself feeling both nostalgic for some old school puzzle solving and hungry for an altogether different type of action all at the same time, then give Slam Bolt Scrappers a run for its money.
Fire Hose Games presents this explosive puzzle stacking, button mashing 2D mini-game. Tetris meets every arcade brawler in a frantic race to build up your tower, converting blocks into weapons to destroy your opponent’s tower block by block. The game sports a short but sweet campaign mode, varying degrees of difficulty and some great battle modes where you can challenge your friends to become the ultimate tower-building champion. The game serves up some great bite-sized action with the odd boss fight thrown in, but sadly a lack of online multiplayer will limit your arena to the number of friends you can fit on your couch.
Let’s take a quick look the basic gameplay of Slam Bolt Scrappers (SBS). Cast your mind back to the alluring Russian folk music of Tetris, where you rotated shapes in order fill and clear rows, keeping your tower of blocks as low as possible. SBS works in reverse; you use the different shapes to make combinations of squares of the same colour, changing them from simple blocks into weapons which will attack your opponent’s tower. Instead of clearing rows of blocks, your aim is to build your tower as high as possible; you ultimately win when your tower destroys your opponent’s tower.
Create a same-colour 2×2 block and your block changes into a weapon geared towards destroying your opponents tower. Create a 3×3 or 4×4 block and that weapon gets even bigger and more powerful. Different colour blocks have different abilities. Red blocks transform into missile launchers, purple blocks change into world dominating lasers, blue blocks provide shields, and there are of course other abilities such as drills, lightning, counter-attacks and the all-powerful cannon attack. Using these combinations, you scurry around the map, frantically rotating and dropping blocks, smirking to yourself as you watch your opponent crumble under the sheer overwhelming might of your tower.
Unlike Tetris, the blocks don’t magically appear – you’ve got to fight for your blocks. Throughout the game you assume control of your character flying around the stage smashing creatures which provide you with the coloured shapes you need to build your tower with. At the same time, your opponent will be fighting against you for these same valuable resources. Your character can obtain temporary power-ups by defeating flying ninjas. Yes, flying ninjas, ‘nuff said.
These grant you a range of limited special abilities such as temporary invulnerability, increased damage, and the ability to repair your tower, steal opponent’s weapons or attack their tower directly. You’ll notice you have a health gauge, so watch those HP: too many hits and you’ve got to wait for your character to regenerate (you can speed this up by pressing the correct button when shown).
One Slam Bolt Scrappers failings is in its lack of online multiplayer. This means you can’t battle those gaming friends who you’d never invite around to your house, nor can you compete with strangers online. What it does provide is four player local multiplayer which, believe me, gets incredibly hard to follow with all the action on one screen. The game is hard enough to follow in singleplayer! Doubling those numbers and the anxiety is hazardous to say the least. Also, the learning curve for this game is pretty steep and it can be very frustrating when stumbling through the basics for the first time. Although, when you do get it right and all the blocks fall into the right places, you sure do feel worthy of your victory.
So, is this game for you? Well, if you’re looking to let off some steam, want to collect some PSN trophies or just prove your gaming prowess to your friends when they come around, you won’t be disappointed with Slam Bolt Scrappers. Let’s keep in mind that this mini title packs a lot of action and will certainly keep you coming back for more. But if you’re looking for something that holds its weight in the online area, look elsewhere.