Indie Quickie: Slam Bolt Scrappers

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? Slam Bolt Scrappers is a unique mix of Tetris-style block matching/fitting and side-view arena brawling.

Who made it and where can you get it? Fire Hose Games originally released this tower-building puzzle brawler on PS3, but now it is available for PC via Steam for $9.99.

How much did we play? I played solo for 30 minutes or so and then my son joined in and we played cooperatively for another 30 minutes. We played through several solo and co-op story mode levels and then tried out the competitive battle mode.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? Playing with two or more (up to four players) will require up to four game pad controllers as there is no online multiplayer. The game strongly suggests using an Xbox 360 controller and I would agree 100%. I attempted to play with just mouse and keyboard but quickly switched to using a controller and found it more effective.

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Why should you play it?

    • Chaos Refined: Slam Bolt Scrappers is a fun yet chaotic twist on the classic game of Tetris. Combining four squares of the same color creates either an offensive or defensive node which helps to demolish your opponent’s tower with missiles, lasers, lightning zaps, and other weapons of mass puzzle-block destruction. While some blocks are busy attacking the enemy, other random baddies carrying new blocks float in and attempt to attack your hero. Attacking these floating enemies isn’t overly difficult, but lining up the blocks a defeated enemy drops while fending off a new wave of attackers results in all out mayhem. The havoc only continues to build in Slam Bolt City as the game progresses, with levels that rotate in relation to your position on the left or right side of the screen and eventually even introduce bosses.  

    • Father-Son Co-op Approved: I will say that playing co-op makes a huge difference in the overall enjoyment of the game as one player can focus on defeating the floating enemies while the other player can concentrate on building the tower and keeping the attack and defense nodes healthy. Once my son got the hang of the mechanics, we were able to work really effectively as a team. He enjoyed the more aggressive aspects of going in and attacking the enemy head on while I kept an eye on the base, building and adding to both the offense and defense.

    • Replay Practice Makes Perfect:  One of the great things about Slam Bolt is the fact that each level takes only a few minutes to play through. Replaying a level (even a short one) helps to quickly master the large number of different blocks and the colors that each are represented by. And because levels load so quickly and don’t take a huge time commitment to complete, you’re able to accessibly replay levels and learn how to best utilize the different blocks. Even though I would typically lose the first time a new block type was introduced, I looked forward to retrying without dread or frustration.

Parting Thoughts: Hectic doesn’t even begin to describe Slam Bolt Scrappers. Keeping track of your own tower, the hovering enemies attempting to destroy it, as well as block placement to build up and enhance your block-tower arsenal can be confusing and overwhelming at times, particularly as a single player trying to maintain order amidst all the moving parts by yourself. The game is fun in short doses, and is clearly at its best with a co-op buddy around to help manage the chaos.

About the Author

Tim has been playing video games for more than 20 years. He manages to find time to game in between raising three kids and working as a network administrator. Follow Tim on Twitter @freemantim.