Tetris has never been so destructive.
Just like the title says, Slam Bolt Scrappers is quite literally battle Tetris.
It is a simple game where players build towers of multi colored blocks while their opponent also builds a tower of blocks. Normally the goal of Tetris is to score the most points in a match while never ever hitting the top of the playing field, since that's a game over. Slam Bolt Scrappers is different however. The name of the game is destruction. In order to win, players must destroy their competitor's tower.
But just how does one go about doing this?
Well, just like in Tetris, players need to figure out how to fit blocks of different shapes into a set space, but rather than making rows of any color to score, players must build larger and larger blocks of the same color. Once a block is made by linking at least 2x2 blocks of the same color together then you have created a turret! The type of the turret is dictated by the color of blocks. The power of the turret is dictated by just how large you make the block, and they can get pretty enormous.
So how exactly do players earn blocks when the game is combat focused? Well, players actually have a character which they control who is the builder of this rainbow colored tower of doom, a character that can punch and kick through the variety of different colored monsters that the game will throw at players. These creatures drop block segments of their color, and from these players build their towers. But they're not the only ones after these blocks. Your opponent has a character of their own, and not only will they kill these monsters for blocks but they will also fight you for them. If a player dies they'll be out of the fight for a few seconds while their tower is left to fend for itself. This leaves it open to attack, causing some nail biting moments as your tower is taken down block by block while your enemy's tower continues to grow or recover from previous damage.
There's a nice variety of turrets, ranging from the basic rocket and laser turrets to more utility based ones like a rocket intercepting ping-pong paddle launcher, which I find hilarious, and shield generators. This gives you many tactical options, which are worth considering when you're building your tower. Do you go for a mass of enormous turrets or do you build a tower of several little ones so you can have more variety or simply more damage per second? These are all things players have to take into consideration, and quickly, when building their towers. Whether you're fighting an AI opponent or another player, they're not likely to give you the time to carefully plan the build of your tower.
But what else is there?
Surprisingly, there is more to this game than a cursory glance would suggest.
As I was going through the different campaign stages the game offered, it threw a different kind of fight at me. A boss fight. It was certainly a welcome change of pace as suddenly I had a particularly tough and destructive nut to crack. Each boss fight has their own trick to them, and not only do they attack you and your tower but they also have a tendency to throw environmental effects that you have to clear out in order to have space to continue building.
Speaking of environmental effects, there are some maps that throw these in as well. All sorts of weirdness occurs, from blocking your construction space with junk to having to balance the weight of your tower if you don't want it to take a dip in the pool of lava lurking below. My favorite (and the most disorienting of these special maps) has the towers switching sides every few seconds, which I like mostly because it forces my opponent to fight me if they're feeling skittish about their chances.
Fight your friends! Or with them!
Slam Bolt Scrappers also features multiplayer, which is a great deal of fun. The simple 'versus' mode pits players or teams of players against each other in any of the different battle maps unlocked throughout the campaign. There's also a co-op mode. You can bring up to four friends along for co-op play, which scales the difficulty of campaign missions by adding more AI controlled characters that'll harass players and their team, and more people means that towers can be built faster.
The only real problem with multiplayer though, which really makes me dissapointed, is the lack of online multiplayer. That's right, it's all local play, but as a party game it works out great! You just need to be able to plug your PC into a TV or a very large monitor and set up at least three extra controllers. I must warn you, however, this game can strain friendships if someone in the group doesn't handle losing too well.
Worth a pick up?
The lack of online multiplayer does hold this game back quite a bit in my book, but ignoring that, it was still a great deal of fun. I couldn't drop the game until I finished every single campaign mission and even after that I found myself coming back to beat my scores and playing at higher difficulties. If you're looking for an unique twist on the classic Tetris, a great way to kill time or a fun party game, Slam Bolt Scrappers is a great game to pick up.