Co-op puzzle games aren’t something you’d consider a huge time investment with your friends. At least that’s what I thought before I played Slam Bolt Scrappers. We’ve had plenty of preview hands-on time with the multiplayer versus, but it’s about time for the full review of the campaign and co-op since the games release almost two weeks ago. Will you be impressed by the co-op in this puzzler, or become bored with your friends?
If I asked you to envision a Super Smash Bros. Tetris tower defense game, your mind would likely explode. Instead, I’ll try to describe the genius behind Slam Bolt Scrappers using different terms but insist you try it to see what it’s really like. You and your buddies start the game as one of four available characters (more available after you unlock them), each with the ability to fly, punch, kick, and carry various shaped blocks.
When you start up a level, there will be a number of building platforms; one for you (and friends) and one for your enemies. There are also a number of animal-like enemies; monsters, bugs, whatever-they-are, unique to the game. Your goal is to punch or kick these flying monsters to turn them into various colored building blocks. Your character can then pick up these blocks, drop them using the O button, and build up square turrets.
The turrets abilities vary by color; Purple are lasers, red are rockets, blue for shields, and green for the drill. Later on you unlock more colors based on the environment, such as teal green in the sky area for lightening bolts, or orange for a lava style attack. The turrets can be built as small as 2x2, but as you build the squares larger with the same colored blocks you can get some pretty impressively huge turrets going.
It helps to keep in mind the turrets aren’t your only attack. You can also fly over to your enemies and give them a punch or kick to get them temporarily out of the game. They can also do this to you, so it helps to use your shields and take out the flying ninjas for upgrades. Personal upgrades can be additional attack, shields, or The Green Monster (added strength, and you can attack the enemy tower).
If you're ever knocked out of the game, you can either wait for your character to respawn on its own, or complete a series of quick-time-events to bring them back faster. Hit the buttons in a row to resurrect faster, but it doesn't really hurt you to try. I think I learned the layout of the PS3 controller better than I've ever known it in my life of gaming with this game, and the QTE's weren't as bad as I normally feel they are.
The co-op with Slam Bolt Scrappers makes the game infinitely more interesting in an already addictive setting, though it’s a local-only experience which may be a disappointment for those wishing to play across state lines. My sister and I played the local co-op though, as we divvied up the duties where she primarily flew around and punched the enemies to keep them from building, while I collected blocks and built up our towers. This strategy worked great for us for a while, until we decided to kick it up a notch and mix things up.
During the second boss battle you’re on a giant tower where you’re limited in your building space, and you have to build on a variety of different “levels” of the skyscraper. How we worked this was she would directly attack the enemies and build while I kept the enemies who were able to attack our tower away from the turrets, and we’d trade off duties periodically.
The point to these examples is: The games co-op is not only absolute in its inclusion (in every mode), but it can be customized to whoever is playing. A variety of tactics can be applied, and some pretty heinous difficulties are available to challenge a group as well. Advanced players can guide beginners, or multiple advanced players can create a challenge. The possibilities are far more limitless than expected in such a simplistic, easy to learn title.
Playing through the campaign you’re able to unlock levels in the “battle” mode, which you can set up to play versus, or comp-stomp co-op. Basically you can have up to three players on a team versus a bot, which can be a lot of fun if you’re just wasting time for no particular reason.
I will warn you however, Slam Bolt Scrappers is one of those puzzle games where you’ll sit down and say “I’ll play a level, then go do [whatever you need to do]” but that won’t happen. You’ll find that three hours later you’ve missed your brothers football game, forgotten to go to class, missed work, or whatever it is you were supposed to be doing.
Aside from the lack of online co-op, I feel that it’s tough to walk away from such a captivating puzzle experience - especially with friends, or family, or some random stranger you brought in from the street because the local co-op is that good.
As an added bonus, we have a copy of the game to give away to one luck commenter. In Slam Bolt Scrappers the scrappers are a variety of different types of winged people. What type of scrapper would you play as if you could design your own? (i.e. "I'd play as a pitbull because they're hardcore!" or "I'd play as a ballerina because no one would expect that!") Leave a comment below describing your ideal Scrapper to enter, I'll contact the winner via PM next Monday (April 4th).
The Co-Op Experience: Slam Bolt Scrappers offers a co-op campaign with puzzles designed specifically for 4 players.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.