PAX 2010: Hands-On With Slam Bolt Scrappers (VIDEO)

I’m not generally a competitive person with games, as I play games because I enjoy the experience of playing games. My gamertag “zone” is recreation. For competitive games/game modes to draw me in, I need to be able to enjoy them despite the fact that I don’t really care about winning. Halo is pretty much the king at this, and that’s why people love that franchise so much.

Because i game so damn much more than anyone else I know, I tend to play most games alone. So it’s a big deal when I find a game I can play with my friends that I dig. At PAX, I found one of those games, and it’s called Slam Bolt Scrappers. The game is Tetris meets…. uh, something. OK, so here’s the idea: you are a little cartoon dude with a jetpack. Your friend/friends is/are also that. You fly around beating up each other and these floaty monster things, and you collect different colored Tetris blocks. You then arrange the Tetris blocks so that you make squares of a particular color, and then, depending on the color, you’ll have a shield block, a lazer turret or a rocket launcher of some sort. And then you stack them so you have a tower. Across the way, though, your buddies are doing the same thing.

The goal: completely obliterate everything your opponent is building. This sounds easy, but it’s not because you’ll need a lot of firepower before you can do significant damage.

The game is quite overwhelming. During my first round, I got my ass handed to me because I had a difficult time keeping track of everything on the screen. You have to collect blocks and line them up properly in order to build things, and if your enemy is particularly aggressive, you’ll have to fight him head on with your fists. I zeroed in on building up my tower that I kept not noticing that my foe was attacking me directly, and so he kept knocking me out of the game for precious seconds.

Being killed by your opponent is not the end of the game, obviously. You’ll be sidelined for a few seconds, and if you nail a quick-time event, you’ll be able to come back faster. But if you get knocked out a lot, watch out; your tower is probably not long for this world.

Competition is not the only game mode, however. There’s also co-op mode, in which you and your bros fight against a boss monster, and that’s pretty great too. You can also play the game in “beverage mode,” which allows you to handle it with one hand while you drink from a bottle of whiskey with the other. Right on.

This game is heading exclusively to the Playstation Network, and it comes to you from upstart Fire Hose Games, who are making their debut with this title. Look for it early next year. And I do mean look for it, because this thing is hella enjoyable.

Oh yeah, I have video. Here’s the competitive mode in action at the Fire Hose booth at PAX:

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