It's hard to miss the developers donning bright red firemen hats, located off to the side of one of the halls at the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo. Indie developer Firehose Games was busy recruiting people to jump in and play its upcoming PlayStation Network game, Slam Bolt Scrappers. Described as a combination of Super Smash Bros. and Puzzle Fighter, you and up to four friends can either team up and play through the campaign or split off into teams of two and tackle each other.
As a scrapper, your job is to punch colored creeps that come from the sky, which gives you colored blocks to stack on top of one another in order to create weapons. Slam Bolt Scrappers doesn't need much of a premise to get you engaged in some hectic gameplay. In the campaign, you play cooperatively with AI teammates or real people if you can gather them (no online play has been announced yet). There are various different levels, but the objective remains largely the same. You must punch the flying grubs that come from the sky that will drop colored pieces and make it feel like you're playing Puzzle Fighter. You stack the same colored blocks to create 2-by-2 squares or anything larger. The bigger the square, the more powerful the weapon.
You use the X and square buttons to punch, and you can button-mash as much as you like. The circle button drops the piece that you're carrying onto your tower and the triangle button lets you discard it. To rotate, you use the shoulder buttons. It starts to get crazy when you're busy hitting things (or other people) and forget your main goal, which is to build up those weapons.
Each color determines what kind of weapon you'll get. The game will automatically use that weapon once you've created the square. For example, if you stack a 2-by-2 tower of red blocks, it'll fire off a missile at whatever it is that you're fighting. In our case, it was a giant robot. If you're playing in the Competitive mode, you'll be firing at the opposing team, who is also furiously working to build its tower of destruction. You can always fly over and punch your opponents to steal their blocks, but if you die, you're out of the game for a while. But you can press a series of buttons that appear to get yourself back into the game.
Slam Bolt Scrappers is a bright, colorful four-player action game where you pick one of several goofy characters with silly hats that has the ability to fly all over the screen. There is drop in, drop out play, so it's easy for friends to jump in and play with you. There's also a Beverage mode, which allows you to play the game with one hand while holding a drink in the other. Slam Bolt Scrappers is currently set to be released early next year.