Slam Bolt Scrappers is one of those games that is just plain likable. While at a show like GDC I'm often asked for my favorite game, a question that's usually difficult to answer. There are games that show potential, games that intrigue, games that are striking but we never get to try hands on - and then there are games that you walk half a mile away from the convention for so that you can meet up in borrowed office space to play for over an hour jeopardizing your timely arrival to the next appointment.
Like so many indie titles Slam Bolt Scrappers is full of unassuming charm, from plump flying demons to an assortment of hats to tossing blocks into a cannon that fires on the enemy. When you first join a game it's easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that's happening onscreen, but after you punch a few colorful flying beasties into blocks you find yourself building a tower, Tetris-style, creating turrets and defenses that can stand up to a giant snow-wielding robot.
So why is it perfect for St. Patrick's Day? For one thing, Beverage Mode. With a playful nod to accessibility, it is possible to play Slam Bolt Scrappers one-handed. When playing with Fire Hose Games' Fire Chief, Eitan Glinert, I strongly recommend having him play in this mode - and attempt to get him extremely drunk - you don't have a chance otherwise.
More than being tailor-made for imbibing green beer, Slam Bolt Scrappers is just the sort of raucous, trash-talking, on the couch and in your face style game that you should be entertaining your friends with on St. Patrick's Day. Sharing more than comparable initials with Super Smash Bros., SBS has the same furious and fun gameplay that makes it an ideal party game. Should the drunken opposition transform from barroom brawling into inebriated camaraderie belting out songs of the homeland, switch from versus to four player co-op and battle a giant robot with the Angry Drunk in your group tasked with griefing the opposition. Remember: what strategy can't solve, punching often does.
The co-op effort is markedly different from versus, and the variety of levels in the game make each battle unique. Adding to the wacky are power-ups that you pick up from punching those lumpy flying demons into a useful pulp – like the Crowbar, a powerful thief power-up that lets you steal an enemy block but makes you vulnerable, the Comet (a dash attack), and the Shield (invincibility). Since you’re pretty vincible the rest of the time, death happens, and when it does there are QTE style button sequences that – when completed successfully – reduce respawn time. With more than a dozen stages and four difficulty settings it's an easily scaleable experience and by using your partygoers to your own advantage there's a good chance you'll make significant progress on all those characters to unlock, hats to earn - and Trophies to win - this St. Patrick's Day.
Slam Bolt Scrappers is all about building, brawling, furious battles and frenzied co-op rounds. Already a favorite with Penny Arcade, Slam Bolt Scrappers hit PSN yesterday, so save your change from the Guinness run.