Developer: Retro Dreamer
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s

Graphics / Sound Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

photo 2 (40)SlamBots is a retro-themed jumping game (think Doodle Jump) that asks players to focus on combat rather than gaining height. In the game, players are placed in an arena in control of a character piloting a slammer and are asked to navigate this arena to collect coins and attack enemies by slamming them from above. The game ends if players are either attacked from above themselves or if they make contact with an environmental hazard. With this simple concept, Retro Dreamer has created a charming casual game that also rewards those that wish to take it more seriously.

To control the game, players will have to tilt their screen to change the trajectory of their character, who is constantly bouncing automatically. Once airborne, players can then tap the screen to initiate a slam. While players are not required to slam in order to attack enemies, the slam move causes a faster descent and rewards players with more points than just bouncing on enemies regularly. The ability to slam is also dictated by an on screen slam meter, which decreases when used and replenishes over time. The true strategy of SlamBots is strategic use of this slam meter to link large strings of slams together while also avoiding a game over.

photo 5 (25)Over time, this sort of gameplay could grow thin, but SlamBots has a few key ingredients that help keep it an exciting experience. First, the game’s presentation is just fun. The retro-inspired graphic style, the quirky character models, and the sounds of the game all make a lasting impression. Secondly, the game provides a way for players to spend the coins they’ve gathered in the game on upgrades available in the game’s store. These upgrades not only can change the way player’s characters behave, but can also unlock new arena environments to play. The only slight against the game really is that everything the game offers is purely in service to the very singular game concept that perhaps isn’t for everyone.

Overall though, SlamBots offers its take on the “jumping game” genre in a way that speaks directly to things I appreciate in games. More specifically, the solid mechanics of SlamBots, as well as its art style, use of color, music, and upgrade system are all integrated into a game that looks reminiscent of my childhood game experiences, but with a more modernized core design. Beyond these peripheral elements though, SlamBots is just a tilting jumping game, albeit a well made one.

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