Fan Mail: It’s like we’re famous

Hey Scrappers,

So, we’ve been getting a bunch of fan mail. Pretty awesome, right? The post office actually sends a second mailman to our office each day with an entire truck full of letters just for us. Well, some of them are probably bombs, so we open 25% then throw the rest into the Charles River to be safe.

Getting fan mail has been really eye opening. People have made a few suggestions (*cough*onlinemultiplayer*cough*) about SBS and I wanted to see if their ideas generally ring true with the rest of you, so I’m going to post one of our first pieces of fan mail. Let me know what you think about these suggestions in the comments below.

To the dudes at Fire Hose games:

Slam Bolt Scrappers is really, really fun. I downloaded the demo on Tuesday the 15th, bought the full game almost immediately after, and have been playing it ever since. So first and foremost, I want to say THANKS for making such a super fun game!

My girlfriend and I have started playing a version where it’s 1 on 1, and you aren’t allowed to attack the other player; we are having a great time with this variation, and it’s given me a couple of thoughts:

1. The “monster” (green ninja) powerup is waaaaaaaaay overpowered in regards to being able to decimate your opponent’s tower in seconds.
But more importantly,
2. The game itself would also be incredibly fun if you could turn off the brawling, and just let it be “my tower vs yours”.



Thanks for the letter, Tyler!  So, what say you, dear readers? Is the monster power-up unbalanced? Should we add a mode where players can turn off fighting? We crave your feedback, leave it in the comments.  Before you do that, though, I stumbled across this gem earlier today:



I’m not sure what he’s asking for, but you can find the music video to Knights of Cydonia by Muse here.

So, there you have it, folks.  Is the green monster power-up overpowered?  I’m particularly interested in this concept of playing without fighting.  Do you guys want that?  Would that mode make the game better?  I haven’t tried it myself but I think I will now.

Remember, we also love hearing from you by email (, FaceBook (, and Twitter (@FireHoseGames), so go ahead and talk our ears off!



  1. Jeff

    I’ve personally found it difficult to get myself using the block rearranger with the fighting mechanic on, especially because the AI is very aggressive. It takes me much more thought to start subtracting blocks, then to add them. And that makes me very vulnerable.

    I think the power-up is right where it should be though.

    • I imagine that the block rearranger would get a lot more use as soon as players have time to think about how they’re building, we definitely didn’t teach the AI how to love.

      As per another request, here is a picture of MUSE in SBS:

  2. Duncan

    I think that no fighting would be an interesting idea.

    Also, the Monster powerup is crazy powerful now, and i really think it should be dialed back a bit. other than powerups like thief and comet, the monster one is a 100% game changer

    • Yeah, that’s precisely my worry about the monster – it’s much more powerful than the comet, shield, and repair power-ups. That said, I can kind of see it holding it’s own against thief, but you still have the potential to destroy a lot more with the monster.

  3. Dolsen

    The Hulk Green Monster power up is not too powerful, at least compared with the other power ups. Sure, a monster at full health could do some serious damage (I recall actually losing under such a circumstance at PAX), but if you gang up on him in close range, he can be taken down like anyone else. If your opponent has only 2x2s in their tower, the monster can wreak havoc, but it’s relatively ineffective against bigger blocks. Actually, that’s one of the last power-ups I tend to go for, if given the choice. For the record, my preference algorithm is bomb>comet>thief>monster>repair=shield, though circumstances may change that somewhat. Basically, my strategy is to immobilize the enemy before doing direct damage.

    Alec, I’d interpret Eric’s request for the muse, i.e. the source of inspiration, behind Slam Bolt Scrappers. I don’t think he’s looking to rock out to some tunes as he wants to create his own video game, but he needs the SBS muse to motivate him.

    • You make an interesting point, though – I bet that for newer players (you’ve got a lot of experience with SBS) who generally stick to 2x2s, the monster powerup seems much more unbalanced. As soon as your a pro that sticks to 5x5s and above, it has much less effect on your tower.

      Overall, that’s a great strategy – immobilization is always key and it’s especially effective before using the thief or monster powerup.

      Curious to hear your thoughts on the “no fighting” mode, though.

  4. Dolsen

    The no fighting option might be an interesting mode for a change of pace every once in awhile (I’m always up for an experiment), but I think I’d vote against it in most games of SBS. For one thing, there are periods where nothing is going on (i.e. no creeps on the screen and your tower is optimized) so there’s nothing to do but duke it out with fists. Granted, this doesn’t happen very often or for very long, probably no more than 15 seconds and usually in the first minute of the game.

    More importantly, however, is that it adds a deeper level of strategy to the game. The essence of any game is about choice and good games force difficult choices. Is it better to invest my time in building or should I attack the enemy, thus depriving him from building? There’s no good answer to that question and the only way to find out is to play the game. Sure, without brawling, there’s still lots of choices: what color should I concentrate on, what power-up should I pursue (by the way, I note that power-ups are less effective in the no fighting paradigm, except for the thief which becomes vastly more powerful, for better or for worse), etc., but being able to directly attack your opponent adds a whole other plane of decision making. A lot of SBS (and many games) is spotting opportunity, and if you see an opponent is low on health, seizing that moment to knock him out for a few seconds gives you a tremendous advantage, but seeing it and not being able to do anything about it leads to a sense of powerlessness.

    Fighting also makes the game more interactive, another major element of games. A no fighting mode, essentially becomes a race as to who can build fastest. And while I think there is fun there, I think it’s a solitaire sort of fun that isn’t living up to it’s full potential. Would you rather play a game of Super Mario Kart where you’re the only one on the track and you’re just trying to get the best time OR would you rather be trying to run your opponent off the road and even though it costs you a few seconds, it doesn’t matter since you’ll still win? Some may prefer the former, but I and I believe most people prefer the more strategic and interactive latter.

  5. Great analysis and I like your pro-fighting stance. I think the bottom line is that the “no fighting” mode would have to be either a separate difficulty level or some kind of score based battle, sort of like a time trial. Overall, there are a lot of different opportunities here and I’d like to see just how far we could take it. In the end, we want as many people as possible to get enjoyment from SBS, and while catering to everyone might be impossible, we can at least try to get as many opinions as we can.

    Thanks again for your feedback, this has all been very interesting.

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