Day 143: Slam

Posted: 2011/04/01 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #143, and today’s game is “Slam”.

Those of you who have following my blog for a long time, all the way back to Day 47 in fact, might remember a game I reviewed called “Slam: Indie Edition”. I loved it, considering it a fantastic mix of disparate gameplay elements. Well, Slam is one of those few games that’s available in a basic edition (for 80 Microsoft Points) and a deluxe edition (for 240 MSP). Whereas the basic edition has 3 musical tracks and about 50 levels, the deluxe edition adds a much larger selection of music for the game (9 songs in total) and doubles the number of levels. Well, since I’m still playing the game 100 days later, and with no end in sight, I decided to splurge for the deluxe edition today so I could listen to the full range of music the developers (Blackstorm Games) provided, and to be able to experience the full range of the game’s levels. Picking up the deluxe edition also gives me an opportunity to bring Slam to a new audience, given the site has seen a dramatic increase in traffic since Day 47, and that’s something I’m thrilled to do for a game that is a 5-star game in my opinion.

Slam’s gameplay is unique. If you tried to describe it, you would say that it’s Arkanoid meets Tempest meets pinball, but even that doesn’t fully do it justice. The elements are merged so well, that fans of any of the three will likely enjoy this game.

First, from the developer:

“Slam is a fast-paced brick-breaking action arcade game fusing all the best elements from Breakout, Tempest and Pinball. Spin and tilt your bat around the circular 3D arena; use the magnet for total control of the ball; collect 14 types of eye-popping power-ups and smash over 20 innovative types of bricks through 100 levels of frantic fun.”

Like in Arkanoid you have a paddle and bounce a ball. Like in pinball, the ball bounces off in an only-somewhat predictable fashion when it (like in Arkanoid) explodes a block.

Innovations include the fact that while you move your paddle with the left stick, you can lean it left or right with your right stick. Power-ups abound, and having to spin all around the playfield really opens the game up to new strategies, and new hazards (you want to make sure the ball doesn’t reach the edge anywhere along its 360 degree edge). Movement really does remind one a lot of the original Tempest, and presentation reminds one somewhat of Tempest 2000 (especially in the later levels as the music picks up in tempo and the size and number of colourful explosions increases). Periodically other things inject themselves into the game that are wholly new, like rings that periodically spin (along the x, y, and z axes) and force you to be patient waiting for an opportunity to bounce your ball into the playfield, or blocks that move from one part of the playfield to another (protected from your ball in some, unprotected in others).

Click here to download “Slam”, and then please come back to rate the game after playing.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? Click “Share This” above and invite them to.


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