Scrap Metal Review

By Jeremy Zoss - Posted Mar 17, 2010

Scrap Metal combines Twisted Metal with RC cars in this top-down, arcade-style racer. Multiplayer is a gas, although there's less excitement to be found in the game's surprisingly lengthy single-player mode.

The Pros
  • Easy to pick up and play.
  • Enjoyably chaotic multiplayer.
  • The mayhem is still family-friendly
The Cons
  • Dull single-player campaign.
  • Replacing cars wastes upgrade points.
  • Forgettable presentation.

You might think, given the title, that Slick Entertainment’s Scrap Metal is a shameless rip-off of the Sony-published Twisted Metal. Both games are about cars with weapons, and it’s hard to deny that the titles are pretty similar. But while it may sound like there’s a lawsuit there, the similarities between the two games end at those basics. Yes, the downloadable Scrap Metal is a game about cars with guns, but it has a completely different look and feel than Sony’s franchise.

Scrap Metal

Xbox Live Gets Twisted?

There’s no doubt that Scrap Metal has its influences, but they’re not all as evident as they seem. While Twisted Metal is a grim series focused on car-to-car combat, Scrap Metal is a light-hearted racer in which weapons take a backseat to speed. Like the classic NES racer RC Pro-Am, Scrap Metal is a top-down arcade style racer with a default control scheme so simple, it doesn’t even have a gas button. Yes, all of the cars feature some kind of weapon, but being first across the finish line is the end goal of most of the game’s events. Some events don’t allow you to use weapons at all. Even in the demolition derby events, wrecked cars respawn into the action – a far cry from Twisted Metal’s vehicular deathmatches.

Scrap Metal

Loneliness Is Emptiness?

So Scrap Metal is not like that famous demolition derby – but is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it’s a little of both. The single-player campaign starts off strong, introducing you to a variety of game types that all seem like fun, forgettable romps. The gameplay is straightforward enough that anyone can pick up the basics: steer with the left stick, hit the A button to use weapons. Nitro and special weapon pickups add a little more complexity, but not much. Wrecking cars in events unlocks them for inclusion in your stable of rides; you’ve got four car slots in your garage, and winning rewards you with upgrade points that can be used to increase their armor, firepower, speed and grip. Unfortunately, once you replace a car in your stable, all the upgrade points you spent on it are lost. The event types also start to repeat themselves quickly – there are standard races, demolition derbies, elimination races, one-on-one boss fights, and that’s about it. In short, it won’t take long before you start to feel like you’ve seen everything the campaign has to offer.

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Scrap Metal

Better with Friends.

Aside from a camera that often separates you from the rest of the pack of racers, the campaign is more dull than terrible. Fortunately, as you’d expect with games like this, the online multiplayer is much more exciting. Race, Demolition Derby and King of the Hill modes are all fast, frantic and fun, and the pack is wisely filled out with AI racers when additional players are needed. King of the Hill is the stand-out game type, a ridiculous competition to accumulate the highest amount of “scrap” by trashing other racers’ cars. In Quick Match mode, the game types are selected randomly every round, so you may go from a King of the Hill game to a Race to a Demolition Derby in which are players are driving tanks. In other words, the multiplayer has the spontaneity and unpredictability that the single player mode lacks. If you’re looking for a solid, low-stress multiplayer game, you could do a lot worse than Scrap Metal. But if you’re primarily a single-player gamer, then you could definitely do better.