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Game Info:

Scraps: Modular Vehicle Combat
Developed by: Moment Studio|
Published by: Moment Studio
Released: July 7, 2015
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, Steam OS
Genre: Simulation
Number of players: 1-8
Price: $14.99

 

Thank you, Moment Studio, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

I'm sure we've all been there – you're stuck in traffic, or cruising along at a decent speed, when all of a sudden someone cuts you off, or blazes past you doing 90 into oncoming traffic. You think some rather un-Christian thoughts about jerks like this. Sometimes you get to wondering... what if I mounted a machine gun to the hood? That might get people to reconsider cutting you off.... Or maybe some armored fenders to start edging people off the road if they ride in your blind spot for too long....

That could be a pleasant idea... until it gets to the point where everyone else is doing it, too.

Then it gets hilarious.

The premise behind Scraps: Modular Vehicle Combat is deceptively simple. Choose a chassis and a cockpit. Then go crazy with decking out your car with armor, guns, engines, cooling units and more blocks to make it as unique and dangerous as possible. Test it out on the field to make sure it runs as well as you hope. Tweak it some more until it's perfect.

Then drive it into the field of battle and see how you hold up while everyone else is gunning for you, too. If you destroy their vehicles, collect the smoldering wreckage so you can use their parts to repair your own battered vehicle. They'd do the same to you, given the chance. While in the repair screen, you can swap out parts – or even change vehicles entirely. Then get back out there and repeat until time runs out.

Scraps: Modular Vehicle Combat
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun vehicle-to-vehicle combat; creative mode
Weak Points: Wonky camera controls
Moral Warnings: Vehicles shoot up other vehicles and collect their remains

Whether you win or lose, take note of what you did. What worked well? What didn't? Modify your vehicle(s) accordingly. Then get back out there and cause some more wreckage. 

The game is still in early access and you can expect frequent patches before the official release date, but it's impressive with what's been implemented so far. What amazed me the most was the amount of customization you can do in the game, and I'm not just talking about the vehicles. You can play a single-player mode, and designate the length of the match, how many computer opponents you have, the level of their AIs, and even restrict what vehicles they can use. (For fun, try building a really bad vehicle, then giving it a high-level AI to see if the car really stinks as bad as you think. You may be surprised.) For connecting, you can either go for a LAN option, or hook up in Steam to play on-line against other players. One nice option for the LAN parties is that only one player needs to own the full copy of the game. Everyone else only needs the demo version, and they can connect in that fashion.

The game can be used either with a mouse-and-keyboard setup, or a twin-stick controller. The vehicle moves with the WASD keys, and the mouse handles the aiming reticules and firing of weapons. It also handles the camera controls, which can sometimes get a bit wonky. There were many times when the camera ended up looking down on my vehicle from above, and I had to manipulate the mouse to get it back to normal while trying not to be a sitting duck for my opponents. 

As the vehicles take damage, they spark and smolder, and can even lose parts. One of my first vehicles was poorly designed, with the engine exposed at the rear. When that was shot up to the point it fell off, my vehicle no longer moved. The developers have done a great job in determining how parts affect the performance of the vehicle, and this reminded me a lot of the classic Mechwarrior 2 in that aspect. Lose a part, and your vehicle functions accordingly. If your chassis or cockpit is destroyed, your vehicle erupts into a ball of flame and showers the area with metal scraps – which are often eagerly scooped up by your enemies. 

Scraps: Modular Vehicle Combat
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

If you can manage to get your vehicle to one of the glowing "evac" pads and keep it on there for three seconds (yes, it's possible to be rammed off the pad during this time, or even blown up while you're in the midst of teleporting away!) you're taken back to the design room, where you can use the scrap you've collected to repair your vehicle, or add additional components to your car. Once you're satisfied, a simple click on "redeploy" spits you out randomly into the battlefield again.

There is a bit of a leveling system in play – defeating enemies and collecting scrap earns you experience. Once you get enough experience, you gain a level, and also unlock new vehicle parts. As a result, those who have been playing the game for quite some time will have more building options than those just starting out – which may be seen as an unfair advantage. Fortunately, experience also can be gained in the single-player games, so those who want to test their mettle – and designs – against computer opponents first may be better equipped when they face off against skilled players. Not only that, it's possible to limit matches based on "point values" for vehicles, with 15,000 being the default, which is a respectable value for small to medium vehicles. Those who want to use larger guns or heavier armor may do so, but with a hard cap, they will have to sacrifice other functionality as a result. 

The music is quite limited, and the graphics are simplistic. There isn't much detail or texture to the shapes, but there really doesn't need to be. It's easy enough to tell what's going on, and most of the game is focused on the action. Since the game is still in early access, there are some limitations. As of this writing, there are only four maps that can be played on, and one game style (destroy your opponents before they destroy you).  There aren't too many people playing for multiplayer matches, either. Three servers were open to me, based on regions around the United States, but all were empty whenever I checked. There are other features that have been promised, such as a campaign mode, more arenas, and additional game modes. I'm not sure if there will be a level editor, but given the amount of customization the game contains already, I'm certain that it would be a welcome addition.

The game still has its share of flaws, but it shows a lot of great potential. If things continue to develop the way they have been, I'm sure that many of these limitations will be ironed out. For those that especially enjoy arena shooters and driving games, the $14.99 price tag is a great price for a lot of replay. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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