PC, PS4, Switch

Each video game establishes its own degree of literacy–which is, each new game that you plays has to teach them the ways of its own language. This will usually come in some form of tutorial, whether they be optional or part of whatever story the game is telling. Simply put, games go out of the way to generate sense for your player.  Slam Land is now a movie game that eschews all of that.

Besides a brief tutorial which shows players how to proceed, jump, and “slam,” that this four-player bash game makes no attempt to instruct players its own mechanics, and may not be any vaguer in describing its own set of attributes. The intriguing thing about Slam Land, nevertheless, is that its disorientation seems to be by design.

Assigning only one genre into Slam Land will be disingenuous–it’s a motley combination of several genres, including partysports, and stage fighter, a la Super Smash Bros. The basic mechanic of this game is “slamming,” which involves players picking up either players or items and dunking them into a designated spot. The action, which can comprise up to 3 players, takes place on large, 2D stages.

The premise of the game is equally as nebulous as everything else surrounding it. While other games have silent and mysterious narratives, they leave pieces behind in the surroundings for your player to collect some ideas about the world. Slam Land includes very few bits to work with, however, the game revolves around a bunch of grotesque-looking characters attempting to impress some sort of giant, grim head deity, together with “powerful and majestic slams” function as the primary method of doing this.

There are no named characters within the game, but you’ll find variants of these playable avatars, including people, dogs, skeletons, carrots, and spiders, all which play the exact same. With or without any lore for the game, watching these figures in motion looks like a straight-up acid trip, improved with nonsense words, phrases, and onomatopoeias like “DOUNK! ” There’therefore a discomforting character to the look of the game–but admittedly, it makes it amusing and entertaining in its own bizarre way. Slam Land is truly eccentric, but its unpredictability adds a unique charm which gives it its own identity. While I wish there were components like animated cutscenes or voice acting to texture the entire world of this game longer, I couldn’t help but grin and laugh at a lot of the onscreen absurdity.

Slam Land

Slam Land provides five game styles, none accompanied with no instructions, but all self-explanatory from the name itself. Quick Slam is your core game kind, where players attempt to pick up each other and dunk them into the “hoop,” that might be a literal hoop, a tree trunk, or anything mad like a giant blue worm. Peanut has players struggle over a peanut–the more one retains the peanut, the more points it stacks up, and then trapping the peanut into the hoop will score that player the points that it retains. ” Junk will have players pickup and stack several garbage bags to dip. Finally, Slam Tour shuffles through All the game over kinds around after round. These rounds are timed, with the choice of inventory games.

Where the game falters is, well, with all the actual gameplay . -esque is probably giving Slam Land too much credit, as it creates the false consequence of several movement and control choices which may be scraped together. The tools at the players’ disposal entail picking up, throwing, dodging, and an uppercut movement to disrupt or stun opponents. If players have been dunked, or abandon the bounds of this map, they respawn through a Smash Bros.. -like floating stage. There are a few neat tricks to be utilized–for example, one could select up another player who’s already carrying the other player to potentially score a number of factors. However, the lack of emotion about how these mechanisms operate, tied in with the game’s inexplicable physics, so ultimately bring this otherwise charming game down.

Slam Land

This is where the disorientation truly puts in.

A core difficulty with Slam Land is the lack of any consistent momentum from the game’therefore physics. My principal method of attempting to stop an opponent from dunking a thing to the hoop was the uppercut; I would attempt to intercept them before they reached their destination. But since I moved in the direction of the hoop, employing the uppercut would stop all of my momenta, stopping me in my place, just short of this player I was hoping to prevent. It certainly didn’t aid that the uppercut wasn’t a part of the game’therefore tutorial, just found from the natural tendency of mashing every darn button on the controller.

As soon as you have ownership of an object, the player can dip it into the hoop by jumping into the decoration, thing in hand, or by tossing it into. Back in midair, an arrow indicator can look for the purpose of throwing objects, however my multiplayer test subjects and that I had difficulty figuring out how to get this indicator, and the way to follow along with a throw–so we button mashed off, to mixed results. In the ground, items could be thrown or uppercutted into the hoop, giving players a few choices about how to score.

When you are picked up, it is unclear how to get out of the hold of the other player. To start with, there wasn’t any sign on empathy –if a player is thrown or punched to the air, they are not able to go for an amount of time, and there’s no visual sign that they are at a state of empathy. Owing to that, players will find themselves falling into hoops or off the stage free of method and little hope for escaping.

It was tricky to understand what was really happening during gameplay–in some historical stage, the idea of literacy has been thrown entirely from the window. Players will shed an eye on their own personalities and will score and also be performed on without understanding how it occurred, taking all potential satisfaction off.

Slam Land

From figuring out how the game modes performed, to finding tricks such as picking up heaps of players, there’s a whole lot of communication between players for a competitive party game. However, this feeling of discovery runs out quickly and finally turns into confusion.

While there was fun to be had with all the absolute bonkers nature of Slam Land, the pleasure ran out really quickly. It soon became evident that the mechanics were half-baked, and the disorientation that the game is dependent on for fun eventually turns into aggravation. At $7.99, the game is at least at a good price–but with numerous four-player activity party games on the market, the only reason to opt for this on the remainder would be to take a look at its weirdness, and that might only last one hour at most. There are far more coherent, if but less brassy, games of its ilk on the market, ultimately making Slam Land a more tough sell.

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