Scrappers

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Scrappers Game Poster Image
Simple side-scrolling robot brawler with a light eco theme.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The opening movie has a simple environmental message that suggests trash will be the end of life on Earth, leaving only robots behind. Co-operative play promotes teamwork with other players.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters don't have a definable personality and simply do their job. There's no character development here.

Ease of Play

In-game tutorials lead players through the basics, and objectives and controls are both straightforward: just grab trash, move it to the truck, and defend against rivals when they appear. Difficulty gradually grows, forcing players to become skilled fighters to successfully navigate their routes.

Violence

Robots attack each other with metallic fists as well as makeshift trash weapons that range from bats and swords to shotguns and chainsaws. Destroyed rival bots can be picked up and loaded onto a garbage truck for disposal. The player's bot simply respawns after a short period when defeated. All action is viewed from a side perspective.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some of the trash players pick up appears to be beer and wine bottles.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Scrappers is a retro-styled side-scrolling brawler for Apple Arcade. It's set in a world in which humanity's trash problem has led to the extinction of life on Earth, making for a simple but clear environmental message. Now only robots remain, and they're focused on salvaging as much waste junk as possible. Competing trash companies deploy their bots to salvage scrap. This leads to plenty of fights as the player's garbage bot does its duty. At first, rivals are dispatched with robot fists, but eventually the violence grows to include makeshift bats, swords, and guns cobbled together from the scrap. Destroyed bots can be picked up and thrown in the back of a garbage truck. Playing in co-operative mode allows groups of up to four players to cooperate, tossing trash to each other for more efficient collection and using teamwork to take down rival bots.

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What's it about?

SCRAPPERS' name is a clever little double entendre indicating that our robot heroes are not just professional garbage salvagers but also skilled fighters capable of defending themselves in a brawl. Indeed, the title pretty much sums up the experience, as the entirety of the player's time is spent moving junk to a garbage truck and fending off attacks from potential rival garbage crews. Why robots? Because the world has been wiped clean of life. After an ill-advised attempt to blast all of its trash into space on a giant rocket goes wrong, the ship explodes and rains deadly debris across the globe, leaving only robots left to clean up the mess. The game's broken into levels, with players' basic goal being to pick up and toss as much trash as possible into the truck as it moves along to up the value of the current haul. Your robot's attacked regularly by rival bots, forcing you to defend yourself any way you can -- using fists and weapons -- and then collect the debris of your foes' bodies like any other junk along your route. A co-op mode allows up to four players to work together, tossing garbage to each other for speedier recovery and teaming up to defend against enemies.

Is it any good?

Aside from its quirky garbage picking mechanic, this is a fairly straightforward side-scrolling beat-'em-up. Scrappers relies on a formula tried and tested by countless arcade classics, from Double Dragon to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, that has players punching and whacking enemies slowly advancing from the edges of the screen as the frame slowly moves from left to right. Like the games from which it draws inspiration, combat can be a little finicky -- you'll need to ensure you're on exactly the same horizontal plane as your target for your melee attacks to hit -- but is ultimately fairly fun and satisfying, especially when you get to pick up the broken metallic bodies of your enemies and toss them into your truck like the rest of the scrap you're collecting.

That brings up the second part of the game: Scrap collection. Picking up junk and hauling it to the truck for removal and salvage is a simple pleasure, but it can be difficult to manage when playing alone. Some types of trash are heavier than others, and keeping up with the slow moving truck while being attacked by rivals is a challenge. Things get much more fun when teaming up with others, which sets up the possibility to stack and toss heaps of rubbish between bots for more efficient collection. When everything's clicking it's almost like a robot circus, with your team stacking, moving, tossing, and beating in beautifully choreographed fashion. The trick, of course, is finding people to play with so you don't have to go it alone. Scrappers is a fun little throwback to the arcade era, but it has most of the same limitations as the classics that preceded it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Scrappers is broken into handy bite-sized levels and lends itself nicely to shorter play sessions, so did you find you had a hard time putting it down after just one or two levels?

  • Do you think much about what happens to things you throw in the garbage? Where does it end up? How long does it take to degrade and decompose? What happens when landfills are full?

Game details

  • Platforms: Apple Arcade
  • Price: $0.00
  • Pricing structure: Free (This game is available at no extra cost on iOS devices for Apple Arcade subscribers ($5/month).)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Q-Games
  • Release date: April 10, 2020
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Topics: Cars and Trucks, Robots
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptors
  • Last updated: April 22, 2020

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