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Scrap Review: Programmed For "Average"

Scrap offers respectable auto-running fun for the Switch but its barebones package and short length hold it back from being anything but forgettable.

Scrap, developed by Woodland Games and published by Ultimate Games S.A, assembles a tried and true tale of an adorable robot breaking out of his factory prison to find freedom in the outside world. That premise feels as well-worn as the auto-runner genre the game occupies, leaving one to wonder how it will shake things up. The short answer is that it doesn't; however, Scrap’s adventure does offer an adequate, if fleeting,  “one of those” that performs its simple job quite well.

As with all auto-runners, the robot moves forward on its own with players controlling his jumps to avoid obstacles and enemies. Platforming feels nice and responsive which means the blame for failure falls on the player instead of the game. After a breezy first few levels the challenge ramps up in a hurry. The robot soon find itself evading laser fire, land mines, gun-toting machines, and crumbling platforms among other hazards.

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Smartly placed obstacles prey upon predictable player reactions and demand split second adjustments. Learning how to juggle power-ups like speed boosts, high-jumps, and temporary shields further spice up the experience. One of the best is a slow-motion power that requires players to slow their trigger fingers for careful navigation. The goings can get tough but good checkpointing and no real penalty for failure means trial and error ultimately conquers all. Still, Scrap’s challenge remains consistently entertaining and never devolves into unfair territory. Like any auto-runner worth its salt, you’ll likely find yourself declaring “just one more run” after each demise.  

Scrap features 30 stages across three worlds. The sharp art style looks nice even though the worlds themselves don’t feel distinct or memorable. A similar criticism can be lobbed towards the dull soundtrack. Every stage presents the same bonus objectives: win without dying, earn x-number of cells, and jump a certain number of times. Earning every objective in each stage unlocks three post-game bonus levels but there’s no compelling incentive to chase these goals otherwise. The entire package in general is completely barebones. There’s the campaign and that’s it. That wouldn’t be as much of an issue if Scrap wasn’t so disappointingly short.

Since a level can be finished in around 60 seconds tops, the game can easily be completed in a single, brief sitting. What’s most disappointing is that Scrap wraps up just when it feels like it’s hitting its stride. The ending itself feels rather unceremonious too. An abrupt credits screen immediately pops up once players cross the final finish line. That’s perplexing given the cute animated shorts that sprinkle the adventure; why not have one at the end to send the story home? Fortunately, an upcoming free update will add a new world with additional levels so it may be best to wait until that hits before giving Scrap a go.

Scrap offers a respectable but forgettable platforming adventure. The exceptional foundation is held back from a short length and a lack of bells and whistles around the edges. What is there, though, can be fun for what it is and has potential to grow into something special with future updates. You can do worse but there are also better alternatives for auto-running goodness.

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Scrap is available now on Nintendo Switch. Screen Rant was provided with a digital Switch copy for the purposes of this review.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
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