Scrap Riders – Review
Follow Genre: Point-and-click, Beat 'em up
Developer: Games for Tutti
Publisher: Microids
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Scrap Riders – Review

Site Score
Good: Enjoyable beat 'em up combat
Bad: Poorly written dialogue
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

With a title like Scrap Riders, you’d be forgiven for assuming that indie developer Games For Tutti’s latest release would be a demolition derby style race game. What you’re getting instead, however, is a post-apocalyptic adventure game that pays homage to Mad Max, Blade Runner, and even Futurama. To top it all off, it combines Leisure Suit Larry-like point-and-click gameplay with Streets of Rage-like combat. It’s an odd combination for sure, but we’ve seen other games pull off stranger genre mashups. Is Scrap Riders salvageable or is it ripe for the junkyard?


Set in a Mad Max-esque post-apocalyptic world dominated by evil mega-corporations, Scrap Riders introduces us to an unlikely hero of sorts, low-level smuggler and wannabe thug Rast. After a heavy night of drinking, Rast wakes up with a hangover and to get over it, he just wants to play video games. Unfortunately for him, however, having a lazy Sunday is not in the cards. Rast is a member of the titular Scrap Riders, an outlaw motorcycle gang. The wastelands of post-apocalyptic America aren’t just the playground of the Scrap Riders, as they’re constantly vying for control and resources with other gangs. One of these rival gangs manages to get hold of a rare and precious item that belonged to the Scrap Riders, and it’s now up to Rast and his companion, the perverted robot 50n1, to set out and reclaim it.

What follows is a wacky adventure filled with oddball characters, dangerous situations, and mind-boggling puzzles. In theory, at least, because in practice, Scrap Riders’ writing is a bit of a letdown. Most of the narrative is delivered through lengthy, unskippable dialogue which you’ll often have to re-read over and over again when you make the wrong choice in the dialogue tree. Many of the jokes are cheap and vulgar, and failed to elicit even a chuckle from us. Hearing 50n1 declare over and over again which sexual acts he’d want to perform on pieces of machinery gets old fast. It’s a shame because the game’s setting and characters have potential but the juvenile humor and drawn-out writing really hurt the overall appeal. It’s also clear that the writers weren’t native English speakers, as the dialogue isn’t just littered with spelling and grammar errors, but sentences are often oddly constructed. It’s easy to figure out from context what the game is trying to tell you but some additional care would have gone a long way here. Finally, sentences in speech bubbles are broken up in odd ways, adding another unnecessary layer of frustration to the writing. That final point might sound nitpicky, but it’s something that happens throughout the entirety of the game and so it becomes frustrating rather quickly.


The quirky cast that populates Scrap Riders’ derelict towns and desolate landscapes is rendered in a cartoony, pixelated art style. The art direction is fantastic, with great character designs and a clean and easy-to-read interface. The environments are lovely and filled with details, and they range from dusty Western-styled towns to futuristic Blade Runner-inspired cities. However, there often isn’t enough contrast between the characters and the backgrounds, making it sometimes difficult to see what is happening as things start to blend together. This also makes it a pain to figure out which objects you can interact with occasionally, which is a bit of an issue for a point-and-click title. On the upside, the game’s simplistic graphics aren’t too taxing on the hardware and we didn’t notice any visual performance issues on the Switch.


While Scrap Riders lacks voice acting, the music more than makes up for that. The soundtrack is befitting of the atmosphere that the game attempts to convey, and although we wouldn’t have minded a little more variety, the tunes never got grating or on our nerves. Sound effects are decent enough, especially during the fight sequences where they add some gravitas and “punch” to the on-screen action. Games for Tutti went for a faux-retro visual style and translates this into the soundscape as well, with the audio falling somewhere between a true 16-bit soundscape and a more modern synthwave interpretation of the style. This middle-ground approach is surprisingly fitting for Scrap Riders as we see this reflected in how the game doesn’t stick to a single style of gameplay either.


By combining classic point-and-click style gameplay with beat ‘em up arcade sequences, Scrap Riders provides players with a genre-defying experience. While it doesn’t really push the limits of either half, it’s this unique blend of genres that makes Scrap Riders a memorable experience. Unlike most point-and-click titles, Scrap Riders follows a linear, level-like structure. This does undermine the point-and-click gameplay somewhat, because by “sectioning” off the gameplay, a lot of what could have made Scrap Riders challenging is lost. If you’ve ever played a humorous point-and-click adventure game in the vein of Whateverland or Quest for Infamy, you already know what to expect from the majority of what Scrap Riders has to offer. You’ll be wandering around the different environments, talking with various NPCs, and solving puzzles, many of which require using unlikely items that you happen to find along the way. Typically, games in the genre take on a semi-open-world approach and early game objects don’t really come into play until much later on, but this isn’t the case here. Point-and-click aficionados will find Scrap Riders to be a straightforward and even repetitive affair, though newcomers might be more forgiving.

We actually expected Scrap Riders to be underwhelming when it came to the beat ‘em up combat, but the game pleasantly surprised us in this regard. Punches and kicks can be chained into combos and you can use random objects as throwing weapons. Rast also has his trusty gun, which can also be used in combat, provided he has ammo. In practice, this means that you won’t simply blast your way through the levels, instead relying on your gun as your ace in the hole option. While Scrap Riders’ combat isn’t as fleshed out as something like Scott Pilgrim, there is still plenty of fun to be had here. Boss battles in particular are highlights and will really test your dodging skills. Out of Scrap Riders’ two halves, this is clearly the superior one. It’s a shame then that combat happens a lot less than we would have liked, with the majority of the game spent in the point-and-click sections. Scrap Riders isn’t a very long game anyway, and can be completed in around 5 hours. Having more and lengthier combat sequences or perhaps a separate brawl mode would have increased both the game’s longevity and its value, because right now, the $19.99 asking price feels a bit steep.


If we’re being generous, we’d say that Scrap Riders is a mixed bag but in all honesty, the game is a showcase of wasted potential. We were ready to fall in love with the world and the characters, as the premise is decent enough and the idea of mixing a point-and-click adventure with beat ‘em up arcade gameplay is interesting, to say the least. Unfortunately, the excellent art direction and fun combat sections aren’t enough to salvage the lackluster adventure portion, which is dragged down by uninspired point-and-click sections and poor writing. There isn’t anything inherently bad or wrong about Scrap Riders, but there aren’t any real reasons to recommend it either.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Scrap Riders - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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