Well I’m going to just say it. I had zero desire to play Slime Rancher, zero. I wanted nothing to do with it. It’s funny because when I get assignments for games I don’t want to play I always try to push them to the last minute. Like seriously I’m a hardcore gamer. I like action, I like puzzles, I like strategy, I like exploration. I’m not going to find any of this in this game I thought to myself. Boy was I completely wrong. Slime Rancher is one of those games that you can’t judge by the cover.
In Slime Rancher you are armed with your trusty vacuum and you hunt for slime to capture and harvest them in your farm. This is the short description of the game but it’s so much more than that. I’m not exactly sure what the end game is for Slime Rancher or if there even is one. You start off in this small section of your farm. On your farm you have to make holding pens to keep your slime. You also have other options like making a garden for food or building ponds. Each little addition to your farm has a function that adds to your success. Also in this beginning section to the left and the right of you there are blocked pathways that lead to other “Ranches” for you to work on. You can unlock those paths later on when you have enough money. These are extra areas to harvest items and keep slime you have caught.
There are a large variety of slime to capture. Each one with its own attributes. Pink slime are the most common. They eat anything and are constantly reproducing. Also when they eat other slime they gain that slime’s attributes but they stay the same color. You also have blue rock slime that eat Veggies. Grey slime that eat meat and the list goes on. During my play time I came across about 6 different types of slime. Later on in the game if you have your pens ready you can put various types of slime together and cross breed them. This is huge since you need the slime’s Plorts in order to trade for currency to level up your trusty Vacuum. What the heck are plorts you may be asking? Well each type of slime poops out certain gems called plorts. You get X amount of money depending on the type of plort you trade. Here’s where things get very interesting with the slime. When you cross breed you can create some rare plorts that are only found in certain sections of the world. Rare plorts = mega money.
For an early access game the world is massive. At first it seems very linear but the world branches out and gets larger and larger. I was very impressed by this. I spent hours exploring, finding new areas to get to and once I unlocked a jet pack power up, I was able to explore even more unseen areas. There are also sections in the game that are blocked off and you can only unlock them when you get these slime keys. During our live stream we were able to get to a locked slime key area with the jet pack. This new section was as large if not larger than the first exploration area. It just seemed to keep going and going. In these new areas I found some Giant slime that just wanted to eat. I began to back track to the first area I was in, only to find a new section I hadn’t seen before with a giant pink slime at the end of a bridge. It also wanted to just eat. So that’s what I did, I fed it. I was starting to think I was wasting my time after a few runs back and forth gathering food to feed this thing. When finally the slime exploded and to my surprise I got my first slime key. I about lost it with excitement. I had looked all over the place for one of these keys and it was in front of me the whole time. Very clever by the dev.
As I mentioned earlier I had unlocked a jet pack. You have various power ups and unlocks in the game both for the player as well as for your trusty vacuum. The vacuum is going to be your harvesting tool as well as your weapon. You can harvest a few slime and use them projectiles to fight off enemies. You will have to think outside of the box when fighting some of the harder enemies. I’m not going to go to in-depth with it as it’s a very nice surprise when the encounters happen.
The art style started to grow on me after my hours with the game. I started to look around in the distance over the ocean and just stare looking at the sun sets, while listening to the relaxing melody in the background. The music is quite pleasant but it can get old after a while. Maybe they could add a few tracks later on to give a break from the main track being on a loop.
Overall I had a very good experience with Slime Rancher. This was a game that gave me one of the biggest curve balls to date. A game that I wanted to avoid became a game that I just wanted to keep exploring in. You don’t have to farm. You can explore to your heart’s desire. If you are a harvester then the farming aspect is right up your alley. If you are a creator you can cross breed slime till you have no more ranch space left. I’m looking forward to the final version of this game to see if there is an end game. Or if it’s an endless game like Minecraft what other elements will they add. If you have a weekend where you are tired of playing the same ole thing and want to try something different. Then go scoop this up. I guarantee that the 2 hours you are trying to kill will turn into a few days. This is the perfect game to play with siblings or if you are parents, something to play with your kids.
Have you played Slime Rancher? Let us know what you think in the comments or the RGM Forums.