Review: Slime Rancher
Developer: Monomi Park
Publisher: Monomi Park
Platform: Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Life simulation
I’m not afraid to admit that I am a man that appreciates all things cute. I absolutely worship Kirby, and if a game has a light-hearted and enchanting art-style, I’m all over it. It should be apparent then, that when I first saw Slime Rancher from Monomi Park, that I couldn’t simply ignore it. A game about ranglin’ cute slimes that can resemble cats, moths, diamonds, and more, it certainly scores big points in the cute department. Thankfully, the gameplay is also surprisingly deep, making the game an absolute must-have.
Slime Rancher casts players as Beatrix LeBeau, a plucky young woman who sets out to the Far, Far, Range in the hopes of making a living as a slime rancher. There aren’t any cutscenes in Slime Rancher, rather, players read letters sent to Bea from her sister, as well as other ranchers and characters. It might sound like there’s something missing in the story’s delivery, but the mail system works fine and doesn’t intrude gameplay as much as constant cutscenes would. In fact, the mail system actually compliments the gameplay more than cutscenes, as it embraces the fact that players can enjoy the game at their own pace.
Once you get your bearings on the ranch, you’ll be introduced to the basics of slime rangling. Armed with your trusty Vacpack, you’ll suck up a variety of slimes including Pink Slimes, Tabby Slimes, Rock Slimes, Puddle Slimes, Rad Slimes, Diamond Slimes, and more. Each slime when fed or extremely happy will drop Plort, a gem-like object that can be sold on the Plort Market or used for developing science tools later in the game. It’s called “Plort” and we’re told that Plort is used to make a variety of everyday and rare items, but I can’t help but feel I’m selling a creature’s poop.
Your ranch itself can be upgraded and expanded, with vacant lots that can be turned into Slime corrals, gardens, chicken coops, storage silos and more. Corrals are where your Slimes will live, with a number of upgrades able to be purchased to meet to certain slimes’ needs. Some Slimes need to be kept in the dark, other more aggressive slimes need soothing music to be played, and so on. Your gardens will provide you with food for your vegetarian Slimes, after you’ve collected their food of choice and planted it. Your slime prefers meat? That’s where chicken coops come in handy for raising Chickadoos. Some slimes don’t like being around other slimes, so carefully planning how you’ll build and expand your ranch is recommended.
Your Vacpack itself can also be upgraded, giving you access to a jetpack, increased stamina and health, and more. Upgrading your Vacpack will allow you to explore previously unreachable areas, as well as discovering the secrets of the Far, Far, Range. And boy is there a lot to discover.
I was unaware that there would be so much to discover while playing Slime Rancher, and the mix of exploration, Slime ranglin’ and adorable art style has really won me over. The game can also be played at your own pace, which is great. There’s no pressure to move on to new areas or unlock the secrets of the Far, Far, Range – you can play the game however you please.
I can’t sing the praises of Slime Rancher’s visuals enough. Sure, the game is rather simplistic but the colours are bright and vibrant, and not one thing seems out of place. The environment compliments the creatures that inhabit it perfectly, the Vacpack and other gadgets are suitably wacky without seeming ridiculous, and it’s all met with a charming soundtrack and sound effects. As far as indie games go this is just about the complete package.
On a side note, the game is suitable for all ages, so long as kids can get the grips of using two analog sticks for movement. I recommended it to a friend with two kids, and it has become their new nightly game – definitely check it out, parents!
Ultimately, Slime Rancher is a rewarding experience that’s Vac-packed full of value and oozes charm. A must-play for fans of life sims and indie games. I cannot recommend it more!