A vast majority of games on the PS4 are designed to test your skills, your reflexes, or in some cases, your patience. While there’s certainly a place for game like these, sometimes you just need a palette cleanser, one that will keep you engaged, but will also put a smile on your face.
With its wide and varied colors, undeniably adorable slime species, and plenty of management options, Slime Rancher is here to give you a break from the chaos of modern gaming. Should you go on this retreat? Let’s find out!
Working Until The Slimes Come Home
Slime Rancher has a very hands-off story, but there is some character development and backstory for those who want to seek it out. You play as Beatrix LeBeau, a woman who has travelled far from home to take over ownership of a ranch on a strange alien world.
As the in-game days go by, Beatrix will receive messages at the console in her house which will flesh out her reasons for being here. You will also find holographic messages left by the prior owner of the ranch.
None of it is very deep or engaging, but it does offer some narrative for those who want to learn more about the world. While story is clearly not the focus here, I’m always someone who likes to see a compelling tale behind every game where possible.
Of course, the real focus here is on the gameplay. Slime Rancher offers a fresh take of the “slice of life” genre that typically involves farming, crops, relationships, and the like. Your main crop here is going to be various species of slimes that roam the world.
When fed their preferred diet, these slimes drop “plorts” which can be sold on a market that fluctuates each day, offering opportunities to sell when the market is high. To keep them contained, you’ll need to build pens to deposit them once you’ve captured a few out in the wild.
Your trusty 7zee Vacpac is the main tool at the beginning of the game. This gun allows you to suck in items and slimes for transport back to your ranch. As you discover more of the world, the game’s handy encyclopedia will help you keep track of the species, their diets, and the various upgrades available to you.
At the beginning of Slime Rancher, things can be a little slow and repetitive, but this is merely a product of the progression. You’ll spend the first several hours wandering back and forth across the same region of the world, capturing items and slimes as you build up a savings to build pens and upgrade them.
While you may be tempted to purchase a wide variety of upgrades or rush to unlock another part of the world, pen upgrades will be the main focus of your opening hours. Slimes, you see, have a tendency to escape from their pen until you build higher walls, ways to keep them calm, and other potential add-ons.
Without a reliable way to contain them, you’ll never be able to quickly feed them and harvest plorts. One upgrade, for example, will allow you to vacuum up all the plorts in a pen with the push of a button.
Depending on the species of slime, they can really wreak havoc on your ranch if you don’t keep them contained. Others will escape and go straight for the chickens in your coop, for example. Similarly, if you have a farm growing food, you may lose all of it to a rambunctious slime that gets out of its pen.
Once you’ve established a strong basis for containing slimes and you’ve unlocked some upgrades, Slime Rancher really starts to open up. New regions of the world will become available for purchase, new species will appear, and some of the more advanced mechanics will come to light.
For example, you can create hybrid slimes that yield multiple types of plorts. Fetch quests will also appear that give you a boost to your finances if you complete them. You’ll also come across more challenging slimes like the tarr and feral types that will try to attack you.
Despite the slow start, Slime Rancher will blossoms into a deep and nuanced experience when you get through the beginning hours. If you can establish a foundation on this strange new world, you’ll be rewarded with plenty more hours of entertaining gameplay.
A Vibrant and Inviting World to Explore
Slime Rancher’s vibrant aesthetic is a joy to behold. The expressive faces on the various species of slimes make them feel like real living things as well, which makes it fun to collect and care for them.
Performance is smooth and consistent, while the menus offer an intuitive interface that doesn’t overwhelm you with too much information. I think a stronger focus on story could have helped make the opening hours feel less like a drag to get your feet wet, but once Slime Rancher opens up, you’ll find this is one slice of life you’d be happy to spend your time in.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of Slime Rancher was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 11/27/18