Reviews August 11, 2017

Slime-san

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Reviewed By: Ricardo Benitez
System: Switch (Also on PC)
Genre: Platformer
Rated: E
Players: 1
Cost: $11.99
Release Date: 08/03/2017
Publisher: Headup Games
Developer: Fabraz
 
Upon loading up Slime-san, I was pleasantly taken aback by the five-colored retro aesthetic. Though I feel that pixel art is a bit overused in indie titles, I found this game’s graphics to be both nostalgic and comforting. The trailers I saw for Slime-san didn’t do it justice. The same can be said of the gameplay; I was just expecting another run-of-the-mill twitch platformer with some time trial thrown into the mix. As I delved deeper into the little smiling blob's world (which is literally, the belly of a worm), I found myself rooting for the little guy. Every time the game started to get stale, another new mechanic was thrown into the mix. Little did I know how much love and thought was put into this gem of a game. What I’m trying to say is that Slime-san is way more interesting than it initially seems!
 
The title sequence shows a cute pixelated green slime being chased by a monstrous worm. As you press start, the worm engulfs the protagonist and it all begins. Slime-san does an excellent job teaching you the ropes with an ingrained pseudo-tutorial, methodically adding new mechanics every level or two. Each level is single-screened, with an obvious exit to the labyrinth-like layout. Your job (as san) is to platform your way around obstacles Super Meat Boy style until you reach the exit. Take too long and red stomach acid will start to engulf the stage, prompting you to hurry.

slime-san-screen

As cute as the game's art style is, the gameplay is brutal. While running for your life you’ll burst through walls, morphing through cracks, slow time and more. Thankfully, tight controls and expert design help to keep you alive. This doesn’t alleviate all traces of frustration of course. It’s just good to know that when you inevitably die, it won’t be the game’s fault. This is especially true when I consider the boss battles. These well-orchestrated fights are some of the best I’ve ever experienced in a platformer – trust me, that’s saying something.   

Fabraz definitely took a page from the aforementioned “meat” game but altered the formula enough to make it their own. Everything from the art style to the interactive story is unique-ish. For one, you can go into your hometown and see what your slime family is up. Or you can head to a city within the giant worm where you can change the color palate and your slime outfit, play mini-games, and unlock different slimes with augmented abilities. There’s actually a lot to do and see beyond the 800 rooms – there were 100 levels made out of 400 rooms, which were then combined with 100 new game+ levels and…essentially, there’s a lot of platforming to go around*.

slime-san-screen-2

I know there are those who aren't fans of this type of game. For $11, which is a fraction of what a lot of Switch games are at the moment in the marketplace, it's definitely worth trying it out anyways. In the beginning, there is heavy platforming that you must get used to, but later on the more puzzling aspects start to show. This is where Slime-san shines the most (besides the great boss battles). The ability to shift gravity, collect items, dashing through obstacles, and more, makes it so hard to put down. Add to that, the music composed by multiple well-known chiptune names puts a finishing touch on a game that is almost perfect. Just keep a tight grip on your Switch. The frustration might just be enough to invoke a quick toss, sending the console towers the closest wall!
 
Gameplay: 10
The tightest controls I've put my hands on since Super Meat Boy. You are never out of control/have to deal with floaty jumps or sluggish movements.
 
Graphics: 8
Although pixel art seems to be everywhere, Fabraz has done something somewhat different and kept to a 5 color palette.
 
Sound: 10
Music is varied and amazing – the sounds match the art style.
 
Replay Value: 10
Just because you've beaten the level doesn't mean you've finished. There are plenty of collectibles to attain.
 
Final Score:
 
9.5


*Think 800 rooms isn’t enough? Well, fear not! There is a DLC being released called Blackbird's Kraken, which according to Fabraz, will be available at no charge for Nintendo Switch owners!