Slime, eh? Indie developer Monomi Park, based out there in California (that’s America, apprently), clearly believes a great fortune can be made in the future by wrangling slime balls. Thusly, in the glorious Slime Rancher, you take control of woman Beatrix LeBeau who is one of those “I got attitude, b****!” type people. 1,000 light years from Earth, she sets on out to farm those slimes and make her way towards… superstardom, we guess.
As with many indie games, it’s a fun concept – the thing that grabs you first is the colourful world. The concept, of course, also stands out. It’s a life simulation (The Sims is probably the most famous example from the genre) set in an open-world with a FPS perspective. After a basic setup, you’re chucked into it all and, before long, you’ll wish you had a pet slime all of your own.
The title has been an early access gem since July 2016, but got its official launch date in early August 2017. World of Goo springs to mind when we look at the slime balls ecstatically flapping about the place, but there’s little similarity in how the titles play. Slime Rancher revolves around gathering cheerful slimes with something analogous to the gravity gun from Half-Life 2 – you feed the slimes you gather with the right food so they produce plorts, which are then exchanged for currency (i.e. swag/loot).
Players need to be careful with their slime feeding antics, however, as if you mix up foods a slime can turn from a beaming blob of delightfulness into a slime psychopath. In addition to this, with your loot one must upgrade one’s premises to house the slimes, so you really become rather singularly focussed on slime balls and their collective fate.
It’s a vibrant world you’re a part of which also becomes rather relaxing – the music is lovely and soothing, there are numerous atmospheric settings, and everything you come across is positively brimming with personality. You swoon and hurl yourself into the experience with gusto and, whilst it can become a bit repetitive at times, this is another indie gem which we feel vindicates our ongoing promotion of the indie scene, you blaggards.
It’s £14.99 (er… about $20, or something) and is out now on Steam and the Xbox One. Expect DLC in future, too, as this is an indie title so doesn’t require you to quit your job in favour of part time work in McDonald’s so you can thump 500+ hours into it. Indeed, Slime Rancher does exactly what you’d expect from just glancing at it – enjoy!
Bucking the FPS Trend
Despite mocking the mainstream industry’s overreliance on violent CoD clones, we do love FPSs, we just wish the genre wasn’t relied upon so heavily, and in such a tawdry manner, in order to generate sales. Titles like Call of Duty sell vast amounts and the above trailer (CoD WWII – set for 2017 release) will no doubt set multiple sales records upon release and be the year’s best-selling title.
Clearly we’re in the minority here, but when we see a game like Slime Rancher we get pretty overexcited and think “Gosh! How imaginative, we can’t wait to play it!” – conversely, when we saw the Call of Duty WWII trailer before the screening of Dunkirk this week, we thought: “That’s really in bad taste.”
The CoD games have been doing this for over a decade now and players have been able to battle through many famous WWI and WWII scenarios, but we somehow feel it would be better for this generation of teenagers (which the games are unquestionably targeted at, as is evident from the melodramatic, relentlessly atrocious dialogue in the cut scenes, gratuitous violence, and often moronic set pieces) to read about what happened during the two wars in canonical literature, essays, or by watching a few documentaries. Or, if it has to be a video game, Ubisoft’s magnificent WWI title Valiant Hearts is a moving option and a noble demonstration on how to handle a real war in a video game.
Instead, many are experiencing the appalling events of WWII for the first time by jumping into a ludicrous video game and thinking “OMG, bro, this is, like, sick as fuck!”, which is hardly the way to create a new generation of level-headed pacifists with a knowledgeable and well-reasoned consideration on warfare. Frankly, we’re taking the controversial fuddy duddy stance and think these games should not be in existence.
Now, if we posted these thoughts on a gaming forum we’d receive the usual mix of belligerence, death threats, incoherence, and slurs about our sexuality, but all we suggest is, instead of mindlessly heading out to pick up the latest AAA CoD title, why not fork out £15 for Slime Rancher, and £6 for Half-Life 2 – then you shall have the best of both worlds in two creative, intelligent, and well-considered titles. Innit, bro.