Coming out of early access in 2017 Slime Rancher tells a loose story of Beatrix LeBeau, a Slime rancher. She sets off for Far, Far Range, encounters notes from the ranch’s previous occupant, and receives sporadic letters from ‘Casey’. All of this whilst wrestling unruly slime into pens to milk them for plorts (read: poop).
This content was reviewed playing a purchased copy.
Setting & Music
The game is divided into approximately 5 areas, each distinct from the other in look. But in functionality all save the final area are largely the same. Whether you’re surrounded by trees or rocks there isn’t really much difference except the creatures that live in each environment. The areas are quite standard (excepting the final area); desert, forest, caves etc. And so any exploration was solely to see what new slimes you can see in an area.
Each area has it’s own music as expected and there’s quite a range there. The music suits each area but doesn’t seem to add much to the experience and will blur into the background. Not necessarily bad for a game like this, but not one I’d get the OST for.
The gameplay is actually very good in Slime Rancher, you, as Beatrice have a vacpack that allows you to suck up, or shoot out a variety of objects. On your ranch you have a number of pens that allow you to hold slimes, chickens, veggies or fruit. And thats pretty much the gist of the whole game. You can use your vacpack to pick up slimes you want and deposit them in the pens. And once they’ve been fed you can pick up their plorts to sell. Once you’ve got the gold you can upgrade your ranch to hold more slimes, to make rarer plorts to earn more money, to buy more upgrades…..you see where I’m going with this.
Although the gameplay loop sounds repetitive on paper, theres a good variety of slimes that you can find. And whilst going through new areas you’ll spot a new slime that you have to have for your collection. You’ll then be able to combine two different types of slime into Largos. These chunky guys will give you two different types of plorts. But beware of these largos eating a different plort than what they produce (yes, slimes eat their own poop), else you’ll have a Tarr outbreak on your hands.
Tarr are the main threat in the game and can decimate your ranch, they’ll eat other slimes and spread their tarr-y-ness. They’ll even take a bite out of you if they can. During my playthrough I only had the one Tarr outbreak and they’re pretty easy to prevent. But things do heat up quickly if they occur. The only other threat comes from some some other slimes that may or may not explode/attack if they’re hungry.
Although the core gameplay at the start is fun, once you progress to the late game it slows down. By that point you’ve broken the economy, and the automation options for your farm are limited. They will also require quite a bit of rarer resource farming which got a bit tedious. Once my automatons were in place, they still needed attention from me, and they were limited in what they could do. Finally, the lack of any way to increase your inventory slots was a major cause of irritation. Especially when exploring new areas.
Characters & Story
Casey, Hobson and Beatrice are the only named characters in Slime Rancher. The first will periodically send you letters talking about your life with them before moving to Far, Far Range. The letters themselves add a little life to your silent protagonist. However, they were largely filler that failed to provide anything more than the tiniest amount of context. Hobson is the previous owner of Far, Far Range and provides a few more life lessons and I did find myself mildly interested in why they had left. Neither really added much to the game however. They actually caused the end of the game for me, when the credits rolled at a random point in the ‘story’ I felt no real desire to go back and perfect my ranch due to the aforementioned lack of late game.
The real characters are the slimes. There are many varieties from Honey, to Water, Crystal to…Cat. All of them provide their own unique plorts, and all of them were charming and cute. I very much enjoyed seeing what new slimes each area had and what the Largos ended up looking like.
An adorable game that I recommend if you like collection games. It is limited by ok level design and the lack of late game content. I spent approximately 30 hours playing. I would recommend picking up if you can, but the first ~15-20 hours are certainly the best.
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A Charming game with some unexpected depth without much late game
- Overall - 7.5/107.5/10
+ Unique and Cute Slimes
+ Min/Maxing your Ranch is satisfying
– Lack of Late Game
– Bland environments