Indie developer, Monomi Park, has delivered a wonderful creation to the gaming world. Slime Rancher emerged from Early Access at the start of August and is a well crafted, utterly adorable game. The combination of farming and exploration in an alien, but light-hearted setting produces a fantastic experience that presents the player with something relaxing and intriguing.
In Slime Rancher you take on the role of Beatrix LeBeau. You have travelled far from Earth to seek your fortune on ‘The Far, Far Range’ where the task of collecting and farming Slimes will be how you make your living. You begin with a basic farm area and a small region of the map to begin exploring and collecting slimes with the aim of obtaining ‘plorts’ from the slimes and trading them for money. As you find different types of slimes and subsequently, more valuable plorts you gradually gather enough money to unlock new areas of the map and expand the farm. The core gameplay revolves around managing your farm. You grow plants, keep chickens and ensure all your slime coops are upgraded in a way that keeps the slimes within them happy. This involves keeping the slimes fed well, which in turn means they produce plenty of plorts. Unlocking new areas of the map and upgrading some of your equipment costs money to an extent, so the more you make and the more efficient your farm is, the easier it will be to progress through the content at a steady rate.
There is plenty of exploring to be done and once you unlock different sections of the farming area, new game mechanics start to reveal themselves. As well as farming the slimes and their relevant forms of food, you gain the ability to drill into the ground for resources and conduct research that will provide you with useful and upgraded items. These research items effect drilling and travel around the map, making life easier the more you unlock. As you explore you gain access to areas that cannot be unlocked with money and the lore of the Far, Far Range is gradually revealed through the places you uncover and through the information left behind by the person who was there before you. There is much to uncover in Slime Rancher and it is a very enjoyable journey of discovery.
As well as the slower, more relaxed pace of the normal play mode, you can also challenge yourself with the rush modes. Playing the 5 day Rush or similar will challenge your levels of efficiency and plort production, which provides a welcome addition for people of a more competitive nature. The game runs very smoothly and the controls are responsive, enhancing the overall delight that this game provides.
A fantastically adorable art style is Slime Ranchers main, immediate selling point. Bright and energetic, it is a game that is visually pleasing from the start and becomes increasingly endearing as you continue to play. The only visual downside is the design of the options menu, which looks oddly stuck together and unprofessional. In amongst how lovely the rest of the game looks, the rough appearance of the options menu is a minor point. With gloriously cute animations to accompany the wonderful creature design and general appearance of the world, there is very little to fault with the graphics.
Along with the fantastic art style and smooth gameplay, there is a lovely soundtrack to complete the collection of things that make this game as wonderful as it is. The upbeat and cheerful music blends in perfectly with the general theme and gels particularly well with the graphics.
A great game well worth its price tag, Slime Rancher is an ideal relaxation and exploration game for a wide variety of temperaments. There’s so much to love and an enjoyable experience is almost guaranteed.