Slime-san, from developer Fabraz, is something truly special. While at first glance it looks like a Super Meat Boy clone or something of the sort, this game has so much charm, personality, and challenge that it sets itself apart and I couldn’t put it down. It is a game that rewards continuous play and forces players to learn the rules of the world or have no hope of survival. Each death, except for a few occasions, felt fully on me, and those are the difficult games that rise above all others.
Slime-san’s story starts simply enough. You are a friendly slime, going about your day, when you are swallowed by a huge worm. Now that you are trapped, it’s up to you to survive and escape 400 stages of platforming goodness. The way the levels are broken up are in groups of four. There are five different worlds, each with 20 stages, and each stage has four parts to it. At the end of each world, you are greeted with a boss fight, which are one of my favorite parts of the game and kept me going through to see what new and inventive boss will be awaiting me at world’s end.
In addition to the bosses, a couple other of my favorite aspects of this game are the art-style and music. Slime-san boasts a pixelated look that forgoes many options and sticks with a five-color approach. This allows the game to really highlight dangers and safe points and keep all that’s going on the screen from being too overwhelming and confusing. As for the music, most songs are extremely catchy and I find myself still humming them today, especially while I’m writing this review. The art and music fits this world perfectly, and they both really shine.
As for the gameplay itself, if you’ve played Super Meat Boy you will feel mostly at home here. You have the ability to jump and climb up walls, leaving behind a lovely trail of slime behind you. While the game starts as platform-heavy, the game quickly changes it up and throws challenges, such as disappearing blocks, moving platforms, collecting keys, changing sizes, and even controlling a ship, at you to keep the action frenetic, fun, and fresh. This allowed each new stage and world to hold a semblance of mystery that really fed into the “one…more…stage” aspect I love so much in games. I just couldn’t put this one down! Not every element presented was perfect, namely some slow moving barriers, but I knew that if I got through this I would be introduced to a new change, and the old would not be as focused.
Getting through all these challenges feeds into the simplicity and masterful control scheme that Slime-san provides. With only three moves; jump, dash, and slime, you can quickly learn how this game works, but mastering it is another story completely. Jumping is pretty self explanatory, but dash and slime alter the game ever so slightly. By using dash, you can smash through obstacles, and while doing so you also speed up time a bit. Slime, on the other hand, allows you to pass through certain walls and objects, and allows you to slow down time. Using slime, even when not passing through an object, was so helpful and gave you that extra second or so to plan your next move and made the difference between life and death many times.
Speaking of death, prepare to die A LOT. This is alright though, and must be accepted from the get go. Death is a way to learn. You are going into each stage blind and each failure will ultimately lead you to success if you persist and think about why you died. Also, thankfully, re-spawning is quick and painless, allowing you to try and try again without having to sit through a dreaded loading screen.
This aspect feeds into the replayability of this title and adds a reason to come back to stages after beating them. Scattered throughout each stage is an apple to collect that will take you ever so slightly from the critical path and force you to change up your strategy. What kept this stressful and difficult is that there is a time bar always running and if you take too long in a stage, a wall of acid begins to envelope the screen and with one touch makes you a goner. It’s fun to jump into a level and decide if you should collect each apple, just finish the level, or try to get the best time on a level to earn a trophy.
However, it doesn’t stop there. There are secret exits in some levels and by finding them, you are rewarded with a coin and a new character unlocked in town. Yes, you are not simply choosing levels, but you have the option to visit a town inside this giant worm where you can unlock cosmetic items, side panels for UI, mini-games, and different characters. These are purchased by the coins and apples, and once again, add another level of fun and progression to an already fantastic game.
Speaking of these characters, each new slime unlocked comes with a different type of ability or play-style. By selecting a different slime you can jump higher or dash further. This, however, comes with a cost as another ability may not be as powerful as it once was. It was fun to test these out a bit, but I mostly stuck with the standard slime and had more fun changing how he looked.
Slime-san is a fantastic platformer that fits perfectly on the Nintendo Switch. While some puzzles weren’t that great and the challenge could get a bit much at times, I mostly had a smile on my face or one of determination throughout my entire playthrough. I still haven’t unlocked all there is to be found in this game, but after playing hours and hours and still not getting tired of it, I’d say its safe to say this is one you shouldn’t think twice about purchasing. I do say that with the caveat that this is a tough and challenging game, and some may find it to be too much, especially if you aren’t willing to take the time to learn the ins and outs of Slime-san.
That being said, those jumping into Slime-San, will find a game you may be coming back to for years.
For more information, check out the official website.
A review code was provided for the purpose of this review.