Farm simulators have been around for quite sometime from the classic Harvest Moon series to the indie game Stardew Valley. But Monomi Park’s Slime Rancher brings about a cute and interesting take on agriculture – slimes.
You play as Beatrix LeBeau, a rancher who’s moved to a planet far from Earth, trying to give her hand at wrangling slimes. Hobson Twillgers’ old ranch is now yours and its your job to restore it.
In doing so you’ll be collecting, feeding and breeding slimes while exploring the wonders of the Far, Far Range. All this can be done at your own pace. The game has no set story for you to follow, it’s up to you to choose your adventure. That being said notes left behind by Hobson serve as a guide and provide some backstory. StarMail is also received regularly giving insight into Beatrix’s life back on Earth.
Slimes are the name of the game here and you have to get ’em. Most of your time is spent corralling different types of slime, breeding them together and feeding them to get plorts. Plorts are the main resource and you’ll want to be gathering them to trade for newbucks at the Plort Market.
Some of the more traditional farm activities have remain however and play a key role in the success of your ranch. From harvesting and planting fruits and veggies to raising hens (there’s 4 different types) there’s still a lot of work to do on this farm.
But that’s only half of what’s on offer here as there’s still 6 different environments to explore each with their own native slimes, resources and even puzzles to solve. There’s Gordo slimes who, with enough food, can lead to knew and exciting areas.
Controls are just as smooth and intuitive as other first person games. The WASD keys are used for movement with the E key for interacting with objects. Shift and Space are bound to sprint and jump. However, once the Jetpack upgrade is acquired for the Vacpack, holding down on Space will make you hover. The Vacpack’s shoot and suck functions are bound to LMB and RMB respectively. Cycling through the Vacpack’s contents can be easily done through the scroll wheel or through the numbers 1-5. And if you’re more comfortable with consoles, using a controller is also an option.
Visuals and Audio
The game has a crisp, clear and unique art style that works well with the game’s premise. It looks like something straight out of a cartoon, but not in a bad way as it still maintains a high graphical fidelity. The game’s expert use of colour is evident not only with its wide array of slimes but also within the environment. Slime habitats are vibrant and filled with varying landscapes to feast your eyes on.
The ranching experience wouldn’t be complete however without musical scores to go along with your journey. Music transitions seamlessly as you make your way through the different environments. For the most part the music consists of relaxing melodies that create the game’s care free and whimsical atmosphere. The pace kicks in however when danger approaches, or more specifically when feral and tarr slime approach, serving as a great warning for the unsuspecting player.
Although the game can get repetitive after awhile, I still found myself pouring hours into the game. It might have been the game’s visuals or the fact that I simply enjoyed making money from playing with slimes. That being said the game does provide 3 different modes for the player: Adventure, Casual and Five Day Rush. Adventure and Casual are practically identical with the only difference being that the latter removes the threat of tarr slimes. Five Day Rush is on the other hand is a time trial spanning over 5 days seeing how much money you can make with in that amount of time. I do believe adding multiplayer co-op down the line would add greatly to the game’s replayability and would be the perfect 4th game mode. Because as we all know, everything’s better with a friend.
Slime Rancher brings a fresh twist on the traditional farming simulator. The game blends concepts found in other games in the genre while managing to bring new and modern ideas into play. A must have for any fan farming game or those looking for a cool and engaging time-waster.