NS Review – Slime-san (Switch)


I’m enjoying the Switch eShop at the moment. There’s now just under 100 titles on there to choose from and it keeps going from strength to strength. Not only are all of the big releases launching on there as well as physical, but also there has been a tremendous amount of high quality indie titles going up on the eShop as part of Nintendo’s “Nindies” promotional drive that they’ve been doing for a while. One such Nindie is this little retro-styled title; Slime-san.

The story of Slime-san is relatively simple; the titular hero has been swallowed by a giant worm to search for his father that was eaten by the same worm. With his little bird companion, Slime-san has to slowly work his way through the worm’s body, which is made up of isolated chambers that need to be traversed. Also, Slime-san isn’t the only story going on within the worm, however, as many other colourful (read: utterly insane) characters inhabit the creature with some of them even banding together to create a kind of city inside it. Finding and talking to these characters adds additional narrative layers to the game, albeit revealing nothing that would negatively impact the player’s experience if missed.

This makes up the gameplay of the game; the player has to get Slime-san through each level of this puzzle-platformer slowly using more and more of your possible moves and actions to progress. In each level there is always consistently the threat of the chamber you’re in filling with bile, which is indicated through and on-screen timer; however the level might also hold new enemies, new hazards, or even hidden pathways. Slime-san is what I would class as a multi-death experience, meaning that deaths really have no negative impact as the player starts immediately again from the beginning of the level, giving only a moment’s breather before the action starting up again.

This might sound like it would be a little too stressful to handle, but the game does an incredible job of slowly revealing it’s mechanics to you. For instance, early on the game indicates certain enemies and barriers are the same colour as your character, meaning that they can be phased through, a mechanic which also marginally slows down time. These multiple uses of mechanics also mean that the player has to think carefully about which action to take, which isn’t easy with enemies, instant death hazards, and a timer to deal with. Also, the remnants of your runs remain in the world, meaning you can just follow the slime trail again for the most part.

Within each level is also a bunch of apples, the acquisition of each requiring deviating off-course and usually needing thinking more cleverly about Slime-san’s repertoire. These apples are important as they are (oddly) the currency used within the worm for using in the city. Although the things you can buy here are largely cosmetic, some of them mechanically alter the gameplay. One of the examples of the latter is that you can purchase other members of the Slime family to play as, each of which has a different play style from one another. This can change movement speed, jumping height and dashing ability between each one, even adding unique abilities like a double jump.

As well as this you have the aesthetic changes like accessories for Slime-san (and his bird) and the ability to change the game’s entire colour palette to imitate things like the Gameboy and Virtual Boy (the latter of which being, true to form, mostly unplayable). There is a tremendous amount of things to unlock in the game for those that are skilled enough to find all of the apples. Furthermore, you can unlock some pretty stunning looking static borders for the game, which use some of the beautiful art-pieces from this game.

While on this topic, this game is an odd-ball from an aesthetic perspective. Overall, it falls into the same kind of bracket as Shovel Knight, opting for a retro-looking title with marginally updated graphical fidelity. This very much fits the gameplay, as the simple sprites and level design don’t distract from the gameplay but similarly wouldn’t have been too bad a call if it looked a little more polished too as the level design can look very repetitive. The music in the game is infectious chiptune tracks that are fantastically suited to the gameplay too; frenetic and bouncy, but as throwaway and forgettable as any given life in the game.

So, should you buy Slime-san? If you are a fan of multi-death games like Super Meat Boy (which I am), this is a fantastic and charming game that has plenty of content and puzzling levels to keep you busy and some of the strangest characters in gaming. If you’re easily frustrated by (or not a fan of) those sorts of games, Slime-san is doing nothing differently to satiate your play habits, especially for the price it is (£10 on eShop). One huge selling point for the game is that is has a tremendous amount of accessibility options, including those for colour-blindness, which is refreshing to see. A great little game, just a little over-priced.

Slime-san is out now on Nintendo Switch eShop
Thank you Head Up Games for kindly supplying this code to review.

 

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