When we first got our hands on this title during its Early Access period, we were not sure what to expect. It was easy to become smitten with Slime Rancher’s unique charm. It has been a delight to follow this game over the last 18 months. We have watched as developer Monomi Park nurtured their creation into a wonderful digital playground. While Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, CS:GO, Rocket League, and Sniper Elite 4 are dominating Steam Sales, Slime Rancher stands apart from the popular genres confident that it is offering something that is missing from PC gaming.
Slime Rancher is part exploration game, part management game, and part hybrid farming game, while retaining a casual play style that can still satisfy even old jaded gamers. It evokes flavors from games like Animal Crossing, Pokémon, and with a dash of the one time Tamagotchi sensation. So far the aforementioned titles have been very popular on Nintendo’s devices. Why has no one thought of bringing this to the PC realm? I’m stunned this is the first anyone’s made a decent go of it.
You plays as Beatrix LeBeau, a slime wrangler managing a slime ranch on another planet far from home. Your goal is to harvest a crystalline object named plort. Plort is what the cute lovable bouncy slime creatures, that inhabit your strange world, excrete when fed. Yummy! Acquiring one plort is easy, establishing an efficient ranch to efficiently amass wealth is a different story. There is an entire economy system that fluctuates (flatulates?) depending on the rarity of the precious plorts. In order to harvest the peculiar poop, you’ll need to catch and house these slimes, in corrals that suit their needs. The starting ranch area is littered with outlined sections. These square areas can be converted into cages, gardens, ponds, or other devices that facilitate running the ranch.
Cages are for housing slimes. Gardens will grow a food item that you place in its receptacle for a few cycles (keep in mind it will only grow something you have discovered and actually place in the receptacle). Everything else, like most things in this game, is just better left for the player to discover and tinker with on their own. You are armed with a trusty space vacuum that sucks mostly everything into it. Once sucked in, it’s another click to shoot it back out anywhere you’d like. So the immediate task at hand is populating these cages and gardens.
As you set out to explore your first area, you’ll encounter a horde of these jovial pink balls of goop. They coo and chirp as they bounce around happily eating fruits, and defecating dollar signs. Suck them up, and take them to your ranch. Shooting them back out of your vacuum with an unceremonious squishy splat, is kind of humorous at first. However, you can sometimes end up feeling bad for your slimy gold mines. Ignoring them can be bad as well, they’ll start drooling trails of blood down the side of their saddened mouths. Discontented slimes will tend to try to escape and never return. Focusing on any slime will give you their dietary needs in the upper right. Some eat only fruits, fruits and vegetables, meats, or perhaps everything. Keeping them happy with music, or blocking the sun with tinted cages, or whatever else they need is for you to discover on your own.
As you bring more and more slime types to the ranch, it is inevitable to discover that you can combine the popular plorts with other slimes and create a new giant combo slime. These new beasts usually offer combined dietary options, as well as pooping dual plort types. For example, I found a honey slime (which loves fruits), and I combined it with a boom slime (which prefers meats). The new creature was a hybrid honey comb slime that could explode but its diet preference was now fruit or meat. The caveat is that now this larger slime required high cage walls and other devices to prevent escapes. These additional cage options all cost moolah, and these new discoveries can at times cost you lots of plorts. There can be some frustrations as some gold and time are lost in failed self-created trial and error scenarios, but then again, it is also one of the best aspects of Slime Ranchers.
Aside from discovering new fruits, vegetables, slime breeds, and strange boss-type “gordo” creatures, traversing and exploring the many areas around you could be a game of it’s own. I have been through the same terrain of land twenty, thirty times, sloughing my valuable feces to and fro. Only to discover a slight ledge outcropping in the corner, one I hadn’t noticed before. Jumping over it, I soon discover a new island, that leads to a new door, which leads to a new area. These new lands usually contain the more rare slimes, some of which do not suck up or house as easily as their colorful cousins. Keeping your eyes open, and willing to take a risk with your trusty jetpack will almost yield rewarding and pleasant surprises ahead.
What is Slime Rancher? It’s a PC game that melds Animal Crossing, Pokémon, Viva Piñata and more into one, while retaining it’s own blend of originality. It is a game of surprises, discoveries, and satiating your ever changing curiosities as you explore and collect crap (literally). It’s a game that was charming and fun when it rolled out in Early Access almost two years ago, and is now fleshed out and content rich today. If you can’t tell from the astounding positive ratings on Steam, this is a must own PC game for fans of all ages. It’s low price tag for the hours of entertainment make Slime Rancher one of the best game purchases of 2017. Hopefully this isn’t the end of all things plort related, with enough support this is the type of game that could easily see more content in terms of expansion areas, new slimes, and who knows maybe even a sequel. Slime Rancher is currently on sale on Steam for $13.49.