Due for release on April 7th, 2017, Slime-san is a small, frantic, indie platformer developed by Fabraz. With its frantic, upbeat, fast-paced, and humorous aesthetic and gameplay, there’s plenty to write about. Let’s take a look and see whether the game holds up.
Slime-san will be available on Steam on April 7th, 2017.
The story is pretty simple. You are a small slime – Slime-san to be precise – and you have been swallowed by a giant worm. Having to outrun the stomach acid, you must use your slippery, springy self to jump your way out of the worm. This is achieved through what the game claims are over 100 levels. In reality, each of these ‘levels’ appears to be split into 4 separate screens. This ultimately makes it feel more like over 400 levels. Honestly, that’s all there is to it! Just escape each screen before the stomach acid appears and try and escape the giant worm which you have haphazardly let consume you.
The gameplay is where the real fun begins. Let me just say this. Slime-san is begging to be played with a controller. Playing with a keyboard is hard to grasp and I quickly realised a controller was the only real chance I had at getting to grips with this game’s rather complex controls (for a platformer, that is). There are lots of combinations that must be executed, such as a dash, a morph, and a jump. You can do all three of these at the same time (and it is sometimes required, such as morphing while dashing upwards), and it can become frustrating to learn. While I never quite mastered the controls in my short time playing, even with a controller, they did become a lot easier and I was able to pass through levels with relative ease.
Slime-san controls like a typical platformer. Think Super Meat Boy. You have wall-jumping, twitchy gameplay, and a constant need for fast thinking. In addition to typical platformer mechanics, you also have a morph ability, allowing you to pass through green slime for as long as the button is held. This also slows down time, so it can also be used to give you some more time to think if you’re on a particularly tricky section. Touching any red slime, regardless of your morph status, kills you and you must restart back at the beginning of each screen. This morph ability is incredibly unique and I absolutely love being able to quickly jump through a stage while morphing through obstacles and even some green enemies. The constant barrage of red mixed with green gets you quickly thinking about where you need to be in order to get through.
If you take too long to complete a stage, stomach acid appears from either the top, bottom, left, or right of the screen to encourage you to hurry up. Take too long and you’re killed and you must restart. No waiting around now! Finally, one thing I adored about the game was the optional collectables on each screen. There is a green apple which you can collect, hidden somewhere on each screen. Being a bit of a completionist, I couldn’t stand one screen being left un-appled. I had to always restart to get it, even if I’d reached the end and could pass through to the next section. They’re usually placed in hard-to-reach locations, adding that extra layer of challenge to screens that otherwise wouldn’t be too challenging. It’s a welcome addition. These apples can then be spent on other characters (which affect movement) or skins (purely aesthetic).
A basic overview of the gameplay does not do this game justice, though. While I had some issues with the controls initially, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this game.
This game is begging to be a speedrun game – seriously. I will be very shocked if I do not see a strong speedrunning community form around this game, similar to that of Super Meat Boy or other twitchy platformers like it. Having had minimal speedrunning experience myself, I found myself doing whatever I could to finish the stage in the shortest amount of time possible, while of course collecting the optional apple. I found a few nifty little shortcuts, and a few “strats” as they’re known in the speedrunning scene that made me think to myself, “this could be used in an actual speedrun”. You won’t be finding me on any leaderboards anytime soon, though, I’m afraid. I’ll stick to the as-yet-unmentioned training levels, found within the dojo. You must break (dash into) all of the targets in a certain area in a specified amount of time. While some of these can be easy (completing them first try), some – like the maze level – take a considerable amount of planning, skill, and patience. Rewardingly infuriating, but always painfully fun.
The game adopts a very bright and colourful art style reminiscent of old retro games that I’m sure we’re all familiar with. In addition, however, the game itself has a very cute and friendly tone that contrasts well with the frantic and hectic gameplay. I’ve always been a fan of games that contrast these two things. They give you the best of both worlds – a game that doesn’t try and take itself too seriously or try and fill itself with an abundance of blood and gore, yet still maintains that reflexive and rewarding gameplay mechanic present in a lot of similar fast-paced platformers. I added a nice little bow to Slime-san with the apples I’d been collecting – a small little touch that made me feel happier than it probably should have done.
The layout and design of the levels are wonderful. All of the ones I played were very well done and jumping and manoeuvring felt flawless and effortless. Any problems I did have were down to my lack of skill, not the game’s level layouts. Of course, there are sections that are tougher than others, with some apples particularly hard to obtain, but nothing ever felt unfair or cheap. Everything felt like the standard trial and error you find in twitchy platformers such as this. You learn with each death and you’re excited to try again and do it correctly. The only slight nitpick I had with the presentation is that while the visuals are certainly vibrant and energetic, they’re all a bit similar throughout. It feels a bit repetitive and no room has any real standout or memorable qualities in terms of visuals, which I do understand may be a stylistic choice. This honestly isn’t that big of a deal, and I still had a great deal of fun with the game in terms of admiring its visuals and art style.
What a fantastic soundtrack. I am a huge fan of chiptune, and this fast-paced, retro soundtrack really helps bring the game’s franticness to life. The music and sound effects combine to generate what is undoubtedly the main appeal of the game, the fast-paced nature. Even well before the acid comes to chase you through the remainder of the level, you already feel as if you are under immense pressure to complete it. Each reset doesn’t make you want to slow down, it makes you want to speed up, completing this attempt faster than your last regardless of what the consequences are – the music really just thrusts you straight back into the action. This is very similar to Super Hexagon, which gives you no breathing room – the music really emphasising how important it is that you keep going, faster and faster until you complete the level. A wonderful addition to an already stellar platformer.
Slime-san is a wonderful twitchy platformer, rivalling similar games such as Super Meat Boy. It’s high octane, high action, and high energy all the way through. With a stellar sense of humour, as shown through the numerous NPCs you encounter in various levels, you’ll fall in love with Slime-san. Addictive in nature and packed with plenty to offer, it’s a game that never lets up and begs to be played over and over – down to the last collectable. Fans of this genre or this style of game should definitely give Slime-san a look on April 7th, 2017 – you will not be disappointed.
|+ Addictive, fast-paced gameplay||– Controls can be a bit hard to grasp|
|+ Wonderful chiptune soundtrack|
|+ Cute yet humorous aesthetic|
|+ Lots of replayability via collectables/achievements|