One slime. One bird. One mission. Slime-san pits you as a gelatinous blob, separated from his family on the fateful day when a giant WORM appeared and ate him! Along with a entire village civilization apparently. Using a template of tried-and-true twitch-based precision platforming action, Slime-san is a swift and refined execution of the genre like few games before.
You’ve played something like this before: you go fast, you sprint and wall-jump through precarious screens of action, dodging traps, enemies, and more! Think Super Meat Boy. Think INK (invisible stages aside.) What sets Slime-san apart are its breakneck pace, fun and inventive movement options, and its distinct artistic scheme.
Featuring a classic Gameboy Color artstyle, complete with 4:3 aspect ration, Slime-san is a world of black and white. Well, literally it’s a world of green and red (or pink and orange if you’re using the right colour scheme.) Green is good and red is bad. This binary essence to the palette lends instant awareness to every threat present with alarming clarity.
Anything red will kill you on contact, and anything green can be interact with via your unique slimey powers. The left trigger will allow you to both slow down time, and phase through any solid blocks of green. This ends up being a super-tight balancing act bouncing between platforms and falling through them with precision timing; all the while keeping up the pace lest you face certain demise.
Just like the fate of our courageous hero, you are in a state of persistent peril in Slime-san, as you strive to avoid ingestion. The acid from the worm’s stomach will begin to fill each room after a short period of time, giving you just seconds to complete each trial. Trial, error, and quick reflexes are necessary to survival. You must make maximum use of the various tools at your disposal to clear the stages, and the challenges present.
In addition to your slime-bending capabilities, you can also dash in midair in four cardinal directions. Using these simple, standard controls, you take on constantly changing obstacles. From ships you need to fuel with slime to move forward, to platforms which alternate in tangibility when time slowed, to balloons you must bounce between to ascend to greater heights, to so many more. Just when a mechanic has been used to its fullest extent, it is cast aside to make room for the next fun mechanic. This keeps the pace of the game lively and exciting, and no setpiece becomes trite or boring.
The difficulty and challenge in not only completing each level, but collecting every apple is tantalizing, brutal, and ever so satisfying. On top of all of this is impressive amount of content present. With over 100 levels, each with typically about 4 sections each, and multiply that by 2with New Game+, and that’s around 800 puzzles to solve and death defying stunts to complete. It took me well over six hours to complete the first run through of the game.
The challenge and gameplay of Slime-san go hand-in-hand with the cohesive tone. From the graphics to the interactions with the characters, every interaction is logical and consistent in presentation. The dialogue is funny and endearing, the fellow inhabitants of the worm are bizarre and memorable, and you can tell great love and care went into every pixel.
Despite this, the game barely breaks past the staples of its franchise, and I feel as if I have played it before. While the journey in Slime-san is rewarding, I’m struck by the thought that after closing the game down, aside from leaderboards and high scores, it will be forgotten in a short while. This does not mean the experience was any less good, though perhaps not quite as remarkable.