Game Review: Slime Rancher

[The following is a guest review from DrXan.]

Release Date: 2017
Version Played: PC (via Epic) in 2021

The first and currently only game from Monomi Park, Slime Rancher is an adventure/slime-farming game released in 2017. You play as Beatrix LeBeau a new ‘rancher’ on the far-off slime inhabited world of the Far Far Range. Your goal is to explore, raise slimes and follow the meandering yet beautiful story set out across this new open range.

+ from the environments, to the gadgets, to the slimes this world feels well realised and very well represented in a colourful and cute art style with just enough details to make everything distinct at a glance
+ the world itself feels huge – especially in the early game with limited movement options – and is criss-crossed with paths, shortcuts, and small hidden enclaves of the eponymous slimes
+ the slimes themselves vary in their personalities and traits and it was always interesting to stumble across a new example and have your Slimepedia update telling you that this one is nocturnal, violent or radioactive. The variety is large but never feels overwhelming even as you explore further afield
+ characters are few and far between on the Far Far Range, mainly communicating via a trading system and some other dialogue, but they are all surprisingly fleshed out in terms of their motivations and passions that brought them to this new world. Hobson Twillgers, your predecessor on the ranch also leaves you notes ranging from the informative to the touching
+ the absolute highlight of this game is the story: it’s heartfelt and heart breaking even when it is presented just as words in an email. Although you play as Beatrix she seems to have her own life, motivations and conversations via email when you aren’t around and all of these speak to her motivation and what she left behind by becoming a rancher

– small mistakes can be very costly in Slime Rancher, you can lose entire pens full of slimes to poor food choices, errant ‘plorts’ (slime droppings) and the hostile Tarr slimes. These setbacks can be crippling and make you feel like a lot of game time was wasted on setting up enclosures for slimes that are now just gone
– some of the resource requirements are downright exorbitant in this game! Whilst amounts starts in the thousands later level upgrades of gear and resources can become costly and complicated to gather. Locking some of these upgrades behind optional character interactions can feel particularly harsh
– limits on carry capacity can be very painful when combined with the lacking movement speed in the early game meaning long trips back to areas for specific resources if you are low on ‘bag space’
– without spoiling anything the ending to the story seems slightly at odds with the build up to what seems like a choice

> I am nowhere near too proud to say the final song over the ending credits made me a bit teary, and I can’t think of another recent game’s ending that’s made me feel that way (except maybe Transistor)
> I only played this game following the announcement of the sequel in June 2021 and I can absolutely understand the hype having now played it

Should you play this game: Absolutely, this game is relaxing in its farming, moving in its story and overall a very wholesome way to spend your time. I can’t recommend it anymore and I can’t wait for the sequel.

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