Slime-San is a 2D indie platformer by Fabraz where you take on the role of the titular Slime character and make your way through the body of the giant worm that swallowed you in the hopes that you’ll make your eventual escape and return to your slime family.
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One coming at a later date)
Game Version: Final
Review Copy: Provided by Developer
Interface: Keyboard & Mouse or Controller (Recommended)
Available on Steam and Nintendo Switch eShop
The pixel art graphics in Slime-San are distinct and they have a characteristic retro look, but are able to stylistically separate themselves from other games that go that direction. The color palette of the game consists of only five colors, which may seem limited even when compared to some retro games, but results in just enough variation and creativity to be able to discern between obstacles and the surrounding environment.
Slime-San‘s music is reminiscent of those memorable Game Boy soundtracks from two decades ago, and although it may not entirely match the notoriety of some classic track, the inspiration it takes from them is clear.
Although not the most innovative, the core gameplay of Slime-San is perfect, with the tight controls giving you the ability jump, dash, and morph through obstacles and enemies in order to progress through each level before the stomach acid starts rising and completely fills it up. If you do meet your end, be it from the stomach acid or another obstacle, the level quickly resets from the beginning of the most recent section.
Each level section may reset quite a few times before you complete it, but an additional function of morphing — which allows you to phase through certain objects — is that it will slow down time, which allows you to get through the last part of a section before the stomach acid can reach you. Dashing will help you as well, as it provides the ability to break certain obstacles and can briefly increase your speed while moving and distance when jumping.
As levels progress your reflexes have to become quicker to get through each one properly, but you need more than just speed to help you. Accuracy is also important, whether it be about breaking through obstacles or timing your morphs correctly, as obstacles and death hazards are often right next to each other, making the wrong move lead to inevitable failure, likely more than a few times in each section.
Since there’s no attack button, enemies throughout each level must be dodged or jumped over, and bosses have a platforming element to them as well. Due to this precise platforming which makes up the gameplay of Slime- San, a controller is not only highly recommended, but I’d say a necessity.
There are plenty of levels throughout the five worlds of the game, but I felt that there were a few too many before each boss. Rather than the typical three to seven levels you may see in other 2D platformers before facing a boss or miniboss, in Slime-San there are a whopping 19 levels before each boss, and each level prior to that boss has four separate sections, with some containing secret exits which unlock additional characters to talk to in the hub area.
Although the levels can go by quickly once you understand the best way to progress — even after meeting your demise a copious amount of times — 14 may have been a more optimal number of levels to have before a boss. The last five levels seemed like an unnecessary buffer to make the game longer, and often felt like a drag.
Another flaw in this otherwise exemplary platformer are certain slow moving obstacles in which you have to wait for them to move out of the way while dodging other obstacles or enemies. These sections would be fine if they were a bit faster and if it weren’t for the fact that they’re based on just waiting and dodging to make progress through the level, but as they are they break the game’s flow quite a bit. Luckily, these sections are not common.
In the main hub area, known as Slumptown, you can purchase other characters from Slime-San’s family to change up the play style — each with their own benefits and drawbacks –, outfit accessories to add more flair, different side borders, shaders, and minigames with the apples you’ve collected from each level. Additionally, the game has New Game Plus, speed running modes, boss rush modes, extra challenges, and a testing room. There is even a level skipping function to use if you’re stuck on a rather frustrating level, but you have to pay a fee of collected apples to use it.
For a 2D platformer, Slime-San is filled to the brim with additional content, and that’s without the Blackbird’s Kraken DLC which adds even more features and gameplay elements!
Another notable characteristic is the games large cast of characters, its sense of humor, and its references to other media. It’s a pleasant surprise in a game where I wouldn’t have expect to see so many references and so much humor. From popular series such as Naruto and The Legend of Zelda, to homages to many of its other influences, Slime- San is rife with amusing dialogue and Easter eggs any fan will enjoy.
Although frustratingly difficult at times, Slime- San is a charming and challenging 2D indie platformer loaded with content. It might not be as groundbreaking as other platformers, but it’s a prime example of what games in the genre are capable of.
Slime-San is available on PC and Mac through Steam and on Nintendo Switch through the eShop. The new Blackbird’s Kraken DLC is free, but as of writing is not yet available for the Nintendo Switch version of the game.