Time flies when you’re having fun. My time at PAX South feels like yesterday, which is all the weirder to me now that I’ve played through Slime-San. Just a few months ago at the convention, I played a demo of the title and expressed my thoughts on the slice of it that was playable at the time. Now that Slime-San released on Steam, I can only provide a more detailed look at what the title has to offer.
Slime-San has been swallowed whole by a giant worm. The entire game takes place inside the worm’s stomach and the title character has to escape. This is one of those games that doesn’t actually get a score for the story. It won’t be reflected in my final review score.
The game has a distinct visual style composed of only three colors. Save for a background made of shades of blue. It’s almost NES-esque, yet at the same time there is a constant sense of animation and motion. Slime and “blood” liquids are seamlessly fluid, especially considering the game runs in sixty frames per second. There’s an appealing sense of rhythm thanks to the animated background and the “beating” borders that surround level layouts. I also love how level transitions show Slime-San bounce around in the worm’s innards. The tongue-in-cheek loading screens aren’t too shabby either. One thing that felt a tad off-putting was the inclusion of various NPCs Slime-San would get to meet every now and again. It isn’t that they aren’t charming or funny, but they really don’t serve any purpose other than to take up an otherwise empty room in between level divisions. I wish they actually did something.
One word comes to mind when I think of the sound department: Arcade. The sound effects make me feel like I’m playing an arcade game. I mean that in the best way possible. They along with the superbly catchy chiptune soundtrack make Slime-San as a whole sound addictive. Whenever I had to move on from one world to the next I was actually a little sad. I would no longer hear the song that played during the selection of levels I went through. Yet, I kept wondering how head-bopping the next track would be. I hadn’t been disappointed in that regard.
Slime-San is one of those games that challenges the player through reflex-based platforming gauntlets. I’ve played through and reviewed my fair share of these games throughout my time on TICGN. I think my favorite has to be this one if just for how enticing it presents itself. This 100-level journey cleverly mixes up the platforming with all sorts of mechanics and hazards to keep things spicy. On top of those elements is a time limit that would slowly summon the worm’s stomach acid to wipe out the player if it runs out. That part may sound pressuring, but the levels are broken into small and confined segments. The game encourages a quick pace through at least some of the moves Slime-San is able to pull off. If players want to toggle Slime-San’s prowess, there is an in-game shop for purchasing playable slime characters with different balances in their abilities.
The title character can dash, wall jump (a la Mega Man X), change between transparent and solid color, and even jump in mid-air if it slides off of a platform. As levels progress players get tested on these abilities as the layouts find new ways to make them relevant. There may be walls hanging above pits where players would have to strategically zip across from one wall to another for example. Other situations include reaching areas by dashing upward to have it act as a double jump, going through key panels to unlock a doorway, and hopping through green platforms or walls in transparent form.
Slime-San places an emphasis on color coding to some degree. Everything that’s green can be reacted to in ways that could benefit the player. Touch anything that’s red however and the player’s dead. Thankfully death isn’t much of an issue. Dying would take away seconds of progress due to each level being composed of bite-sized chunks. Although some levels can get demanding with precision; believe me when I say there are some annoying bits at times. There’s never a time where I spent over ten minutes on any of the hundred levels featured in the game (aside from maybe the last one). For the most part Slime-San is fast, frantic, fair, and fun.
Overall, Slime-San is a force to be reckoned with. My experience with the title has been a lengthy, addictive one. There’s a lot of meat to it, yet it almost doesn’t spare any expense to offer a hugely satisfying arcade-like package. I highly recommend picking this up if you’re a platformer fanatic craving a challenge and style of this caliber.