In the golden age of gaming, being difficult was instant key to success. Looking at the most praised platformers of gaming, Crash Bandicoot amongst others mark the high ground for being fun but also being nearly impossible. While Slime-San aims to be the next tough as nails platformer, it ends up being anything but- both in its good and bad implications.
Slime-San doesn’t have much of a narrative, which is fine because anyone looking to get into this title is doing so just to get into its core gameplay. That gameplay is composed of hundreds of levels in diverse worlds, each introducing its own set of challenges in the hopes of making the game just that much tougher each stage. From morphing in order to pass certain sections, to combining dashing with jumps in order to reach extra distance, Slime-San is never lacking new mechanics, ensuring it never gets repetitive.
To further add on to its greatness, Slime-San’s controls feel spot on, something crucial in order to create a fast and fluid experience. And boy are we talking fast, Slime-San’s levels are like drinking three bottles of water just to realize that they were filled with Red Bull (first world problems), failing to platform at such speed quickly punishes the player as lava quickly comes to end your day. That’s where Slime-San’s toughness really presents itself, making the player have to think of the best course of action before it’s just too late.
While that may sound great, it comes with its compromises. Specifically, after you have memorized the game’s main set of controls, there really isn’t anything that is too challenging. In fact, while the game kept throwing new challenges at me, I completed them with ease, asking for more. It seems as if the developers of Slime-San were aware of this as well, as they included hidden secrets that are pretty tough to collect, but the deal is: there’s just not that much reason to collect those secrets. Sure, they may serve as bragging rights but at the end of the day being able to purchase a couple of character skins and level borders from the store with those secrets simply isn’t that great of a motivator.
This brings Slime-San to a complex situation: it nearly promises to be difficult but ends up being a fluid and enjoyable experience that has its own simplicity contribute to just how fun it is to play. That’s a problem, as it creates an experience where players who expect to receive the difficulty treatment will be nearly forced to go for those collectables in case they want to get what they paid for, and in that aspect, I just wish that it could offer a difficulty slider. On the other hand, being easy means it’s accessible, something that definitely should contribute to how many people end up enjoying their experience.
Another problem: I felt as if there was no benefit for playing on the Xbox One over the Switch version. While most games offer performance boosts and graphical updates from a platform to another, Slime-San runs and looks identical regardless of where it’s played. In fact, the game’s accessibility and precise controls make me wish I had played it on Switch, as the portability factor would have further added to my enjoyment of this title. However, if a home-console is all you have, Slime-San never feels like an inferior experience.
What’s most impressive in Slime San, however, is the music. While the difficulty could be tempered with, the audio track is just perfect. From the menu music to the level track, everything is properly tuned and sounds awesome enough that I couldn’t help but download them to my ever-growing list of awesome soundtracks. The awesomeness in the soundtrack is a perfect place to round up this experience: It is solid, in many cases perfect but just like how the music was unexpected, Slime-San is an experience that players will have to learn to like because it won’t be the difficult hell they might have initially expected.
In conclusion, while its awesome control scheme, progression, artistic design and a plethora of content score its points, it becomes lacking in the difficulty department. In a game that clearly aims to be the next Super Meat Boy, it gets all the little details right but forgets the one main concept. For fans of Super Meat Boy esque platformers, there is loads of fun to be had with Slime-San, but to anyone expecting an experience as difficult, Slime-San is far from it.
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