Slime Rancher finally got its full launch on August 1st after being in early access for over a year and a half and it also happens to be this month’s Games with Gold offering for Xbox One. While there is some charm to this harvest/collect ’em all game, it ultimately was a dud.
Slime Rancher is the tale of Beatrix LeBeau, a plucky, young rancher who sets out for a life a thousand light years away from Earth on the “Far, Far Range” where she tries her hand at making a living wrangling slimes. That description essentially tells you the entire game. That’s it, you farm slimes. I know there is a fanbase for these types of games, and I have enjoyed a few base building type games myself, but there just isn’t enough to this game for me to invest more time.
Beatrix is equipped with an industrial sized vacuum that can suck up just about everything and also shoot out whatever you have sucked up. The gameplay revolves around you sucking up slimes and food, shooting the slimes behind cages back on your ranch, and then feeding them food. When the slimes eat the food they literally crap out “Plorts” which you then sell for “Newbucks” to use on expanding your ranch with crops, more containment’s for slimes and upgrading your ranch and gear.
Plorts can also be used to modify slimes to try and make rare breeds and then harvesting the rare breeds plorts for a higher currency exchange. All you need to do is take a plort and feed it to a different breed of slime and it will turn into some hybrid offspring. So yes, you’re feeding slimes slime crap to create hybrids and harvesting the hybrid slime crap to then upgrade and harvest even more slime crap. Some wild slimes can attack you, but the real danger is The Tarr, essentially just a pack of tar blobs that eat your slimes and attack you randomly.
The graphics are simple, bright and colorful so it does have a nice relaxing charm about it as you’re exploring and sucking up slime. Sound design is also good with distinct sounds for slimes and other wildlife like chickens.
Overall from a critical standpoint this game is nothing special. That being said, I can see why it has the “overwhelmingly positive” reviews on Steam. It’s simple and relaxing and a lot of people have said it has helped their depression (definitely a good thing). The game does have a measure of depth in the manner of upgrading your ranch, gear, and creating hybrids, but if you’re looking for a game that has more of an overall story and not just a sandbox “do what you want” feel than I’d recommend to stay clear.
Slime Rancher is available on PC, Mac, Linux and Xbox One