Slime Rancher is a game currently on Early Access on Steam (Early Access is a new term meaning "you pay to beta test this game for us") about raising a bunch of slimes of unknown intelligence, and harvesting their poop for cash.
|Adorable as f*** poop.|
You don't necessarily have a goal (yet) beyond expanding your ranch, keeping your slimes fed and happy, and getting all of the upgrades... Which can take, currently, about 4-6 hours. When I said pay to beta test, I wasn't kidding.
However, I will say this: though currently short the game is a ton of fun. The first night I played I stayed up like 3 hours longer than normal, completely unaware of the time. It isn't addicting so much as soothing, and it seems like there is always something to do... until there isn't, and the sadness returns.
But, as I said, this game is early access; currently unfinished. See in the title there the V0.2? This means it's on major patch 2; the next patch will add a new area, radioactive slimes, and presumably a new vegetable. The full version of the game is expected to be out this fall.
So why am I reviewing it now? Simple: to provide feedback, advertise the game a bit, and see if it can hold more than a handful of hours in the full release. Notably, I want to keep a list of suggested changes/features, that I'll update as new versions come out. But, before I get into that, here's my current verdict:
The game is a lot of fun, but currently not worth its $20 price tag.
The mechanics are a blast, the slimes are adorable, and the game shows a lot of promise. If you don't mind playing an incomplete game, it is fun enough in its current state. But, if you wan the most bang for your buck, either wait some updates, or until the full release (if it gets a full release that is, some Early Access games give up).
Without further adieu, the content suggestions:
Currently, the game has one actual limiter to progress, that is entirely independent of your ranching: getting a key from a giant slime to unlock a gate to the only other zone. While gated progress is annoying, there is actually too little here. There is nothing stopping you from skipping all the other slimes, just gathering as much food as possible, and feeding the giant slime until he gives the key, and the more lucrative slimes can be acquired. It should be where you spend several days ranching before you even consider trying to get the key. Maybe not gate the progress with a literal gate with a key, but with some function of the vacuum that you have to spend a large sum of money to acquire. Right now, the only thing stopping exploration is the player's own fear of the unknown; once that's gone, the game is a LOT shorter.
The lucravity of slimes also brings up another issue... Certain slimes are a lot more valuable than others. For the same amount of food, they can be nearly triple the value in return. Pink slimes are notably worthless once you have spiked, kitty, and phosphor slimes, especially so once you unlock the first gate. You either don't bother ranching them or free range them. If you do ranch them, they become obsolete fairly fast, forcing you to just toss them back in the wilderness when you need more space. That really feels needlessly cruel It feels like there should be a reason why we keep them around if not for money; like we use their plorts for other things like manure. Or alternatively, there is one long term suggestion:
Bit of a pipe dream, but why not have the slimes age, die, and give birth? The chickens do it, so it would stand to reason the slimes could as well. With the idea of them breeding comes another idea: breeding for certain traits, like color, size, plort output... Or disposition, which brings me to the next long term suggestion:
I want a slime as a pet. I want ti where the spiky slime won't charge and hurt me if I let it out of its corral, I want him to charge and attack anything that would hurt me. This could also tie into the gated progress suggestion; perhaps the big slime will refuse to eat what we toss at it unless we have a domesticated slime help us? Either way, I want a rock slime to be my friend in the lonesome Far Far Range.
You can spend days in the game just managing the ranch, ensuring the plants are still growing, that the slimes are all fed and safe in the corrals... Which the point of the game of course, but it does turn into a chore when you're worried about inefficiency. Here are my Quality of Life suggestions:
- A auto harvester for fruits and vegetables
- An auto planter for fruits and vegetables
- A super expensive food transfer device (to link to silos or slime corrals)
- Fast travel TO other parts of the world instead of only the return
- Chicken harvester/computer letting you know when a chicken is out/about to run out of eggs and thus turn into a less useful elder.
- Allow for multiple stacks in the vacuum pack; 2 stacks of 40 carrots or plorts or what have you.
- Some way to break up Largo slimes without just incinerating them.