Slime-san Reviews

Titanium Dragon
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 2,748
Posted on 21 April 17 at 10:37
This review has 1 positive vote and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Slime-san is an unassuming 2D pixel platformer that looks pretty retro. The graphics recall the NES era, and the game intentionally uses a sharply limited color palette – black, green, red, and white – to further reinforce the retro feeling. Most of the levels consist of four unmoving screens, with each quarter of the level starting you back over at the beginning of it, while a timer runs in the background to measure how quickly you perform.

But the graphics belie a pretty solidly constructed platformer. This is no cheapo indie game, but is rather a platformer which is reminiscent of Super Meat Boy – very solid, but very compact, level design, with simplified graphics designed to call attention to what really matters in the levels.

And this game excels at that.

The game is built around making good use of the very simple but solidly constructed platforming mechanics. You can jump, you can dash, you can jump then dash, you can dash then jump, you can wall jump, and if you jump off of a wall or run off of a ledge, you gain an additional, mid-air jump that you can use. You can become insubstantial, slowing down time and gaining the ability to move through green platforms, objects, and enemies which ordinarily block your progress or send you flying, depending on what they are. Around these mechanics, the whole game is spun.

There are environmental obstacles, but not a tremendous variety of them; there are a small number of enemies, but they don’t feel repetitive. And there are five bosses, which have simple but solid design which highlights the game’s mechanics.

What this game does well is take a number of simple elements and combine them in elegant ways to make for interesting levels. Fans blow you upwards, barrels launch you, gravity reversals… well, reverse gravity. You can be made bigger or smaller (perhaps the least interesting mechanic in the game, unfortunately, as it doesn’t feel like it generally has much of an interesting effect on gameplay, though it isn’t bad by any means). You can swim in water, in which you can dash all you want. A small number of enemy types each have their own movement range, and there are moving platforms and spawning platforms and rolling red barrels that kill you if you touch them.

The game’s very simple color palette makes the interface very intuitive and make what is going on easy to understand at a glance. Red things kill you, including the acid which spawns and creeps across the screen if you take too long completing a screen. Green things don’t hurt you, and can be passed through by the phasing ability; sometimes you need to use this ability to pass through things, while other times green objects or enemies need to be interacted with so you can bounce off of them or walk along them. White things are impermeable but are safe to touch and stand on.

Really, though, what a game like this comes down to is level design, and this game has very solidly constructed levels. They’re simple and generally present ideas in simple but interesting ways, and combine various obstacles in various ways to make navigating the levels more interesting. The game is also designed with speed running in mind, and a clever player can frequently skip off of the “intended” path in order to complete a level more swiftly, albeit often at greater difficulty in execution. The game’s mechanics are almost always very consistent, and while there were a few bugs at release, the development team is very active and quickly ironed out many of them.

Like Super Meat Boy, there are collectables in the levels. Every screen in the game contains a single apple, and thus there are four apples per level, save on the five levels in the game where the screen actually scrolls, which contain exactly one each. There are also a small number – three per world – of “arcade tokens”, which can be used to unlock simple arcade games in a shopping area.

The level select allows you to also go to a shopping area, which allows the player to buy a lot of cosmetics using the apples, as well as buy new versions of the titular slime-san, each of which have their own mechanics, somewhat reminiscent of the various characters who you can play as in Super Meat Boy. Some can double jump, but move more slowly; others are floaty, which is a double-edged sword as their higher jumps and slower fall speed can sometimes work to their disadvantage. Some run faster and fall faster; some are always dashing, making them hard to control but fast.

The game has a surprising amount of character considering what it is, with the game lampshading its own weird pseudo-japanese aesthetic at times and populated with some weird characters in the shopping area. Over the course of the game, you unlock additional areas in the shopping area, which have no purpose beyond introducing more quirky characters, as well as adding more quirky characters to the town. The story, such as it is, is very simple, but it works well enough in achieving its purpose in giving the player some direction, and the overall aesthetic of battling your way through various parts of the inside of the worm that eats you and in which the entire game is set, starting with the intestine and ending with the teeth, before finally escaping the insides of the worm entirely and having to defeat it from the outside, leads to a natural sense of progression and while it doesn’t “really” make sense in a way, it is intuitive enough and it feels aesthetically sensible.

All in all, this is a good game if you are into difficult-but-fair platformers – while this is easier than games like Super Meat Boy, it is still a fairly difficult game, and if difficulty isn’t your thing, this game may become frustrating. On the other hand, if you thought that Super Meat Boy was a good game, you’re likely to enjoy this game as well, as this hits on pretty much the same design space as that game, but feels different enough to be its own thing.
Please log in to comment on this solution.