Slime-san Hands-On Preview: An Exciting Platformer Approaches

During PAX East we were introduced to Slime-san, an indie PC game that’s coming out on April 7 (PC/Mac/Linux), where players control a cute ball of slime in a myriad of platforming levels in the belly of a giant worm that ate you. As some do with platformers, we tried to beat the demo as fast as possible to up the challenge, and while it only lasted about 2-3 minutes, we got to take home a beta key for the game that this writer has quite honestly been addicted to ever since.

There’s a few unique aspects of Slime-san (that’s the slime’s name too, by the way) that make it special. It looks unassuming as a game, maybe just another throw-away platformer, but you would be mistaken. It’s the sum of its parts, all well put together, that complete a platforming package anyone looking for a challenge should check out.

As mentioned, Slime-san is swallowed by a worm. Really it’s an utterly enormous worm as it has some 100 levels inside it, including boss encounters with most of its major organs, and a whole village of animals that’ve been swallowed too, resigned to their intestinal fate. Platformers of this style are typically very lacking in context or background, but Slime-san provides plenty, presented here and there between stretches of levels to always remind you: you’re inside a giant worm, and it wants to digest you.

How does the game actually play? With the very well-tuned controls, you’ll jump, wall-jump, air-jump, dash, go translucent in slow-mo and slip between some materials, and if you don’t complete the level fast enough a wave of stomach acid comes to greet and kill you. The game intentionally uses only a few colors so you always know: green surfaces won’t harm you, red surfaces always kill you, blue is the background color, and white is what everything is drawn with. This simple palette makes it easier to get very good and very fast at Slime-san before it really throws intense challenges before you. As well, most levels have a fixed camera and fill up the screen, allowing you to zip, jump and dash without camera motion involved, but there are levels sprinkled here and there that mix up that formula.

As uncreative as a ball of slime as a character seems at first glance, it works out fantastically for this platformer. After a few levels you’ll forget it was even a concern as the game brings in more and more gameplay mechanics and curveballs to overcome, plus the light-touch charm of the story-world. The game seems to focus on one new gameplay mechanic every few levels too, making the game always challenging as you progress through its well-crafted levels. It’s the kind of game that if you want to play it fast, its responsiveness is completely geared for you, including utterly ridiculous ‘trophy times’ to shoot for in each level. There are plenty more aspects to the game too, including the town full of also-swallowed animal that features all kinds of shops to upgrade you slime aesthetics — you can even play as other slimes from you family with different playstyles.

This game is ridiculous, in the best kind of way. We faced off against tonsils, and had a harrowing battle with real heart (I mean, a harrowing battle with a real heart, literally). We’re looking forward to playing more, make sure to check out the trailer to see it in motion too. As mentioned, Slime-San lands on PC, Mac and Linux on April 7, via Steam, and is developed by Fabraz.

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