Slime-san and Sheeple´s Sequel Review – Platformer Perfection
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, (Xbox One, PS4 Soon)
Publisher: Headup Games
Release: 7th April 2017
Somehow 2017 was a great year for 2D platformers featuring a ball of some sorts as the protagonist. Be it The End is Nigh or Slime-San. I do not know what´s up with that. Anyway, since the latter game got updated with a new DLC recently, I took the chance to check out the giant package that the main version has become.
After being eaten by a giant worm, Slime-san is trapped deep inside … 100 levels deep to be exact. Now he has to jump, dash, run and … die his way out, in this brutally hard platformer. Yet, he soon finds an actual town built in this worm, inhabited by all kinds of strange people and more to be met on the way.
Similar to other genre titles, every level in Slime-san consist of a single screen, full of hazardous obstacles that need to be avoided. To do so there are three main moves, jumping, dashing and turning invisible to slide through green walls. Needless to say that mastering those moves is essential, as most traps require you to react in split seconds or die. However, it doesn´t stop there, since the game practically introduces new enemies or problems every handful of levels, leading to an incredibly consistent learning curve throughout the whole experience and a satisfying sense of progression. Experimenting with new mechanics and finding out how they work is one of the core aspects is super fun.
Especially because Slime-san nails pretty much every core aspect, featuring responsive, super tight controls, almost letting you forget the protagonist is a ball of gue. Additionally, no obstacle feels like a simple variation from another, bringing fresh ideas and problems to the mix. As a result, the addicting nature of the fast reset system is even more amplified due to the incredibly satisfying gameplay. I really didn´t find anything to complain about the system, even the slower movement speed when Slime-san is crossing green walls, of which I wasn´t a fan of initially, is used in interesting ways.
Last but not least, Fabraz also implemented a timer for each level symbolized by the worms’ body fluids that slowly flood them. Initially, time restrictions never seem like a smart idea but Slime-san does a pretty good job here. Normally the levels are short enough to never suffer from the quite generous time frame, making it more of a psychological thing, pressuring you to find a way as fast as possible. Considering the complicated layout at times, having to get moving or die, gives the whole strategic layer a whole new role, actively throwing the player into the cold water sooner or later. The colour code of Slime-san ensures fast recognition of obstacles, coloured in red, “helpful” green ones and unimportant blue ones. Not many games stick to such a simple but amazing working aspect.
Naturally, every level contains a collectable bonus item in the form of apples or a new inhabitant for the previously mentioned town as well. Said apples, once you were able to find and collect one from their challenging spots, can purchase all kinds of stuff in the town, from new characters that bring actual diversity to the gameplay to skins or bonuses. It´s not great in its narrative but the town can offer some neat conversations besides its hub world characters, while the unlockable side content just adds more and more content to the mix.
Sheeple’s Sequel on the other hand goes can bring a surprising new take on the game. This time Sheeple, who thinks he can outsmart Slime-san, challenges him to dozens of new, advanced levels, coated in a whole new layer of stupidity. Deformed menus, silly jokes and a regularly 4th wall breaking visual design make it a whole new experience in an already great game. Who doesn´t want to jump in a C++ editor? With new obstacles, a higher difficulty curve and the fact it´s included in the package besides another DLC (which sadly isn´t as unique as this one), there´s no reason but to love this smartly dumb addition.
Not to say that the standard visual design is bad though. Despite some initial technical difficulties with huge black bars on every side, forcing me to play it on another Steam account through family sharing before it disappeared on its own somehow, Slime-san is a great performing game. Coming with undemanding but excellently executed pixel art, the already described colour code and a soundtrack simply made to be loved.
There´s nothing to really dislike about Slime-san, it isn´t a very innovative platformer, mostly perfection the execution of already established mechanics. I love a lot probably everything about both the base game and Sheeple´s Sequel, delivering a super responsive, addictingly hard gameplay mixed with great visuals and a gorgeous soundtrack. For 14.99 on PC or Switch, it´s a steal, not to be missed by anyone.
[A Review Code was provided by Headup Games]