We never thought the day we’d spend hours harvesting the feces of a gelatinous species would come, but thanks to Slime Rancher, that fantasy has become a reality. Currently available via Xbox Game Preview, we’ve wiggled our way through build version 0.3.5c to let you know if it’s currently worth investing in.
In Slime Rancher, you harvest the feces of a gelatinous species for profit...
Once you’ve successfully captured a few different breeds of slime, it’s a good idea to grow some crops and rear some chickens in order to bypass the need to forage. With a self sufficient set-up established, it’s possible to devote more time to venturing further out into the world and discovering its nuances.
If you hadn’t already, you’ll quickly discover largos, the doubly-sized result of one slime eating another variety’s plort (nice...) to produce a hybrid of the two. Whilst these bulks are difficult to manage as they can’t be sucked up with the vacpack, they do provide twice the messy reward for each feed. They also carry a significant risk, however, in that getting their chops around a third strain of plort will turn them into the evil Tarr - black, jack o'lantern-faced slimes that will infect healthy slimes in the vicinity, whilst also attacking the player. An outbreak on the ranch can be devastating, so you’ll need to be exceedingly careful when handling largos. Segregation is key… just don’t take that quote out of context.
If the unruly Tarr, or another of the game’s threats, happen to get the better of you, you’ll simply sleep it off whilst losing the items on your person. You should never be carrying large amounts of plort, other than to take them directly to the market, so you won’t much mourn the loss as wild slimes and foodstuffs will have repopulated during your nap, ripe for recollection.
As you continue to explore further from the ranch’s safe perimeter, you’ll uncover huge stationary slimes that can be fed, and fed, and fed, until they explode. You’re rewarded for doing so with the rarest of items; teleporter pads that open up shortcuts, and keys to open doors that expand the play area. Unfortunately, it’s as you reach these peripheral expanses that the value proposition of Slime Rancher's preview build is brought into question.
It took us but a day’s play to get through everything, which would be fine if it were a linear experience with a defined endpoint, but it isn’t. We’ve bought all of the upgrades and have nothing to use them on; earnt buckets of money and have nothing to spend it on; captured all of the available slimes and now have no reason to own them. What was an incredibly enjoyable and moreish gameplay cycle came to an all too abrupt end - we want to play more, but there just isn’t anything here for us, even with an additional challenge mode. New areas are being worked on, so fingers crossed they’ll help combat the issue.
When you couple the lack of content with technical issues that see frame rates plummet and fail to recover, as well as chugging to a complete stop on occasion, we just can’t recommend purchasing Slime Rancher in preview.
With these significant kinks being worked out as you read this, we would, however, heartily recommend checking up on the final product when it releases later this year. If developer Monomi Park are successful in expunging them, they’ll have something special on their hands.
Pick it up in preview
Wait for final release
Avoid it either way