Slime-san by Fabraz
Nothing puts a negative spin on your day like getting swallowed by a giant worm. Slime-san‘s laid-back trip through the woods quickly goes south as he finds himself on the verge of being digested. His only hope of surviving is to escape dozens of chambers within his captor. To make matters worse, they all quickly fill with stomach acid. Taking your time means taking a dirt nap.
Close in spirit to Super Meat Boy, Slime-san is a tough-as-nails twitch action game that requires split-second timing, nimble fingers, and above all, patience. If dying frequently in games frustrates you, just pass on this experience. The deaths are numerous, and finding the right dance of jumping, morphing and dashing is likely to lead to some Yosemite Sam-worthy cusswords. For those with the stomach to escape this stomach, rewards await you on the other side.
The control scheme is simple and precise. Slime-san can jump, and doing so repeatedly against a wall will allow him to scale them. His morph ability will allow him to ooze through some green surfaces and enemies. His dash ability can add extra oomph to a jump across a chasm, or it can be used to crush certain obstacles.
It doesn’t take long to shatter any false hope of playing through a simple platformer the opening levels may impart on players. This game is wickedly difficult. Danger tiles, saw blades, projectiles and enemy critters quickly ensure an initial period of hand-cramping while trying to commit the moves to macro-speed muscle memory. A residue of goo will remain on the stage after your demise as a visible reminder of each of your brutal deaths. Fortunately, by default settings, the save points are set at the beginning of each screen. If dumping a bucket of thumb tacks in your jacuzzi is your idea of a good time, you can change this setting so that each death will bring you back to the beginning of the entire level.
How Stella Got Her Ooze Back
The soundtrack is one of the better chiptune collections I’ve heard in a while. It captures all the madness of Contra, Mega Man and a bunch of other games that sucked allowances dry in the hopes of keeping the feeling alive.
The visuals are certainly retro-inspired. To be honest, I wasn’t immediately sold on the game’s minimalist color palette, but it grew on me. Making the visuals any more vibrant could easily have become distracting, and with the amount of attention required on the action, this scaled back approach is right at home.
The Mother Worm also houses a city filled with survivors. You can visit several areas to meet with the residents, who can sell you a bevy of unlockable items. There are playable arcade games and even a dojo to test only the most elite of slime warriors. Unlock enough tokens, and you can purchase new characters, each of which has his own unique style of play.
Prime Time Slime
I hit a wall with Slime-san, only to discover that I had to merely sluice through it to proceed. I then got into a great rhythm, where I would clear multiple stages on my first go. And then I would hit a stage that would slaughter me relentlessly, ad nauseum…and I could only laugh. My fingers a throbbing tangle, my finely honed-skills lost as if wagered on loaded dice, and there was only joy.
That’s the quiet beauty of Slime-san. It’s that scene in Red Dragon where Hannibal Lector fries up his enemy’s brain, and his enemy is so doped up, he thinks it smells delicious. There are more than 100 levels to play through, so don’t be shocked if what you smell is a little more than burnt.
Slime-san is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Slime-san below: