Slime Rancher 2 has been in early access for a few weeks now, which has given me a few dozen hours of time to wrangle some slimes and cross-bread some monstrously cute creations.
Monomi Park’s newest sequel to the Slime Rancher franchise shares a lot from it’s predecessor. There’s not necessarily a lot of surprises when it comes to the core gameplay, it’s just more of the same with some slime additions, new unlockables and mechanical tweaks to improve the overall experience.
Continuing the slime ranching adventures of Beatrix LeBeau, we’ll set off on a journey to a mysterious rainbow-hued island, full of vast views and wondrous slimes never seen before. You’ll collect dozens of different slimes and their plorts, collect and grow a variety of resources and explore your way across a RGB-lovers’ dream come true. There’s a layer of depth to the lore spread throughout the game-world if you choose to indulge in it, but being someone who never loved reading walls of text, I got much-more distracted with cross-breeding my beautiful slime abominations
It wouldn’t be fair to not point this out immediately – Slime Rancher 2 is at the very start of it’s early access period, so the overall depth of content at it’s current point of release is rather slim. Monomi Park have already shared that this is just the beginning for Slime Rancher 2, as a series of free updates will arrive before the game leaves Early Access, which will include things like new areas, Slimes, resources, and gadgets, but also “expanding the potential of Slime Rancher’s established gameplay by adding new features not yet seen in Slime Rancher”.
Slime Rancher 2 is a much more polished version of it’s predecessor when it comes to it’s visual representation, and I enjoyed every minute of my time playing in the vast, rainbow-hued playground I was thrust into. Aesthetically, everything about the game was a big tick to me. I found myself for hours upon hours not actively ‘doing’ anything, as I instead just wondered around trying to view sunsets/sunrises from different parts of the map once I unlocked them. The visual & sound design throughout every part of the game is absolutely phenomenal, and is the most enjoyable aspect of the game for me.
Similar to the first entry, you’ll run around wondrous environments collecting resources and slimes, then head back to base of operations to set-up habitats, food sources and sell of anything you can to reinvest into upgrades.You’ll fight off evil Tarr slimes, upgrade your tools equipment, and unlock the inner sadist in yourself as you shoot perfectly innocent ‘honey-bunny’ slimes into the ocean due to over-population. The formula of exploring, farming, and crossbreeding your slimes is way too addicting, and you’ll easily lose hours upon hours as you experiment.
After I’d successfully cross-bred every single one of my slimes with the ‘flutter-slime’ (as pictured below), I realized I’d only encountered less than half of the current in-game slimes, which set me back out on another adventure to discover, capture and bring back the newest member of my growing scientifically-offensive family of monsters. The game-premise for some might seem a bit dry and dis-interesting, which is a perfectly apt way of describing the core loop – there’s nothing overly difficult or challenging about anything you’ll encounter, as it’s a much more stripped back, relaxing/cozy style of game (which is right up this low-skill gamers’ alley).
One of the key questions returning players of the franchise will want to know is what the new title has to offer over it’s predecessor, so we’ll start with the best part: the new slimes. At the time of writing, there are five new slimes in the game – Angler, Flutter, Batty, Cotton, and Ringtail slimes (but Monomi Park have already indicated that additional slimes will be introduced throughout the game’s future updates). They’re not only incredibly cute, but also add some welcome new mechanics to how they play and behave.
New food types have been introduced such as nectar, to spice up the variety of what each individual slime requires for sustenance. In addition to this, some new mechanics have been introduced for some slime such as the ‘Ringtail slime’, which turns into a statue at night, meaning you can only collect plorts from it throughout the day. If you’re at all worried about some of your favourite slime-types form the original, fear not – as every single one of them exists in the sequel.
The biggest new addition to Slime Rancher 2 would be the introduction of the Conservatory – which acts as the main new farming area where you’ll house your slimes and grow food sources for them. It’s a a massive location that can be expanded and upgraded as you play, and as artistically magnificent. Surrounding this base of operations is a number of biomes that are home to each of the unique slime-types, which you’ll progressively unlock as you explore and upgrade your equipment.
Under your Conservatory, you’ll find a lair-like labaratory where you’ll find your Fabricator, which is used to make upgrades to your vacuum (the primary ‘weapon’ of the game), alongside your health and stamina. This is where you’ll also purchase additional gadgets and tools to help improve your movement capabilities, and reach locations that you once were unable to. This rounds up the game-play loop, as you explore and collect slimes, bring them back home and feed them to make an income, which you use to upgrade your tools to find more extravagant slimes.
All in all, my time with Slime Rancher 2 was purely wonderful. I really needed a game like this, that wasn’t overly demanding, and rewards you for aimlessly exploring and experimenting. if you’re in need of a pick-me-up or serotonin lifter, this is the game for you. Of course, more content needs to be added – but with Monomi Park’s track record, I’m more-than-confident everyone’s expectations will be surpassed once it’s fully released.
Slime Rancher 2 is currently accessible on early major platforms, and for anyone who enjoys an upper-echelon cozy game, or who simply loved the previous Slime Rancher, this is an absolute must-buy, but if you’re wanting a much more in-depth story and purpose to everything you’re doing, it may be best to wait for the full release where all of these game elements will be fully expanded.