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Slime Rancher 2

Slime Rancher 2 is an absolutely adorable beginning to a promising sequel

Monomi Park's sequel is here, and we've spent some time on the Rainbow Island, exploring for secrets and farming the adorable slimes.

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Over the years of its development, the original Slime Rancher grew into a rather competent and entertaining life-simulation game. The colourful world packed to the brim with adorable slimes was hard not to love, but as with anything, a time comes when you need to take a step into the future. With more powerful hardware now available that can allow developers to create more vibrant and exciting worlds, creator Monomi Park has left Slime Rancher behind for its sequel Slime Rancher 2, a follow-up that while very similar in a lot of ways, has some welcome improvements.

And before I touch on why this sequel is better than the original, it's worth being clear that Slime Rancher 2 is still an Early Access/Game Preview title, meaning it's not as packed as Slime Rancher was at the end of its development cycle. The core mechanics are also very familiar and at times it doesn't exactly play like much has changed, but the new location, the new slime types, and the various other goodies and objectives you'll have to complete all say differently. Essentially, if you go into this 'work-in-progress' expecting something enormous and massively different, you will be disappointed. If you're looking for a charming, happy, and harmless experience, then this is the perfect game for you.

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Slime Rancher 2, like its predecessor, is endlessly delightful. It's incredibly easy to pick up and get into, with simplistic control schemes and intuitive progress. Granted, you will need to get a little bit creative at times, and even experiment with slimes (which will occasionally result in failure or chaos), all to streamline your gold earning, better your understanding of the world, unlock a new area, or to create a new gadget. And what I mean by this is that you will need to farm and feed slimes to make money from the Plorts (essentially the excrement a slime produces after it eats) slimes create to earn money and to be able to improve the amenities of your base, be it improving slime enclosures with higher walls or automatic feeders, or bettering the soil of the crop plots you have in place. It may seem simple, but when you start combining slime types and see how the characteristics of each slime changes, the dynamic of basic farming gets flipped on its head.

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And this is on top of the environmental puzzles to solve, which could be more of a physical feat that requires a new tool to best (i.e. creating a jetpack to cross a gap safely), or something more related to the slimes themselves and your knowledge of them. It all does come back down to that point, because the game revolves around studying and learning about the squishy inhabitants of Rainbow Island.

Slime Rancher 2Slime Rancher 2
Slime Rancher 2

There is very little hand-holding with Slime Rancher 2. On one hand, there doesn't need to be as the game is fundamentally straightforward, but on the other hand, this is because it prides itself on player choice. If you want to simply create multiple slime enclosures packed with basic Pink Slimes, you can. But at the same time, if you want to explore the furthest reaches of the island, by opening locked doors by using the correct Plorts as keys, or by opening pathways by overfeeding Gordo Slimes (incredibly large versions of a slime) blocking the way until they pop, you can also do this. One will require a better understanding of the world and the slimes however, as I have alluded to before.

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But it should also be said that the lack of direction and the player choice does come off quite negatively in a narrative sense, because it really doesn't feel like this game has a story worth talking about at all. There are story moments, including dialogue with other characters, but for the most part, it doesn't hold any gravity or make any difference to the gameplay. You're there to farm and play around with slimes, and that's about it.

Slime Rancher 2Slime Rancher 2

I will also say that the game does feel a little barren right now in terms of the content it offers. Yes, it an EA/GP game, so there's no reason to expect a 20+ hour narrative with side quests and other exploration and life-sim elements, but still after just a few hours of streamlining my farming systems and exploring the world, it becomes pretty clear that the Rainbow Island doesn't have that much else to offer right now. Plus, some of the simulation systems feel a little unbalanced from what I've seen. Your health is something you rarely ever need to worry about, whereas due to both sprinting and using a jetpack exhausting stamina, this always seems to be drained, which is all the more frustrating since there is a lot of walking about to and from distant parts of the island.

Yet still Slime Rancher 2 is an absolute delight to play. This game is relaxing, charming, adorable, sweet, and fun. This is a title that is designed to make you smile, and like its predecessor, it never fails to do such a thing. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Monomi Park's sequel, and in the time being, I will be returning to the Rainbow Island to continue discovering secrets and playing around with the cutesy, blobby creatures that call it home.

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