Ghost's Arcade Announcement
I've noticed that a large number of my video game reviews are quite random and extremely lengthy. This is mostly due to the fact that video games are extremely varied in format and genre. The way I would review a Pokemon game would not be the same as a Battlefield game. I also love gaming and can talk for a very long time about subjects I love. In an effort to make these things shorter and as uniform as I possibly can so that people may want to actually read them and get to the point, I will be tailoring my true video game reviews to be more like my movie reviews. There will be a section on both plot and gameplay that will be mostly informative with a few jokes here and there. Then I will have a section for praises and a section for complaining. If there is anything else of interest I'll include an additional section after that. Obviously if it's not a standard game review and more of a discussion about gaming or a concept then this wouldn't apply. This will be the first game review under the new format. Hope you enjoy.
I have covered many things when talking about video games over the last five years such as role playing games, action adventure games, life simulator games, the stagnation of first person shooters, how to make franchises better, the positives and negatives of online interaction, as well as a few humorous lists. However, there is one particular aspect of gaming I generally shy away from in both discussion and practice; that aspect would be Early Access gaming.
For those of you not aware of this practice, early access is a funding model in the gaming industry where a consumer will purchase a game (generally at a discounted rate) that is playable but incomplete so that the developer can obtain more funds to continue working on the game utilizing feedback from the customers. While this may sound good on paper, and I'm certain some game developers wouldn't get their game to market without the availability of this practice, the lazy and devious nature of some game developers have made Early Access a toxic cesspool. Those of us who follow PC gaming in any aspect, are familiar with Steam, or follow internet reviewers are fully aware of the Early Access dangers.
That's honestly it as far as plot is concerned. It's mostly just a backdrop to explain why you are doing what you are doing. It's kind of weird to have an entire society that uses slime excrement as a viable substance for various uses (all of which can be read about in the internal Slimepedia). But, I've seen weirder concepts before. This is more about the gameplay than it is the plot.
While exploration and bringing items back to your ranch is a central mechanic of the game, the core concern is, of course, your ranch. To start off with you have one pre-built corral for slimes and seven additional empty locations for you to build additional corrals, gardens, chicken coops etc for you to feed and house your slimes. All of these are essential as you need a corral for the slimes so they don't run away. You need food to feed the slimes so they produce plorts, and you need plorts so you can buy your personal upgrades as well as additional corrals, gardens, and other plots of land. Once you get enough money in-hand you can expand your ranch twice to include a more free-range area for slimes as well as a cave.
There are a couple of other things here and there such as making sure you feed the Gordo Slimes (VERY large slimes who sit in one place and give prizes once full) which will allow you access to new areas. Considering that there are still several areas and aspects of the game not yet released as of the writing of this post, this is about all I can say about the gameplay.
What's Good About It?
|How could you not love all of these little guys|
Jet packs are awesome! I seriously don't know anyone who wouldn't love to have a jet pack or at least utilize one in a video game. There are several places you can go exploring once you get the fully upgraded jet pack and I find myself using it more than I actually just walk around. It makes for traversing the world and the ranch an absolute joy! Why don't more games feature jet packs?! Get the jetpack as soon as you can in this game; you won't regret it.
One thing I really enjoy about this is the laid back atmosphere that it has (unless you are running away from tarrs.) While action packed games are great and I certainly love them, sometimes you just want to play something that's low key and laid back. As long as you don't create tarr or try to grow your ranch too fast you're in for a pleasant and fairly laid back experience that can often be just what you need. If you want some time to just play something laid back that's still very interesting and allows you to explore, then you would enjoy this too.
Lastly I have to mention the updates. As this is an Early Access game I was reluctant to purchase it based on the fact that so many games go unfinished. However the promise I saw in the video was enough to get me to bite as this is a well put together game even though it's unfinished. I bought this two months ago and since then there have been at least three updates to the game. While these updates were mostly things like bug fixes and small tweaks here and there, there is still active work being put out. The developers have also stated that they intend to release more content and have given us the intended release number to go with this planned content. There is an actual plan going forward. People who have hacked into the game's coding have already seen some of the upcoming work coded into the game in one manner or another. So, unless something happens to change the direction, I feel confident that this will continue to provide us with more updates and more content until it is finished. We know of three entire areas at minimum that haven't been released to us yet. Who knows what else may be in store!
What's Bad About It?I'm going to preface this by saying that I do fully realize that a game still in development can easily be altered. There's a chance that most if not all of this will be modified or addressed in a future update. While nothing about this game is "bad", there are a few inconveniences and minor annoyances that I either know will be corrected or hope can be tweaked.
Lastly is the one thing that I know is going to change. There's just not quite enough content currently. While there is still plenty of content to play around for a few days, I honestly had gotten a TON of money (close to $82,000) and had a self-sustaining ranch after about 4 evenings of playing the game. Since then it's just been me piddling around and waiting on new content to be given. Again, at least three new areas and three different types of slimes are coming our way and I look forward to getting those new regions, but until that point there's just not a lot to do once you reach a sustainable point.
Slime Rancher really is a load of semi-laid back fun! Up until I reached the point where I'm just waiting on new content, I was enjoying every minute of this game between keeping the adorable little slimes happy and production plorts, to exploring all of the little caves, nooks, and crannies. It's something that sounds really silly on paper, but if you actually see it and play it, it's brilliant! If the idea of catching, raising, and cross breeding cute little creatures for profit while exploring the world with a jetpack and a modified version of Luigi's Poltergust sounds fun to you then you should seriously give it a try! It's only $19.99 bought directly from the website (with steam code included) or bought through Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux! I already feel as though I've gotten most of my money's worth just from what I was able to do, and feel as though the value is only going to rise as this game inches closer to completion.
While I haven't yet seen a big update with new content, it so far seems that the guys at Monomi Park know what they are doing and are utilizing Early Access properly. This is actually their first game and their website only lists three people working on it! That's very impressive and unless something massively unforseen happens with them, I look forward to what their next project is!
This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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