When the trailer for this title was first released last year, I literally jumped with joy at the prospect of being able to write the Slime Rancher 2 review for our website. Because I have a total of around 300 hours in the first game and I would never pass up an opportunity to sing the praises of Monomi Park’s indie masterpiece.
The original game randomly showed up on my radar all the way back in 2016, and I jumped into it optimistically. Because I’ve always had a soft spot for cute farm management experiences, and this looked like something that could scratch that massive Harvest Moon-sized hole in my heart. And although these two series are really different from one another, they still share some common DNA, so I was instantly hooked.
So believe me when I tell you that I have spent the past year anxiously awaiting the release of Slime Rancher 2. And you what, it was all worth it, because this little early access experience is better than most full-length games.
Story And Setting
In this sequel players once again take on the role of Beatrix LeBeau, who has been hard at work raising slimes on ‘The Ranch’, which was your base of operations in the first game. One day as she is taking a break on the docks, a mysterious ship with nothing but a letter inside approaches her, inviting her to explore a brand new region known as Rainbow Island.
Beatrix accepts the offer in a heartbeat and sets off on a new adventure. It is also here that the game fully starts, by letting you explore your new home, the Observatory. Unlike the Ranch, this is an enclosed space with a roof, walls, and a massive tree growing in the center. It’s definitely much prettier than the previous base, but functionally it behaves the exact same way. It’s a place for you to tame slimes, grow food and earn money.
Rainbow Island itself however is much bigger than the map of the first game, and it’s actually much denser as well. Each location has multiple different paths to wander off in, and you are always rewarded with a new sight to see or a puzzle to solve. It was much easier to get lost in this game world than in that of its predecessor.
There is an intriguing narrative at play here as well, and you slowly but surely get to explore this new island and uncover the mysteries behind it. Who sent that boat to get you? Who wrote the letter? And who used to own this Observatory? All of these questions will be answered in due time, but never in a direct manner.
Information is drip-fed to the players through logs strewn about the island and video calls with multiple NPCs. It’s all really fun, but it should be mentioned that this is not a complete game at this point, and the developers intend to add to it for years to come. So although some answers are given, I expect the plot to be expanded upon as the game expands.
So this might be good news or bad news depending on what your opinions are on the first entry. If you enjoyed the look of catching slimes, feeding them, and then selling their Plorts to make money, then you’re absolutely gonna love Slime Rancher 2. But if you at any point thought that the gameplay loop got boring after a while, then I’m sorry to say that this is simply more of the same, and it will still not appeal to you.
This sequel does very little to change up the already established formula, and I don’t think fans wanted anything else either. I certainly picked it all up immediately and got to ranching my heart out within seconds. It’s more or less the same game, but with greater variety, a newer map, and some basic quality of life improvements. But if you’re new to the series, let me quickly get you up to speed.
In the world of Slime Rancher, you inhabit an alien planet known as the Far, Far Range. This world is home to a species of creatures known as Slimes, which are exactly what they sound like; small gelatinous blobs that come in many different varieties that each has their own unique appearances, behaviors, and dietary needs. When these creatures eat something, they create a resource known as Plorts, which can then be sold for money.
As a rancher, you can catch these Slimes with your Vacpack, which is basically a vacuum gun, and then deposit them in corrals back at the Observatory. When placed inside these corrals, their movement is severely restricted and you can stop them from running away. But you also have to feed them the correct type of food that they require regularly, lest they get upset and attempt to break out of their pens.
Do all of this, and you can secure a steady supply of Plorts that can then be sold at the marketplace for money, which is required to purchase new structures, upgrades for your gear, and even additional areas to expand your ranch. That’s the basic gist of it all. Catch Slimes, put them in corrals, and then use their Plorts to earn cash. But the game has slightly more depth than that, and it has added a handful of new Slimes, food, and other resources to the sequel.
When you first start off, you’re supposed to care for your Slimes manually. You go out exploring for food for them, bring it back and toss it into their enclosures and wait for them to finish eating, at which point they produce the Plorts. Then you suck these up with your Vacpack and repeat the process again and again.
But once you have some cash on hand, you can upgrade the corrals to get fitted in with a number of different improvements, such as high walls that prevent your Slimes from escaping their enclosures, auto-feeders that dispense food at regular intervals, and even collectors that can suck up to two different types of Plorts from the corrals. Using all of these in tandem, you can automate 90% of the maintenance that comes with keeping Slimes and focus on other things that require your attention.
Additionally, Slimes are also divided into three sub-categories depending on the type of food that they need. Some only eat fruit, others only consume vegetables, and the third group only chomps on chickens. The only real exception to this rule is the standard Pink Slime, which is okay with all three types of food. These are the most common creature in the world, and as a result, their Plorts are also worth the least. They are also meant to function as tutorial creatures to get you familiar with the basics of ranching.
And while you can feed all types of fruits, vegetables, and chickens to Slimes that are capable of consuming them, each creature in the game does have a favorite food. If you give this to them, then they will produce two Plorts instead of one. So to maximize your output, it usually helps to hunt down a Slime’s preferred food and give that to them. And to prevent yourself from having to venture far from your ranch each time you run out of food, you can produce it right there at the Observatory. Gardens can be constructed to grow fruits and vegetables and Coops can be made to breed chickens if they have at least one hen and rooster inside them.
To diversify the types of Plorts you are producing at your ranch at any one time, you can either opt to have a lot of corrals with pure Slimes in them, or have fewer pens with Largo Slimes instead. These are larger variations that can be created by feeding one creature the Plort of another type.
Doing this causes the recipient to take on some of the appearance and behaviors of the donor, and they also produce two different types of Plorts as a result. The only downside to this is that these Largos take up much more space than their purer counterparts, and you can keep a much smaller number of them inside one corral.
And it is actually encouraged to have many different types of Slimes on your ranch, as the value of items on the marketplace fluctuates over time. There’s a whole meta game where it helps to hold off on selling certain Plorts until their value increases, and selling too much of one type causes demand to drop. So the greater your variety, the more you can earn, but that also means exploring out into the world and unlocking newer and newer regions in order to acquire different types of Slimes.
Rainbow Island is also absolutely littered with multiple different types of resources like minerals, oils, and gems. These can also be collected via your Vacpack after a certain upgrade is made to the item, which in turn allows you to store them in your tanks.
From here, you can deposit both these resources and Plorts into the refinery in the Observatory basement, and use them together with your money to purchase upgrades for Beatrix.
These include increased health and stamina, the ability to collect water, perform a shockwave, and even use a jetpack to reach hard to reach areas on the island. All of these serve the purpose of allowing you to withstand the dangers of the island more competently and be strong enough to return from your expeditions alive. Because while this is a fairly casual game, it can be really easy to get overwhelmed by aggressive Slimes.
The island is also home to countless hidden collectibles, from decorations for your ranch, notes left by other ranchers, and many different hidden passageways and shortcuts. It’s incredibly satisfying to venture out into the world and come back with rare materials, slimes, and food items.
Exploring off the beaten path will also occasionally bring you face to face with Gordo Slimes, which are gigantic stationary creatures that are formed when many different regular Slimes of a single type all congregate in one space and merge together. Feeding them enough food will cause them to burst, splitting them back into their original forms. They are also often blocking valuable items and paths.
This is an adventure game as much as it is a farming simulator, and you are constantly rewarded for going out of your way to explore every nook and cranny of the world. The map is massive right now, and the developers will probably add new areas and Slimes as they did for the first game.
Visuals And Performance
Right off the bat, Slime Rancher 2 is a much prettier game than its predecessor, and I’m talking in terms of both the art direction and the graphics themselves. The range of colors, textures, foliage, water effects, etc. have been significantly overhauled, and the Slimes themselves also look more adorable than ever.
The different areas of the map are also much more open now, with multiple different side areas and hidden entrances. I also noticed that many more creatures were able to be on screen at any one moment as well. But there was a near frequent issue where I would briefly only see a Slimes general outline, and their distinguishing trails like ears, tails or wings would take a moment to load in.
And although the vast majority of my time was relatively bug-free, it did crash on me once on the Xbox Series X. There was also an issue where the controller stopped responding to my inputs, and the only direction I could look was straight up at the sky. I did have to quit out of the game and load back in to solve this, but the quicksave system made sure that I didn’t lose any progress.
Apart from the one crash, nothing else I encountered was game-breaking, and my time with the game was smooth most of the time. This isn’t an excuse, but we do have to keep in mind that this is an early-access title. I’m sure that the developers will smooth out these kinks in no time.
As it is right now, Slime Rancher 2 is a fantastic game that should appeal to both returning fans and those getting into the series for the first time. It features all of the same ranching mechanics we fell in love with, but with some much-needed quality of life improvements.
The returning Slimes are still great, and the new additions are also super adorable. The developers have also made the upgrade systems more involved so that now the Plorts you farm can be used directly to upgrade Beatrix’s abilities. No longer do you just require money, now you also have to go out into the world to collect different resources as well for this process.
If the early-access label makes you hesitant to pick it up, then that’s okay. But if the developer’s history is anything to go by, they will continue to fix and expand the title for many years to come. But in the meantime, this is still a highly enjoyable game, and you will not regret investing in it if you take the leap.
This has been our Slime Rancher 2 Review. While you’re at it, be sure to check out some of our other articles.
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Slime Rancher 2 Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
As it is right now, Slime Rancher 2 is a fantastic game that should appeal to both returning fans and those getting into the series for the first time.
- Gorgeous New Artstyle.
- Both New And Returning Slimes.
- More Involved Upgrade System.
- The Ranching Gameplay Loop Is Still Entertaining.
- The Observatory.
- Fantastic New Map.
- Great Music.
- Some Minor Bugs.
- People Looking For Something New Will Be Disappointed.