Review: Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition (Switch)

A superior way to experience this slime-rangling classic!

By Achi Ikeda. Posted 10/20/2021 14:58 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Addicting gameplay; rich environments to explore; adorableness
Poison Mushroom for...
Newbucks lose their use after unlocking everything (but this does take a considerable amount of time)

I first played Slime Rancher on Steam in 2018. I loved the game so much that I bought the Steam controller so I could play easier. I put a lot of hours into that game. Then, in 2020, I pre-ordered the Xbox version so I could finally play the game on console. I, along, with many other Nintendo gamers, had been pining for a Switch release for years. So after seeing the reveal for Slime Rancher at the August 8 Indie World Direct, I quickly realized that once again I would be buying the game. This time on my favorite console.

I’m really not the kind of person who will buy a game multiple times for different consoles. If I ever do it by accident, I get frustrated with my forgetfulness. Even if the game comes out later on a console I prefer, i.e. Switch, I don’t repurchase it. Buy it again? Preposterous! Yet something about Slime Rancher makes it immune to my rules.

I initially had concerns with the Switch or, “Plortable Edition,” of Slime Rancher. Fans had been hoping and asking for a Switch version for some time. There was even a petition! But word was that Switch’s processor couldn’t handle the physics of the game, so I was worried that this version would have noticeable frame rate reduction, lower quality graphics, or even worse issues. My fears were immediately put to rest—the game runs flawlessly.

So what about Slime Rancher makes it worth buying three times? Or even just the one time? Slime Rancher is a management game taking place on the Far, Far Range, a planet light years away from Earth. Since it’s a management game, starting a new file is full of optimism for the plans and potential of your new ranch. How will I organize my ranch this time? Where should I start exploring first? Slime Rancher is also a unique resource management game as it is a first person adventure with fun physics simulation! You manipulate a vacuum gun, the Vacpack. Using the Vacpack is easy, simple, and never gets boring. The game’s mechanics and controls are overall simple and easy to pick up, but the Vacpacks strength comes from how versatile it is. It’s a little like Luigi’s Poltergust 5000 from Luigi’s Mansion, but instead of ghosts, you suck up and shoot out slimes, fruits, veggies, and chickens (more on that later).

Throughout the game as you earn more and more newbucks, the currency on the Far, Far Range, you can purchase upgrades that help you better explore the land around your ranch. It’s a colorful world with diverse environments and cheery, whimsical music by Harry Mack that does a great job of adding magic and mysteriousness to some of the areas. As you explore, there are plenty of slimes to capture, scattered messages from the previous owner of the ranch to read, and a plethora of hidden chests to find. Even exploring the environments on my third playthrough was enjoyable because of the many hidden nooks and paths to rediscover, and the multiple ways areas connect makes it easy to get lost again, but in a good way.

Slime Rancher, if you haven’t yet realized, is also adorable. Unlike most games, slimes are no longer your weak, pathetic enemies to pummel at the beginning of an RPG, but rather, cute balls of goo that bounce around and make adorable “wee” and “ooooh” sounds as they get tossed around by your Vacpack. When exploring the Far, Far Range, you will be excited to discover each new slime variant with its own unique appearance, abilities, and diet. Slimes will either prefer fruits, veggies, or meat. All food can be found around the Far, Far Range or grown on your ranch. Meat takes the form of plentiful, round, bocking chickens to suck up in your Vacpack and sadistically shoot into the mouths of your precious slimes. Some slimes are more difficult to contain than others. Certain slimes can even damage you, so watch out! Slimes can be kept in corrals or you can give them free range of the ranch. You have a limited number of spots on your ranch that can be turned into corrals, gardens, storage silos, or other useful facilities. So put careful consideration into how you design and lay out your ranch! Luckily, if you change your mind, you can demolish a plot and build something new, but it’ll cost you.

Each slime variety, other than the pink slime who will eat anything, has a different diet, different favorite food, and create their own “plort.” A plort is essentially slime poop, but the process is, of course, cute. Feeding a slime food from its diet causes them to immediately create a small crystal called a plort. You must manage your slimes, sell plorts, and keep an eye on the “plort market.” The Slime Rancher economy is all about supply and demand. The more of a certain type of plort you sell, the lower its value drops. So it is satisfying and rewarding to strategically hoard plorts and then sell plorts off in big loads to quickly earn a lot of newbucks.

What do you do with all these newbucks? Along with upgrades to your equipment, inside your home you can purchase 7Zee rewards that clean up your ranch and unlock extra color styles. There are also new areas on your ranch to unlock including a Slime Science Lab to craft all sorts of gadgets and decorations! At the lab, you purchase blueprints and can then use various plorts to create all sorts of new utilities to help out with the ranch, gadgets to mine and collect resources, warp technology to more quickly explore the Far, Far Range, and decorations to beautify your ranch. I recommend putting focus into unlocking the lab because it’s a real game changer.

Along with fun gameplay, Slime Rancher has a subtle story told through the notes left behind by the previous ranch owner as well as a story told through letters you receive from Casey, someone who the protagonist, Beatrix LeBeau, knew back on Earth. It’s sweet and totally avoidable if you don’t feel like reading or just want to focus on the gameplay, which is something I really appreciate in a game. Slime Rancher is a game that lets you control the pace, go where you want, and do what you want, something that makes me feel understood as a player.

When you aren’t exploring or making sure your slimes are fed, there are still plenty of other things to do. Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition comes with all the DLC and updates that were offered in the PC version of the game. This includes the extra styles for your slimes and mini games to play at the residences of the other charming inhabitants of the Far, Far Range. The minigames aren’t as entertaining as the core gameplay, but they offer some nice variety.

Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition is a perfect combination of adventure, management, and cuteness that is addicting in the way all the best management sims are, but still brings a lot of originality to the genre. It’s relaxing and a must-play on Switch for any wholesome gamers.

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