Slime Rancher 2 Review

Slime Rancher 2 Review

Since the advent of indie games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, it seems as though every indie game developer has been trying to put their fingers in that farming simulator, slice of life pie. It’s no secret that very few can actually pull the formula off in a way that can scratch the ever-growing cozy game itch, but Monomi Park managed to pull it off with their Slime Rancher series.

Slime Rancher 2 is a game I’ve been waiting for since its announcement back in June 2021. Its prequel title, Slime Rancher, encapsulated me with its adorable designs, simple premise, and what turned out to be a surprisingly moving story, so Slime Rancher 2 had some pretty hefty boots to fill.

This sequel successfully manages to make more of the same engaging and fun, and given that it’s still just in early access, Slime Rancher 2 still has a long, Slime filled road to go down in terms of development. That being said, what we’ve received upon release is certainly a promising starting point for any wannabe slime wrangler. Strap on your Vac-Pac and overalls because I’m about to give you the low down on Slime Rancher 2.

Welcome to a Slime Rancher 2 Review.

Shiny, Shiny Slimes

largo cotton slimes slime rancher 2
Largo and normal Cotton Slimes in the wild, pause for “awws”. Photo by Bethany Gerrish.

The most glaring difference between Slime Rancher and Slime Rancher 2 is the incredible glow-up in the graphics quality. This game looks simply stunning. It takes the adorable whimsy from its predecessor and runs with it creating beautiful environments and a world that anyone would be happy to wake up to. The designs of the new types of slimes your can wrangle also fit the world really well. I think it can be easy for new creatures to look out of place, but Monomi Park has done a fantastic job of allowing the slimes, both old and new, to fit the areas they live in perfectly.

This refinement in graphics quality is the least we can ask for, however, especially when most of the appeal of the game is the cute slimes you can collect and farm. Especially since the world where you are setting up your new ranch is known as Rainbow Island, I would expect it to be visually impressive enough to meet expectations.

The shiny new lick of paint was well needed in the Slime Rancher series, and though it may be the bare minimum, it is, without a doubt, one of the greatest appeals of Slime Rancher 2 at this point in its development.

Once Upon a Time on the Far, Far Range

Rainbow Island Slime Rancher
Our home sweet home on Rainbow Island, the Conservatory. Photo by Bethany Gerrish.

With one of the most glaring upgrades out of the way, it’s time to figure out why our playable character, Beatrix LeBoux, decided to uproot from the Far-Far Range and begin a new life on Rainbow Island.

In an opening exposition type of cutscene, we can see that a mysterious boat appeared with a letter telling us a new adventure awaits on Rainbow Island. This is apparently enough incentive for us to leave our highly successful slime ranch on the Far, Far Range behind to start again in the middle of nowhere. As far as calls to adventure go, this one feels pretty weak, but we have to get the ball rolling somehow, so mystery boat it is!

Aside from the opening exposition slide show, we get a few hints that something is off with Rainbow island through the Comm Station. Characters we met in the first Slime Rancher are here to tell us that something is strange about the island, and there are some Bee Drones scattered across the world from whoever was here before us with tidbits of exposition, much like with the drones in Slime Rancher one. That’s all we get in the way of a plot.

Of course, Slime Rancher 2 is still in early access, and with plans for updates spanning over a year, it is very likely that this story is going to get fleshed out significantly. However, as it stands, coming off the back of the first Slime Rancher, the story in Slime Rancher 2 leaves much to be desired.

The Sound of Slime

I always think in cozy games like Slime Rancher, the soundtrack is important. When you’re doing repetitive tasks like moving slimes from A to B for an hour, having a decent soundtrack to listen to can make the process much less tedious. The soundtrack in Slime Rancher 2 certainly delivers, with the main themes you hear on a day-to-day basis being soothing and nice to listen to in order to pad out the monotonous nature of some of the gameplay.

The music also conveys a sense of danger very well. Seasoned slime ranchers will know that when a Largo slime eats a Plort, it shouldn’t, it turns into a Tar Slime and starts trying to devour everything in sight, other slimes included. This is, of course, a huge problem, and the music does a great job of portraying that urgency, though it does lose its effect when it’s all you listen to when out on an adventure (more on that later).

Eat, Sleep, Slime, Repeat

Gordo Flutter Slime
The Gordo Flutter Slime ripe to be burst. Photo by Bethany Gerrish.

Though I love all things Slime Rancher, I’ll be the first to admit that the gameplay loop got repetitive fast in this game. Just like in the first Slime Rancher game, we start out with 250 coins and one corral ready for us to fill with slimes. Unlike the first Slime Rancher, when we start, we already have access to the Refinery and Fabricator, something we would have had to grind 10,000 coins for in the first game.

The Fabricator and Refinery act as our way of upgrading our health, stamina, and Vacpac, as well as being the only way to unlock upgrades like the jetpack and water tank. Whilst you need to explore the island in order to get the resources to make these upgrades, the fact that they are available from day one really diminishes the replayability and shortens the gameplay loop significantly.

For me, it felt as though there was no real reason to play, as I already had everything I needed from the start. Yes, I still needed to get all the upgrades to make progression easier, but thats not to say I needed the upgrades to progress. Whilst I understand that Slime Rancher 2 is a direct sequel, it felt like I was already starting in the end game of Slime Rancher one with no room to develop further. Being able to access Slime Science from day one is a nice option to have, but with the overall lack of content in the game right now, this feels as though it’s to its detriment.

This, coupled with the fact that there are no quests like there were in the first Slime Rancher, makes for a very short game. Right now, the gameplay loop is collect Slimes, collect Plorts, sell Plorts, use resources to get upgrades, then rinse and repeat. Of course, there is an entire island to explore, which is very engaging and rewarding when you get the entire map filled out, but this turns into brief resource runs to get the upgrades almost too quickly.

There are also other side activities to do, like popping Gordo Slimes, huge slimes that appear in set areas of the map that, once fed a certain amount of food, will unlock other areas, make the areas you already have unlocked easier to explore or give you a quick teleport back to your home conservatory. Whilst popping the Gordo Slimes also drop some recourses as a reward as well as smaller slime versions of themselves, these rewards feel negligible when you consider that by the time you’re comfortable popping the Gordo Slimes, you probably already have plenty of the slimes the represent back in the conservatory.

You could also decorate your base with the blueprints you can find scattered across the map or as gifts from the NPCs on the Comm link. However, this, to me, is not a substitute for actual gameplay, and if the only thing I can do to pass the time in a game is decorating after only nine hours of playing, then for me, there is not enough, especially at the endgame.

As a lover of the first Slime Rancher Game, I definitely enjoyed what little gameplay there currently is, but I did still feel a little disheartened with how quickly I got through everything, especially when I was trying to take my time.

There are things missing from Slime Rancher 2 that made the first Slime Rancher as good as it was, but again, Slime Rancher 2 is still in early access with plans for many updates in the future. I’m hoping that these updates will give the game a real plot as opposed to what is implied through cryptic messages, as well as more content for us to sink our teeth into because right now, there just isn’t enough to keep the gameplay loop interesting.

The kicker of this is that it means that right now, Slime Rancher 2 has no replayability because once you’ve collected all the slimes you want to collect, filled out the map, and gotten all of the upgrades, that’s it. After that, there is no reason to experience Slime Rancher 2 again because you’ve already done everything. But with updates planned over the next year, new content feels inevitable, which will hopefully fix the lack of anything to do.

Tarr Troubles

Tarr Slime slime rancher
A Tarr Slime causing issues, poor little Flutter Slime. Photo by Bethany Gerrish.

Earlier I mentioned Tarr Slimes and how you’ll be hearing the music they cause a lot, especially when you’re out exploring. This may seem like a minor issue, especially for an early-access game, but right now, Slime Rancher 2 is experiencing a huge Tarr infestation. Because of how many slimes spawn on top of each other in every area, Tarr slimes are constantly being created and wreaking havoc absolutely everywhere in the overworld.

Only water can get rid of these slimes, but with the volume they spawn, it’s easier to just ignore them than deal with them. It’s a pain to be constantly hunted in a game that’s supposed to be cutesy and cozy, and while there should always be the potential for something to go wrong, that potential quickly loses its impact when it’s constantly happening.

What It Got Right

rainbow island
Your first steps into Rainbow Island. Photo by Bethany Gerrish.

This does, however, lead me to something that Slime Rancher 2 does very well from the get-go, accessibility settings. You have all of the usual control and graphics settings, but what stood out to me was the ability to basically completely customize the difficulty of the game. Being as cute looking as it is, there is a very high likelihood that Slime Rancher 2 will attract a younger audience who may not want the challenge that the Tarr or Feral slimes (both being able to damage you) bring.

Monomi Park has made it so that you can disable both the Tarr and Feral slimes entirely, as well as being able to completely customize how much damage you take from all sources. This gives you the option of being basically immune to everything to taking almost double the damage. Though this seems pretty minor on paper, it’s nice to have the option for an easy mode or challenge if you want one.

Let me take you back to the first Slime Rancher. You’ve just shelled out 10,000 coins to unlock the Slime Lab and managed to look in the Fabricator for the first time, only to be greeted with materials you’ve never seen before. To get these, you need to build and place extractors all over the map to be given to chance to receive an item you need.

It was long-winded and tedious, but Slime Rancher 2 has totally fixed this. Now with a simple upgrade to your Vacpac, you can collect these materials in the world. Whilst some may be harder to find than others, collecting resources is much easier in Slime Rancher 2 than in the first Slime Rancher.

This shows to me that although there isn’t a lot of story content to keep you engaged for the long haul right now, the developers at Monomi Park really put the player first and took on feedback from the first game, which only bodes well for future updates of Slime Rancher 2

The Alternatives

Stardew Valley

If you enjoyed Slime Rancher 2 but feel that, as it stands, you’re left wanting more, then some of these games might just be what you need.

Slime Rancher

Though it may feel like a cop-out to recommend the first game, as it stands, Slime Rancher 2 has nothing that its prequel game hasn’t already got. Though this will likely change once Slime Rancher 2 gets its full release, you can’t go wrong with more Slime wrangling to tide you over!

Stardew Valley

One of the games that sparked the uprising of farming sims and the beloved “cozy game” trend. Stardew Valley is, without a doubt, a fantastic game that will scratch that farming itch and has great gameplay and replayability to boot.

Ooblets

Another farming sim that lets you collect some funky little creatures gives out some serious Slime Rancher vibes. If slimes weren’t enough for you, you’d definitely find some joy in Ooblets.

The Quick Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The game is visually stunning
  • The gameplay at its core is more Slime Rancher, which is a very good thing
  • The soundtrack matches the world and portrays urgency when it needs to
  • Slime Rancher 2 successfully fixes a lot of the quality of life issues seen in the first Slime Rancher
  • There are lots of accessibility settings making the game accessible for anyone, no matter their ability.
  • Being in early access means that the only way is up.

Cons

  • There is no real story to speak of at this point in the development of the game
  • There are no fetch quests like there were in the first Slime Rancher, limiting the gameplay loop
  • The Tarr slimes spawn far too often and are more annoying than threatening
  • Having the refinery and Fabricator unlocked from the start does take out the end game content we saw in Slime Rancher one

FAQs

Question: How long is Slime Rancher 2?

Answer: It took me nine hours to get through all of the currently available content, with the exception of popping the Flutter Gordo (It requires an item you can’t farm yourself and is far too tedious to grind right now). I was also taking my time and trying to take in all I could to get as many drops of content out of it as possible. The lack of story and quests are the biggest thing missing from the game, which is no doubt the most responsible for the short gameplay time.

Question: Do you need to play the first Slime Rancher to get Slime Rancher 2?

Answer: As it stands, no. Slime Rancher 2 works as a stand-alone game, though playing the first slime rancher will definitely give you more context as to who the main character and NPCs are. Aside from that, the core gameplay is basically the same, though Slime Rancher 2 definitely takes the quality of life issues from Slime Rancher one and fixes them.

Question: When will Slime Rancher 2 get its full release?

Answer: Monomi Park have stated that they have at least 18 months of content updates planned before Slime Rancher 2 gets its official release, but this is not a hard and fast deadline. Being a no crunch studio, Monomi Park plan to take the time they need to make Slime Rancher 2 the best it can be, and I, for one, cannot wait to see where they take the game.

The Verdict

Score: 5/10

I think it’s important for me to preface this score by saying this is a review for the game as it was in its first early access launch. As of writing, there have been no updates, though this is highly likely to change in the future.

I have a lot of love for the Slime Rancher series, but right now, Slime Rancher 2 is missing too much for me to score it any higher than 5. The game looks fantastic, and the soundtrack certainly backs that up, but the lack of story, repetitive gameplay loop that gets stale quickly, and the lack of replayability that this causes makes me unable to score this any higher than a 5.

Right now, Slime Rancher 2 is more Slime Rancher, just with less to do. Whilst more Slime Rancher is far from a bad thing, the overall lack of content really pulls the game down. With future content updates, I’m sure that we will have more to do in the game, but if you’re interested in a story as touching as the first Slime Rancher, you’re better off waiting for these updates to come to fruition.

Play Log

I have spent 13+ hours collecting every currently available slime, popping Gordo slimes, and completing the Slimepedia. My gear is fully upgraded and my map and every collectible on it have been filled out and explored.

Though my conservatory has been slightly neglected due to the amount of exploring I have done, every major area upgrade has been unlocked and is subsequently filled with slimes, farms, and more chickens than will ever be necessary. I’m looking forward to seeing what new content gets added in the coming weeks so I can spend yet more time on Rainbow Island.

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