Slime Rancher asks if you’ve ever wanted to play a game all about farming adorable slimes with a vacuum gun? All while set to an endearing yet surprisingly thought-provoking sci-fi story? If you say “Yes” to both, then this may be the farming simulator for you.

Slime Rancher: Details

"Slime Rancher" Epic Games Store key art.
This image is basically the whole game in a nutshell. Or slime shell.

Slime Rancher is an open-world, first-person, life, and farming simulator adventure game by US indie developer Monomi Park, who also published the game (with Skybound Games responsible for publishing the console ports). Nick Popovich is the director, with Chris Lum as the designer. Ian McConville and Victoria Joh are the artists behind all that adorable slime art, with Harry Mack as the composer for the game’s music.

Slime Rancher was released on August 1, 2017. You can purchase it on Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, or Nintendo eShop. The game has a retail price of $19.99 ($24.99 on the Nintendo Switch for some reason), so it’s fairly cheap. The game also frequently has large discounts during sales though, so I recommend waiting for such a sale before purchasing it.

Plus, the game now has an upcoming sequel in the form of Slime Rancher 2. The game will launch sometime in Fall 2022. You can wishlist it now on Steam.

Warning: spoilers for Slime Rancher below. If you want to check out the interstellar story of a slime farmer below, then stop here, and come back once you’ve finished selling your slime poop. It makes sense in context.

Slime Rancher: Plot Summary

The launch trailer tells you all you need to know about the plot of this game.

Slime Rancher stars Beatrix “Bea” LeBeau as she travels to a planet far from Earth called the Far, Far Range to take over a slime ranch she bought from its former owner: a guy named Hobson Twillgers, who has apparently been missing since the start of the story. While you’re busy raising adorable slimes and selling their poop for profit, the story feeds itself to you in breadcrumbs via mail you get at your house and via text messages, and Hobson leaves for you all across the Far, Far Range.

According to those text messages, Hobson was also a rancher eager for the great outdoors and exploration. Over the course of his exploration though, he fell in love with fellow rancher Thora West. This prompted him to rethink his life goals. At the end of the final area of the game (the Glass Desert), you find the last text messages from Hobson that initially imply that he was going to leave the Far, Far Range via an alien stargate for a brand new adventure. Instead, his final message reveals that he actually gave up being a rancher to marry his Thora. Apparently, he has been living with her all this time, and just never told anyone.

Hobson’s messages though leave a bit of an impression on Bea. She thinks about the meaning of his messages as she ponders her lover, Casey, whom she left behind on Earth, and who has been regularly mailing Bea all this time. Will Bea ever get back with Casey? Well, that’s presumably what we will find out in Slime Rancher 2. Hopefully.

Slime Rancher: The Good

"Slime Rancher" screenshot showing your ranch as seen from the doorstep, mostly empty save for a corral filled with pink slimes.
It only looks empty now, but that just means there’s room to add whatever you want into it.

The gameplay is hands-down the best part of Slime Rancher. It’s basically a farming simulator, but with slimes as your livestock. The first-person view though makes the whole experience feel more immersive than the top-down view in other farming simulators like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley. It feels more like an adventure game at times than a pure farming simulator. This is only further enhanced by the puzzle, platforming, and exploration elements of the game, making it feel like Portal at times.

The characters and story can feel minimalist at times, but they do add a subtle touch to Slime Rancher. Whether you’re reading messages Hobson left for you or fulfilling fetch quests from NPC fellow ranchers, they do add a nice touch to the gameplay. The characters are pretty likable, and they have interesting story arcs that make you feel for them. There’s not much in the way of characterization and story, but what little of it is there feels surprisingly fleshed out.

Slime Rancher: The Bad

"Slime Rancher" screenshot showing your ranch at night and overrun with Tarrs.
While Tarrs are indeed bad, they’re not the worst parts of the game.

For all that I put the story and characters of Slime Rancher into the “Good” category, I have to also put them into the “Bad” category as well. I feel like the game could’ve been better if there were more of both. I wish I could talk to characters through things other than just the video consoles. None of the characters have voices (including Bea herself), which can mean that you don’t fully immerse yourself into the characters. I would like if I could hear their voices, or at least any voice. Other than the “Whoo-hoos” and “Ha-has” of the slimes, that is. Heck, I wished at times that Bea would just let out a yelp of pain when she got hit, just so I know I’m not playing a silent robot.

To summarize: I liked Slime Rancher‘s story and characters. I just wish I got more. Maybe the sequel will fix that?

Source: Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Nintendo eShop