Even though video games may have been created to escape the monotony of everyday life, as it turns out, many games aren’t actually all too relaxing. Whether you’re trying to out-aim an opponent in your favorite FPS or fighting for your life in the latest survival title, finding a game that actually reduces stress and anxiety can be harder than it sounds. That’s where a game like Slime Rancher 2 comes in.
Slime Rancher 2, developed by Monomi Park, is a colorful first-person action-adventure game where you take on the role of a rancher, Beatrix LeBeau, in an open-world sandbox. In Slime Rancher 2, the goal is to collect, raise, and breed different cute and cuddly Slimes. With your trusty Vacpack, you’ll raise and breed these Slimes while exploring the surrounding world and its unique biomes.
A Relaxing Gameplay Loop
In Slime Rancher 2, you’re raising Slimes so that they produce what is known as Plorts, the in-game currency. Gaining more Plorts is achieved by feeding your Slimes the right food and building them the right enclosures.
There are a few things that make Slime Rancher 2 so appealing and relaxing. Immediately upon entering the Slime Rancher universe, I was met with a colorful, friendly, and cute aesthetic. Unlike many other video games, no monsters are waiting in the corners (well, other than Tarr slimes), and there is no impending doom or death that you’re fighting against.
Slime Rancher 2 lets players go at their own pace. You can decide what goals you want to achieve; whether that’s becoming the Jeff Bezos of Plorts or just living a life as a Slime farmer–it’s really left up to the player. And while there is a linear storyline and adventure, I often found myself getting completely sidetracked in a self-created mission to obtain a new fruit or breed a new type of Slime. Slime Rancher 2 lets players experiment and explore in a way other games prevent you from doing.
The music and sound design in the game completely fit the light, bright, and happy aesthetic that the game aims for. The score will also change for higher-stress situations, like when you get to Ember Valley. Along with the visuals, the music and sound design help flesh out the world around you and how you should feel in different scenarios.
A Lesson in Economics
Many times in my playthrough, I completely collapsed the Plort market, driving the value of the most valuable and hard-to-obtain Plorts to the ground. And while it’s a pretty basic lesson in economics, it’s not necessarily a game where you think you’d get that sort of lesson.
In fact–though the aesthetic of Slime Rancher 2 looks like it’s made for children, some deeper gameplay mechanics below the surface add variety and depth to the farming and crafting mechanics in the game. Some of the gameplay puzzles had me stumped for a little bit until I understood what I was doing, and the game doesn’t exactly hold your hand with a giant fluorescent arrow the entire time.
Looking for that special purple cabbage that your Slimes prefer? Well, you need to find it in the game world, and they don’t make it obvious on the minimap for you. Want to get past a giant special Slime? Well, you’ve got to figure that out yourself too.
In an environment where QoL tweaks aim to level the playing field in games, it’s nice when a game comes along and really challenges your brain. With that being said, I never found myself feeling frustrated with the puzzles, or with the gameplay difficulty. Ultimately, it’s a nice balance between being challenging and approachable for everyone.
Slime Rancher 2 is Aptly in Early Access
When we’re talking Early Access, there are usually two types of games. One type of Early Access means that the underlying gameplay mechanics or performance needs to be improved. Other Early Access games lack the mid-to-end-game content that the game will eventually offer on full release. Slime Rancher 2 is the latter.
Slime Rancher 2 ran great on my PC, and I only suffered a single crash (while multitasking) during my 15 hours of playtime. The movement feels smooth and like you have real momentum when running, which made the platforming sections of the game fun. I didn’t clip through walls or die randomly, and the finished levels in the game are fleshed out with different minerals, resources, and Slimes.
That being said, if you plan on picking up Slime Rancher 2 in Early Access, 15 hours of playtime is about all the playtime you’ll get. The starting area is Rainbow Island, and two additional Islands, Ember Valley and Starlight Strand are the only biomes currently available. The developers plan on adding more biomes soon, but that being said–the game can feel a bit slim on actual content, especially because it’s so addictive, and you’ll want to discover more. While there is a ton to do, explore, and discover, you will be disappointed if you expect a full-length game.
Slime Rancher 2 is a relaxing and colorful adventure game with hours of exploration and discovery in the Early Access version. With surprisingly deep mechanics and a variety of fun tasks you can do, Slime Rancher 2 lets players experience the game at their own pace. Though more needs to be added to the game come full release, there is still enough content to justify the price.
If you’re tired of the glut of hyper-violent, stress-inducing video games that dominate the market, and are looking for a fun and relaxing adventure game for all ages and backgrounds, then Slime Rancher 2 is worth picking up in early access.
Slime Rancher 2 Review (Early Access)
Slime Rancher 2 early access is a fun and relaxing action adventure game with a cute and bright aesethtic that is fun to play, though the developers must add more content before the full release.
You can purchase Slime Rancher in Early Access on Steam.
See our Review Policy Here.
[Reviewed on PC]