PAX East Preview: Getting a Hands-On Look at Slime Heroes – Slimy and Satisfying

When all else fails, even the tiniest of slimes can become the biggest of heroes. I never thought a game about slime would make me misty-eyed, but Slime Heroes managed to immediately suck me in and break my heart. When I played a demo at PAX East this year, I was ready to make a cute little slime and go on a cartoon journey – I didn’t expect to have feelings.

In most games, slime critters are easy-to-kill beginner enemies. So far this year, I’ve covered both Persona 3 Reload and Stardew Valley here at TheGamer, and in both of those games, slimes are pretty weak. In P3R, the Persona Slime is the very first Persona that you can make for one of the game’s most major arcana.

Meanwhile, in Stardew Valley, slimes of varying colors will typically be the first and weakest enemies you encounter in new areas of the mines, and you can even breed them and keep them on your farm. How do I choose just one cute animal to choose as my partner as I help renovate the ruined island of Snacko? But with Slime Heroes, developer Whitethorn Games is flipping that trope on its head.

A vile purple mist settles on the otherwise idyllic world you inhabit. It corrupts every living being it touches as it spreads far and wide. But one type of creature is completely immune to its effect: the slimes.

The game begins with my custom slime – neon green with squinty eyes and vampire fangs, casting a red shadow for optimal threatening vibes – as it spends time with its aging, tired guardian, when our peaceful meadow is attacked by creatures from the mist. I fight valiantly with my slime’s comically goopy fist, but the monsters are too much for us to handle. With the last of its already waning strength, my guardian tells me it has faith in me and teleports me someplace safer, staying behind to try fending off the enemies alone.

After an emotional and passionate plea for me to believe in myself, I’m plunked down into a vividly colorful first level. At once, I’m surrounded by the vibrant greens of a lush jungle that manages to just about contrast the muddled fuchsia and indigo of the enemies that linger within. On my own for the first time, I muster up some courage, like I swore to my guardian that I would, and swing at the first enemy blocking my path.

It’s a tough battle, but after one last good hit, the enemy soars off a nearby cliff. It drops a gemstone, which I gobble up. This little treasure grants me a new ability, a tornado that I summon to sweep up the foes ahead of me.

Eager, I test this on the next set of enemies and send them careening off the same cliff as their buddy. As I stride confidently onward, another creature drops yet another tornado gem, and the rep from Whitethorn urges me to combine the two identical items to see what happens. Stacking a tornado onto a tornado in my menu screen allows my slime to summon an even bigger windstorm.

I have a total of four possible combination attacks, and with another 17 unique types of gemstone abilities to collect, the possibilities feel endless. But with better attacks come stronger foes, and I’m not too proud to admit I died a few times trying to find a shortcut through the level. Slime Heroes is forgiving in that sense, allowing you to respawn at the beginning of the level and backtrack to your fallen slime after a delightfully snarky game-over screen teases you for the loss, collecting all the loot you dropped the first time around.

Once I best the stronger enemies with my mega-tornado, the next area gifts me another type of power-up, a projectile that allows me to use my magic to attack from afar. After I test this out, I combine it with the tornado gem. Situating the two one way – tornado first, projectile second – creates a protective ring around my slime that proves helpful in battle with the increasingly strong foes in the mist.

When I swap them around so that the projectile is first and the tornado is second, though, I instead find myself with a weapon that fires a tornado in a straight line, decimating everything in its path. The trailer showcases a number of different gemstones – fire, ice, and plenty of other assorted elements – that allow you to experiment and find what attack combinations work best for you. Another fun thing about Slime Heroes is that it has an optional co-op mode, meaning you and a friend can join up at any point and coordinate to use a total of eight customized attacks.

Loot is shared between you in co-op, meaning you’ll work together to combine both gemstones and the currency that allows you to purchase power-ups, but you can still make progress in the same save on your own later on if you so choose. Slime Heroes is both fun and really cute, but beyond that, it tells a story about mustering up courage even as an underdog and learning to fight for yourself. The message of believing in yourself no matter what happens might be drenched in bold colors, adorable art direction, and sassy backchat from the game over screens when you die, but Slime Heroes is here to say that no matter who you are or how you’re perceived, with a little faith, everyone can be a hero in their own right.

Even a slime.

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