Rocket Slime is a pleasant, exhilarating title that escapes the ordinary.
Lucky me, I got a copy a day or two after the game's launch, and only 45 minutes in I was already finding it tough to put it down.
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime stars a lowly monster from Dragon Quest, the slime. The story takes place in the kingdom of Slimenia, a peaceful land now invaded by some evil-doer group naming themselves the Plob. The Plob attacks the capital city of Boingburg and kidnaps all its slime inhabitants, and now their fate rests on the only survivor, Rocket. Rocket has no choice but to accept the tough task of rescuing his fellow slimes and ridding the land of the Plob.
At first, Rocket may seem like a harmless, useless little blue blob, but he is far from that. Initially, he only has a special ability called Elastoblast, where he stretches to charge and then attacks enemies. Later in the game, Rocket will go through the Goonin trials to improve this attack and be able to break crystal walls.
When attacking something, that item or monster will rise up in the air. He can then carry whatever he catches on his back. This is how you collect items and monsters, you carry them and toss them on the train that leads to town.
The different areas of the world map offer varied landscapes, with forests, mountains, cliffs and caves to explore and a large number of enemies, slimes and items to find. There are many obstacles that incite environmental puzzle-solving: breakable rock walls, wells that work as shortcuts, streams with currents that drag you, crystal walls, cannons for shooting sand sculptures, and much more.
Collecting is the major part of this game. There are 100 slimes waiting to be found and let out of their prison chests, tons of enemies and many more items. When visiting each new area you get an overview of it on the world map that says how many items, monsters and slimes are left to find and how many you have collected already.
Further collecting includes all sorts of monsters to create statues in the museum (bronze, silver and gold, depending on how many of each monster you collect) and any kind of items to use in the recipes for the Krak Pot. The Krak Pot introduces alchemy to the game by allowing you to mix existing items in order to create new and more powerful ones.
Every time you save a slime you are rewarded with a thank you note and either a useful item or a recipe to create an item. Every item you collect can be used as ammo in your tank, and depending on the item, some will do a lot of damage, others will hardly hurt your opponent.
You can say that the game is divided into two parts: exploration and tank battles. Tank battles happen when you encounter a member of Plob who has his own tank. You can then summon your Schleiman Tank and challenge him to a fight.
The mechanics are simple. You pick up items that come down the ammo chutes, carry them up to the top level and fire them off the cannons. The whole battle is a frenzy of running around carrying things back to the cannons and tossing them in. However, the enemy also has an upper and a lower tank, so there's a bit of strategy involved since you shoot to defend yourself and intercept the enemy's armor. Once the enemy tank's hit points reach zero, you have to run over and attack their "heart" (the tank's engine) with an Elastoblast to win the fight.
Battles become much more involving when you start using recipes to create better ammo and when you have three other crew members to help you out. Some of the slimes you have will join you, and any monster that you have collected 30 of will also join after you talk to them in the museum. You can set the crew in the garage and their functions at the beginning of each battle, and let me tell you, it's useful to have someone who can infiltrate and sabotage with someone who can heal and someone else who just keeps firing.
The Schleiman Tank can also be upgraded with more HP and ammo carrying capacity, and much later in the game you will be able to fight arena battles where you gain ranks and special items for your tank.
One of the mini-games in Rocket Slime is a Wi-Fi multiplayer tank battle. The other is a little surfing game where you try to collect as many coins as possible, and you can share it with friends via download play.
A great feature of this game is its humor. You will find hilarious dialogs, funny remarks and silly names all over Boingburg and adjacent areas. The music is quite nice, I found myself humming it along after only 15 minutes of gameplay, and I particularly like the military tone of the tank battle theme. Graphically, the whole game is presented in a too cute art style, with bright and colorful characters and environments, and it's the little details that make the town so appealing and worthy of exploring.
Rocket Slime is a pleasant, exhilarating title that escapes the ordinary. Its light-hearted and humorous nature make it a fun game for all ages, and the collecting part ensures a good amount of hours for the completist gamer.
If you haven't picked it up yet, I think it's time you thought about it.
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