Mister Slime Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Mister Slime Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Little Slimeball

Frequently, you can’t accurately judge a game by its cover, but it’s not always easy for gamers to set aside certain impressions garnered from box art and screen shots viewed prior to a game’s release.

Mister Slime screenshot

In this regard, some titles elicit excitement, while other games generate apprehension. Lexis Numeriqué’s Mister Slime hovers amidst the gray area in-between. It’s easily written-off as another generic kids’ game; but in truth, it’s a surprisingly innovative and challenging adventure – even if the overall play experience never quite reaches its full potential.

First things first; slime is not a particularly endearing substance. Giving it eyes, stretchable appendages, and a tuft of hair does little to dress up the fact it’s still a ball of mucous and goo. In some instances, developers have been able to pull slime off as cute and charming – the Dragon Quest series, for example – but Mister Slime (Slimy for short) is neither of those things. He’s rather awkward and ugly looking, and his beak-like smile (or menacing frown if you check the cover out) is one only a mother could love. I can’t think of a more unfortunate looking main character for a game clearly appealing to more youthful audiences. Still, ugly looking or not, he’s got some neat tricks up his sleeves.

Mister Slime offers a basic blend of puzzle and platforming gameplay mixed with a slightly unusual exploration element. Instead of navigating the game’s numerous levels by jumping around and stomping or blasting enemies, you traverse the winding terrain by grabbing onto a series of pegs with one of Slimy’s four stretchy limbs and traveling hand-over-hand through the air. The intermittently placed pegs allow you to swing around, catapult in various directions, use your momentum to whack enemies, or even stabilize Slimy in place. It’s a neat mechanic that takes a little getting used-to.

Mister Slime screenshot

Though there is some limited combat, puzzles to solve, tasks to complete, and objects to collect, most of the gameplay revolves around moving through the level safely. All of the level design places emphasis on a more deliberate, slow-and-steady pace, instead of blowing through areas at high-speed – attempting to do so will result in some hard knocks to Slimy’s noggin, which it turns out is easily bruised. Were it not implemented in such an interesting way, the grappling mechanic would otherwise seem a tad gimmicky.

The game’s story revolves around an age-old rivalry on a world populated by the Slimes and their nemesis the Axons. Every 40 years, the two factions engage in bloody and violent ritual warfare to determine the territorial boundaries in the realm for the following cycle. The events in Mister Slime pick up at the start of a new cycle, as both sides are preparing for the coming clash for dominance. While others in his peaceful village are planning for the tough times ahead, Slimy is dillydallying around with his chores. Eventually, he winds up playing hero on a quest to save his village from the Axon forces. The verbose dialogue encountered when running into other characters in the game can quickly become tiresome, and most of the time it seems the story isn’t even particularly necessary – the platforming gameplay is fine on its own. Regardless, it’s not an entirely uninteresting plot.

Mister Slime screenshot

Mister Slime is well suited to the DS, and it utilizes the system’s control possibilities creatively. Touching Slimy’s head and then dragging the stylus to a nearby reachable peg or element will stretch one of the little guy’s available arms out to it. Navigation is accomplished by a combination of grabbing new pegs further away and releasing Slimy’s grasp on the others behind him. The D-Pad can be used to expand the view beyond the default frame to help in locating new handholds to grasp or potential dangers to avoid. Eventually, you can also tap into different elemental powers, by drawing symbols on the touch screen. Blowing gently in the DS microphone also causes him to float in the air to reach new areas (this mechanic is also used to give him air during underwater areas).

The touch controls are sporadically unresponsive, but otherwise it’s quite entertaining to roam about the various levels – at least from a control perspective. Indeed, you’ll be doing plenty of roaming. Since many of the environments within a particular level can look very much the same over time, it’s not always clear where to go. Instead of a map, the top screen simply provides a portrait of Slimy and basic information about his health, your score, and items collected. The other problem is Slimy is a little too fragile; bumping into anything at high speed will harm him, but he’ll also take a beating at odd times by running into seemingly tame objects.

Mister Slime screenshot

While the 2D graphics in Mister Slime are on the simple side, the visual themes are light and colorful. Most levels have a pleasant, upbeat tone that perfectly matches the generally lighthearted nature of the game. The characters themselves aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but the enemies have amusing behaviors that make up for it and keeps things interesting. The majority of the sound effects are mildly grating, but other areas of the game’s audio are very much the opposite. The musical direction stands out noticeably; quite a few of the songs have interesting vocal sounds effects worked into them, and the playful tunes are fun and quirky.

After you’ve beaten the game, collecting all of the flowers scattered through each area (no easy task for those without ample staying power) unlocks a time attack mode for added replay value. Multiplayer modes require both players have a copy of the game, but those with the goods are rewarded with a versus speed challenge, flower eating competition, and score challenge.

Mister Slime features some cool control ideas and a few innovative gameplay elements. Unfortunately, it can be a struggle to stick with the gameplay for extended periods of time; there’s little actual excitement to be had, since the slow pace plods on steadily. There’s a solid game here for those with the patience to see it through.

Bright and colorful, but a little simplified. 3.9 Control
An interesting and inventive control scheme, though it suffers from occasional touch detection issues. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Upbeat and playful music adds greatly to the experience. 3.4

Play Value
Initially fun and fresh gameplay concepts wear a little thin over time.

3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Using the touch screen and stylus, players must navigate the levels by dragging and stretching Slimy’s arms to grab hold of small anchor points scattered throughout the game.
  • Stretch and manipulate your way through the wonderful world of slime.
  • Compete in three multiplayer mini-games.
  • Inventive uses of characteristics specific to Nintendo DS, including sound and shape recognition.

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