Coming from Pequi Studios, but published by Ratalaika as it is pushed out to console, is Dungeon Slime Collection. Now, the more observant amongst you may have noticed that this name implies that there is more than one game on offer here, and those people would be right. What we have is Dungeon Slime: Puzzle’s Adventure, and Dungeon Slime 2: Puzzle in the Dark Forest. So, I guess the question we have to answer is should you give these games a whirl, and what would you find if you did? Well, let’s see if we can put your mind at ease.
The story of the games is embarrassingly slight, to be brutally honest, as both revolve around Billy the Slime. Basically, he finds himself in a series of dungeons, and has to get out. I wonder how they came up with the name for this game…? Anyway, that’s it as far as narrative goes, so this may be a short review.
Presentation is on the simplistic side too, as you might expect for a game from this publisher. Each individual screen is laid out as a static backdrop, with various obstacles that Billy needs to get past. In the first game these are pretty much all spikes, but the second game ups the ante by not only introducing voracious wildlife (don’t tell Nintendo, but these look a lot like the Piranha Plants from the Mario games) and also spikes that can be retracted. Billy is a charming enough Slime, and changes shape depending on your actions, and so the puzzle aspect is all present and correct.
As for sound, well, the slide and squelch as Billy moves and hits walls is pretty good, and the heartbreaking “squish” as he meets a spike or is eaten by a plant is similar. There is however a serious lack of music throughout, so the audio style is somewhat minimalist. It works nonetheless.
What about the gameplay? Well, again, we’re looking at a pretty short paragraph, as Dungeon Slime Collection is one of those games that is easy to pick up, but hard to master, at least at first. The first thing you have to choose is whether to play on Normal or Hard mode, with the only difference being that Hard mode only gives you a limited number of moves to complete the level in, while Normal lets you slide about to your heart’s content.
This brings us on nicely to how Billy performs. As a Slime, he doesn’t have an inconvenient skeleton to get in the way, and so as he slides and hits obstacles, he changes his shape. Go left, for instance, and Billy will elongate from top to bottom as his sides compress, while going up will see him elongate sideways as the top is pressed down. All clear so far? Well, as you might expect, there are bits of the levels that require Billy to be a certain shape in order to get past, and so a modicum of planning is required to make sure that Billy is in the right physical form to slide through the dungeon and out of the exit. And that is the whole of Dungeon Slime Collection, right there – slide Billy about, avoid the hazards, move to the next level, rinse and repeat. It isn’t as easy as I make it sound, and with lots of levels to go at, the challenge is there.
But that challenge is certainly not a long term one – but perhaps that is to be expected for a Ratalaika title that is cheap as chips. As is normal – and as I have complained about before – it’s the achievements that pretty much hamstring any desire to see the whole of the game. As an example, Dungeon Slime: Puzzle’s Adventure will have given up all its achievements by the time you have completed level twelve, and it is level thirteen for Dungeon Slime 2: Puzzle in the Dark, by which time there is no desire to keep going. With over forty levels to go at across the two games, you can see that this is effectively removing the desire to play half of what is on offer.
As a little aside, you can earn all the achievements without once touching Hard mode, so the challenge is further diluted. Don’t get me wrong, what there is is good fun to play, and if the achievements were distributed a little better, there would be more of an incentive to play all the way through, but I’m sure that many will grab the Gamerscore and then move on to the next game in their list.
For the low asking price, Dungeon Slime Collection does bring a modicum of fun, but it is fun that is cut short fairly quickly. For achievement hunters, it all makes sense, but for anyone looking to play for the long term, this isn’t it.
Dungeon Slime Collection can be obtained from the Xbox Store