This game oozes odd. For those who came in late, the 'slimes' are
monsters in the Dragon Quest series. Blue, teardrop-shaped creatures,
they are defined by vacantly happy expressions and a tendency to sway
happily back and forth, as though a bloopy Japanese pop song was the
soundtrack to their lives. Once subordinate to the humanoid characters of
Dragon Quest, this traditional action/adventure title sees the little blobs of
indeterminate goodwill come into their own.
The story starts by introducing us to Rocket, a young blue slime without a
care in the world. However, his cares begin to increase when a giant tank
bombards his hometown with a huge tank resembling some kind of duck.
The army of talking, flightless birds in charge of this invasion then proceed
to abduct every slime in sight. It is a crime reminiscent of Team Rocket in
the Pokemon anime, and their tireless attempts to kidnap every Pokemon
in sight with their inappropriately designed war machines. At any rate, it is
soon established that young Rocket has been chosen by fate to rescue
these 100-odd friends and relatives. To this end, he must explore
expansive, oblique environments while fighting off stupid creatures,
collecting and using items, and solving simple spacial puzzles. In short, it's
essentially kids' stuff. Specifically, the kind of kids' stuff that makes you
say "Why didn't we have this stuff when I was a kid?!"
Every slime is unique (a fact that every Dragon Quest game seemed to
miss) with distinct abilities that can be factored in to the climax of each
stage: a ridiculous tank battle. I'm talking really, really ridiculously
colourful tanks the size of office blocks, just slugging away at each other.
Yet, this simplistic facade belies complex game mechanics, as the
combination ammo types and peculiarities of crew selection affect the
outcome. It's a lot deeper than it seems.
As for the main bulk of the game, most conflict can be resolved by
stretching Rocket out of shape like a rubber band (another ability the DQ
games seemed to have overlooked) and knocking his mindless foes into the
air. Rocket can hold up to three things on his head at once, with each
friend, foe, or inanimate object flying up and down in a stack as he
bounces about. It's all simple visual semiotics: bright colours and happy
faces. Hardly something that a Nintendo forum finds weird any more.
There are wireless multiplayer modes for the aforementioned armoured
combat, but the game is primarily a single-player quest. It's all about
exploration, collection, and terrible slime-related puns. To enjoy this game,
one must fully embrace what it has to offer: sillyness. It's worth it
though, for this game opens up a whole new world of weird.
Quirky and unique (until the 3DS sequel comes out).