You Should Be Playing: Slime Rancher

My most recent addiction belongs to Slime Rancher, by Monomi Park. It’s an innocent-looking game about collecting up poop and exchanging said poop for money. Now, if you’re anything like I am, that sentence alone should be enough to spark some interest, so let me tell you about my totally-licensed poop farm.
In Slime Rancher you play as Beatrix LeBeau, a rancher whose sole job is to round up herds of cute slime creatures to feed and genetically mutate in order for you to get the best poop possible to bring in the big bucks. These adorable blobs are scattered throughout the planet and come in many shapes and sizes, each with their own type of poop that is valued based on an in-game market. If you oversaturate the market with a certain poop then its value will drop, whereas ones that are in demand get a price increase.

When you first start up Slime Rancher you’ll be plopped into a sci-fi ranch that doubles as your home. You come equipped with a Luigi’s Mansion style vacuum gun and you are given your first corral; a square pen with force field fences. There are a number of empty stations where you can build more corrals for slimes, or maybe a garden to grow food for the veggie slimes, or a farm to breed chickens to sate the carnivorous slimes. In time you will be able to upgrade the corrals and farms with the money you make, allowing you to care for a larger variety of slimes.

After the initial inspection of your farm, you find your first prisone- I mean resident. Hopping around the spawn will be a pink slime tracking in some viscous goo and making a right mess of the place. Armed only with your vacuum gun, a jetpack, and enough resilience to not squeal with girlish delight every time a slime makes an adorable face, you must explore your planet, gather up all different kinds of slimes, and build up your little farm to become the best slime rancher in the galaxy.

Inside the spawn area are two machines: an upgrade station, and the ranch exchange station. The upgrade station is as it sounds – you can spend your hard-earned dosh to buy a jetpack, increase the capacity of your vacuum gun, or just bulk up your health. The exchange station allows you to see what other ranchers out there are looking for and shows you to what you’d get in return if you were to help them out. You can’t put anything up yourself as of now, but this is a feature I would like to see implemented.
The only way to stand a chance against the other ranchers out there is to dabble in a bit of genetic mutation. Feeding a certain slime a poop from a different species of slime has a chance of creating a new breed that can produce both types of poop at once, greatly increasing your productivity and cash flow.
But, sadly, it isn't all sunshine and slime poop. Enraged genetically mutated failures called Tarrs will be created if you accidentally feed a slime the wrong kind of poop. These monstrosities contrast the loveable slimes by being outright terrifying, and near indestructible as once a Tarr devours enough he splits like the head of a hydra. The only way to rid yourself of these pests before they spread is to either douse them with some water or shoot them into the vast ocean that surrounds your little farm.

The real addiction for me comes from falling into a routine: feed corral A, harvest food from mango tree B, feed Corral B, and so on and so on. It’s just so easy to spend hours on this game, which is impressive considering it’s still very early access and is just a fraction of what the real game promises. It feels complete as it is. You can have your farm, your slimes, your poop empire, and laugh at the other ranchers who struggle to make ends meet.

One of the most recent updates to Slime Rancher (version 0.3.0) gives players the much requested water tank, and allows players to explore a new area called The Indigo Quarry; an area full of rocks, caves, green stalagmites, and two new breeds of slime; the Rad Slime, and the Lucky Slime.

The Rad Slime is named such because of its sickly radiation aura that can induce rad poisoning if you stay near them too long. The radiation can spread to a regular slime if it eats one of the Rad Slime's poops, so keep them under control or you'll quickly run yourself out of business. The best way to feed them without dealing with the rad poisoning is to douse them with water as this nullifies their radioactivity for twenty seconds.

The Lucky Slime is a new, rarer variation of the Tabby Slime (the grey, cat slimes). These ones have a hunger that only coins can satisfy, and will go out of their way to eat some. If they do, they'll give off a soft jingling sound as they hop about. 
5-Day Rush is a new game mode which was added as well. This mode gives players a five-day time limit to earn as much money as they can.

The game is available now in early-access on Steam for £14.99. You can follow Monomi Park’s blog in order to stay updated on future events, and keep an eye out for my up-and-coming mod that gives the rad slime a baseball cap and a skateboard.

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