The dazzling new world of Slime Rancher 2 is brimming with potential, but it’s all a little too familiar

The dazzling new world of Slime Rancher 2 is brimming with potential, but it's all a little too familiar
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Now available in Early Access, Slime Rancher 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to Monomi Park’s charming farming sim. Beatrix LeBeau packed her slime fighter gear and traveled across the Slime Sea to Rainbow Island, a new land full of new mysteries and new slimes.

Being a seasoned slime wrangler myself, I was excited to dive headfirst into this colorful new world. Unfortunately, the verification code didn’t arrive until the day it was released, but I’ve been trembling with anticipation all week. After spending a few hours messing around with slimes and hopping around Rainbow Island, that early shine is starting to wear off. The Monomi Park sequel feels a bit too familiar to its predecessor in its early game and severely marred my goo-sucking adventures.

But let’s start with the good stuff – in short, Slime Rancher 2 looks amazing. Seriously, it’s so pretty that I spent half an hour looking at its landscapes. It’s not just the vibrant colors, everything has a crystalline shimmer, and paired with a pleasing pastel palette, it’s a feast for the eyes. Water moves like liquid glass, slimes have a satisfying sheen on their mottled bodies, and fruit has a delicious sheen. I’ve never wanted to eat imaginary fruit so badly in my entire life. Monomi Park has given its world a major overhaul so if I were Beatrix I would invest in some powerful eye gear to avoid being blinded.

There are also many new features in this sequel, one of my favorites is your new home base which is a huge conservatory with a huge tree in the middle. It’s beautiful, with plenty of light for harvesting and room for slime beds. You can also make it feel more homey with unlockable decorations like trees, mushrooms, and other pretty foliage.

Of course, there are also a lot of new slimes – and I don’t think I need to stress how adorable they all are. You’ve got your cotton slimes with bunny ears, flapper slimes with butterfly wings, ringtail slimes with raccoon tails, batty slimes with little fangs, and even anglerfish-based angler slimes. I don’t know if you’ve been Googling monkfish lately, but they’re a world away from “cute,” so it’s magic how Monomi Park managed to make the angriest fish in the entire ocean cute.

“With lovely landscapes and hidden secrets to be discovered, it’s a delight to walk through pretty fields, coastal paths and eerie caves.”

Monomi Park also took the opportunity to expand on Slime Rancher’s story. Phone calls with character art, audio logs scattered across the island, and bug-like research drones begin to weave a mystery across the island. I won’t spoil anything here, but it’s another good reason to poke around the island’s hideout holes. Other life/farming sims have always flirted with this style of exploration, but in my books none have done it as well as Slime Rancher, and that continues in this sequel. With lovely landscapes and hidden secrets to be discovered, it is a delight to walk through pretty fields, coastal paths and eerie caves.

New slimes, pretty landscapes, odd mysteries – what’s not to love? As much as I welcome the new additions to Slime Rancher 2, the actual daily routines you perform are basically the same as before. Forget that. It is exactly same as before. The farming sim loop, collecting slimes, picking up their poop plorts to sell and feeding them their favorite foods – it’s the same thing. Unlock upgrades, gather resources, improve your wrangling kit with those resources – it’s the same thing. Feeding Gordo Slimes to uncover new hiding spots, avoiding aggressive wild Slimes, dousing Tarr Slimes with water to finish them off – yes, you get it.

I understand that Monomi Park wants to stick with what made the first Slime Rancher so successful, but that comes at the cost of variety. For a sequel I was expecting new slime wrangling techniques, maybe some new ways of farming, maybe even the ability to choose a favorite slime BFF and she would follow you? Unfortunately, Monomi seems to have stuck to its tried-and-true formula here, which is fine, if somewhat predictable. Don’t get me wrong it is Pretty great formula and despite my grumbles I plan to spend many more hours discovering all the different nooks and crannies of Rainbow Island. It’s just, you know, I was hoping for more.

There’s still a lot to love about Slime Rancher 2’s Early Access release, though, and in fairness, Monomi Park’s hunch that it could stay there “at least 18 months, possibly longer” means there’s plenty of time to evolve over the course of the Time to change and evolve. The team has already announced some of its Early Access plans in its Slime Rancher 2 FAQ, with more slimes, more resources, and more gadgets all confirmed, as well as a promise to “unlock the potential of Slime Rancher’s established gameplay.” to expand by adding new features not yet seen in Slime Rancher.” It’s certainly a promising start, but I fear it will stick too closely to its basics, regardless of new gameplay bits being added will. Watch this area.

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