Slime’s Journey review for PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: lightUP
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I don?t know what?s happened to lightUP. I loved their first few games, but then I hated Mages and Treasures, their second-most recent game, Now they?re back with Slime?s Journey, and I hate this one, too.

In fact, I might dislike this one more than Mages and Treasures, since in some ways Slime?s Journey is an even bigger step back from their previous successes. At least Mages and Treasures worked, even if it was boring, uninspired and unbalanced. Slime?s Journey is boring, uninspired, and unbalanced as well, but on top of that it?s also occasionally broken.

I should have known I was in for trouble when the game got stuck in a weird loop literally five seconds in. My character ? the titular Slime ? exited the room he started the game in, and then the game got stuck as it couldn?t decide if I was entering or leaving the room, and it endlessly flashed back and forth between the inside and the outside until I quit and restarted.

This time I was able to make it all the way to the first boss fight, at which point my progress got waylaid once again, this time partially by the fact that the instructions for beating the boss were hidden by the boss? health bar. Eventually I beat it, but it was no thanks to the game.

My difficulty here also highlights one of the other big problems with Slime?s Journey: it?s quite unbalanced. The non-boss enemies are absurdly easy to beat, and barely take any effort ? they get a little tougher and less predictable the further in you get, but they?re never that challenging. Then you make it to the boss levels, and suddenly you?re facing enemies who double as bomb sponges (since your slime picks up little bombs everywhere, obviously). The difficulty spikes are ridiculous.

Of course, the flip side of that is that everything outside of the boss fights is excruciatingly dull. None of the rooms are that interesting, and it?s a good thing that there?s a map (which you press triangle to call up, and I mention that because the game doesn?t tell you), because otherwise it?d be really easy to go back and forth through the same room several times since they?re so similar, at least within each new area.

I realize I?m spending way too much time complaining about a game that?s only $5. But the fact is, this developer used to be a reliable source of fun, inexpensive retro-tinged games. As Slime?s Journey shows, lightUP?s games are still inexpensive and retro-tinged, but they?re certainly not very fun.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Slime?s Journey PS4/PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: D+