|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Lexis Numeriqué||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
Frequently, you can't accurately judge a game by its cover, but it's not always easy for gamers to set aside certain impressions garnered from box art and screen shots viewed prior to a game's release.
In this regard, some titles elicit excitement, while other games generate apprehension. Lexis Numeriqué's Mister Slime hovers amidst the gray area in-between. It's easily written-off as another generic kids' game; but in truth, it's a surprisingly innovative and challenging adventure - even if the overall play experience never quite reaches its full potential.
First things first; slime is not a particularly endearing substance. Giving it eyes, stretchable appendages, and a tuft of hair does little to dress up the fact it's still a ball of mucous and goo. In some instances, developers have been able to pull slime off as cute and charming - the Dragon Quest series, for example - but Mister Slime (Slimy for short) is neither of those things. He's rather awkward and ugly looking, and his beak-like smile (or menacing frown if you check the cover out) is one only a mother could love. I can't think of a more unfortunate looking main character for a game clearly appealing to more youthful audiences. Still, ugly looking or not, he's got some neat tricks up his sleeves.
Mister Slime offers a basic blend of puzzle and platforming gameplay mixed with a slightly unusual exploration element. Instead of navigating the game's numerous levels by jumping around and stomping or blasting enemies, you traverse the winding terrain by grabbing onto a series of pegs with one of Slimy's four stretchy limbs and traveling hand-over-hand through the air. The intermittently placed pegs allow you to swing around, catapult in various directions, use your momentum to whack enemies, or even stabilize Slimy in place. It's a neat mechanic that takes a little getting used-to.
Though there is some limited combat, puzzles to solve, tasks to complete, and objects to collect, most of the gameplay revolves around moving through the level safely. All of the level design places emphasis on a more deliberate, slow-and-steady pace, instead of blowing through areas at high-speed - attempting to do so will result in some hard knocks to Slimy's noggin, which it turns out is easily bruised. Were it not implemented in such an interesting way, the grappling mechanic would otherwise seem a tad gimmicky.
The game's story revolves around an age-old rivalry on a world populated by the Slimes and their nemesis the Axons. Every 40 years, the two factions engage in bloody and violent ritual warfare to determine the territorial boundaries in the realm for the following cycle. The events in Mister Slime pick up at the start of a new cycle, as both sides are preparing for the coming clash for dominance. While others in his peaceful village are planning for the tough times ahead, Slimy is dillydallying around with his chores. Eventually, he winds up playing hero on a quest to save his village from the Axon forces. The verbose dialogue encountered when running into other characters in the game can quickly become tiresome, and most of the time it seems the story isn't even particularly necessary - the platforming gameplay is fine on its own. Regardless, it's not an entirely uninteresting plot.
Mister Slime is well suited to the DS, and it utilizes the system's control possibilities creatively. Touching Slimy's head and then dragging the stylus to a nearby reachable peg or element will stretch one of the little guy's available arms out to it. Navigation is accomplished by a combination of grabbing new pegs further away and releasing Slimy's grasp on the others behind him. The D-Pad can be used to expand the view beyond the default frame to help in locating new handholds to grasp or potential dangers to avoid. Eventually, you can also tap into different elemental powers, by drawing symbols on the touch screen. Blowing gently in the DS microphone also causes him to float in the air to reach new areas (this mechanic is also used to give him air during underwater areas).