Developer: Flyhigh Works
Publisher: Flyhigh Works
Release Date: 20/01/2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Nintendo 3DS
You might’ve already heard of Ambition of the Slimes from when it released on the Nintendo 3DS, but now Nintendo Switch owners are able to get in on the action too. Basically, it’s a tactical-RPG that sends you on an epic adventure – sounds familiar, right? There’s a bit of a twist in place though, with the player not taking on the role of the daring heroes but rather the weakling Slimes. It’s all a bit silly, but it makes for a fun and charming experience that’s held back by some brutal difficulty spikes.
Ambition of the Slimes stars a group of Slimes that are fed up of being fodder for early level adventurers and instead want to prove that they’re tough enough to stand their ground. Naturally, this becomes a heck of a lot easier when they realise they can take over adventurers’ bodies by smashing their way down their throats and controlling them – I guess it makes sense, right? This leads them on an epic adventure where they not only seek revenge against all of the heroes that have slayed they brethren but also look to conquer the land too.
The main gameplay itself plays out like a tactical-RPG, with all of the action taking place on a tiled battlefield. You control the Slimes, with their goal being to make their way next to the ‘heroes’ in order to claim their bodies. They can actually do some fighting themselves too if you prefer, but, as you can imagine, it’s incredibly ineffective. Once you’ve captured a character, you can then use their skillsets to defeat all of your enemies in the area. It’s simple enough, but the further you progress, the more factors you’ve got to take into consideration.
For example, there’s a bunch of different enemy types available. Some have particular strengths and weaknesses, whilst others might fight better up-close or from range. The elements play a big role in gameplay too, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re taking over a character that has elemental attacks that are strong against your foes. It’s almost like a puzzle game in a way, with a dependence on working out exactly what works best for each situation rather than just depending on raw power alone. Of course, there’s never just one way to win a fight, but figuring out what works best against each enemy is a good place to start.
It’s not just the enemies that have different skillsets though, but also the Slimes. As you progress you’ll unlock more powerful Slimes that are more useful on the battlefield; they might be much faster, they might be able to rid an enemy of its armour, or (a particular life saver during battles) be able to teleport anywhere on the map. It’s important that you unlock as many of these Slimes as possible, since embracing them is vital if you want to progress through each of the game’s levels.
There’s no doubting that Ambition of the Slimes is a fun little game that keeps putting the player in all-new situations, but it’s bloody hard too. Perhaps I’m a little too inexperienced with tactical-RPGs, but I found it didn’t take long before I had to start playing the game in easy mode to deal with the constant pressure.
There’s obviously a trial and error period with each level (especially with the almost puzzle-like nature of gameplay), but I must admit that there were points where the difficulty became so much that I just wanted to stop playing. Of course, you can just grind to improve your Slimes or unlock more powerful ones, but even that could grow tiring over time.
You’ll certainly need a fair bit of patience if you want to get the most out of the game. Still, there’s no denying that it’s mighty satisfying to eventually conquer a level that’s been giving you a lot of issues – just don’t be surprised if the next one you tackle is just as punishing. It’s a vicious cycle that’ll take perseverance, especially if you want to see the game through to its conclusion.
One thing I really liked about the game was the old-school visuals, which were very pixely and reminiscent of the classic RPGs where Slime enemies were first encountered – we’re embracing an age-old enemy here after all, so why not make the game world feel more fitting for it? The whole look is oozing with personality and each of the 8-bit style 3D environments and characters look great in-game.
There really is a lot to like about Ambition of the Slimes, but the harsh difficulty and over dependence on grinding prevent it from standing out as a little tactical-RPG gem. There were too many times during the game where I felt like I came to a complete halt because of some brutal level, whilst the time spent replaying previous levels to improve myself felt like it could’ve been spent doing something a bit better.
Still, there’s no denying Ambition of the Slimes has a lot of charm and there’s certainly fun to be had. It’s not the sort of game you can sit and put hours upon hours into in one go, but if you pick it up every now and then you’ll have a good time working out the best way to conquer each level. Add to that the low £4.99 price point and I’m sure that tactical-RPG fans will enjoy this quirky little title.