A very accurate simulation given the life expectancy of the average slime in a RPG.
I’m not sure how many slimes I’ve killed in various RPGs over the years. Whether grinding off Metal Slimes in various Dragon Quest games or Psychic-ing Grimer to...fainting...in Pokémon, I felt I owed this perpetual punching bag a chance to redeem itself. Unfortunately, Ambition of the Slimes features slimes that go down just as quickly, which makes for an endless stream of frustration.
The concept of the game is simple: You control slimes on a battlefield. Since calling their ability to battle sad would be an insult to Crying Jordan, the slimes fight back by forcing humans to tilt their head back in a scary fashion and jumping into their mouth to take control of them. Control or eliminate the humans to win. The map is set at an isometric view – think Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, as opposed to Fire Emblem’s straight ahead perspective – and each slime and human has an element. The elements work in the classic Fire/Water/Grass triangle, and if the slime’s element matches that of the human they’ll have higher stats than normal. The height of the battlefield and the elements both affect damage, as having the high ground means more damage given and less taken. The battle system is simple to learn, which should mean steamrolling the early battles – but if only we could be that lucky.
Getting through the battles, even on the easiest difficulty, requires a massive amount of trial and error. Thankfully, you can restart quickly and skip the opening chatter, but the human reaction the first time you possess someone can’t be skipped. And it’s not all that entertaining the first time, either. The maps are cramped with all of the humans close to each other, so the first slime to possess someone will usually end up in a 3-or-4-on-1 situation and probably get killed. And since slimes that die in battle don’t get full experience afterwards, they’ll fall behind those that are lucky enough to survive and end up in a death spiral. Winning the map gets a new slime with special abilities such as teleporting to anywhere on the map or stripping the humans (giving a 100% possession rate but making them defenseless for three rounds). Sadly, these new slimes come at level 1. And although it’s possible to return to earlier maps, beating the map the first time replaces it with a challenge map which ruins them as a grinding opportunity. Ambition of the Slimes began life as a Japanese mobile game, and it feels like it.
The game uses an 8-bit style, which is appropriate for a game that involves Slimes, and it works in that regard. The camera is a bit frustrating to navigate in some maps, especially ones that are several blocks high. And I think I’ll be seeing humans bending their neck back to the point of breaking in my nightmares going forward. The combat scene sprites are well detailed, though. Ambition is a good podcast game, but that’s mainly because there are only a few battle themes and they grated on me when I restarted the map for the 20th time.
Ambition of the Slimes is a frustratingly mediocre game. I wanted to enjoy the experience, but I think I’ll stick to pasting Goomy going forward rather than try and fight through more maps in 8-on-1 battles. And it’s not even the worst strategy RPG I’ve played this year.