Out now in early access, Slime Rancher 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to Monomi Park’s charming farming sim. Beatrix LeBeau has packed up her slime-wrangling gear and has crossed the Slime Sear to Rainbow Island, a new land packed with new mysteries and new slimes.
As a seasoned slime wrangler myself, I was excited to dive head-first into this new, colourful world. Review code didn't arrive until launch day unfortunately, but all week I've been vibrating with anticipation. After spending a handful of hours frolicking with slimes and skipping around Rainbow Island, though, that early dazzle is starting to wear off. Monomi Park’s sequel feels a little too familiar to its predecessor in its early game, and it's put a major downer on my goo-hoovering adventures.
But let’s start with the good stuff - in short, Slime Rancher 2 looks incredible. Like seriously, it’s so pretty I spent half an hour just ogling at its landscapes. It’s not just the vibrant colours, but everything has a crystalized shimmer, and together with a pleasing pastel palette - it’s a visual feast. Water moves like liquid glass, slimes have a satisfying sheen to their blobby bodies, and fruit has a delicious gloss to them. I’ve never wanted to eat imaginary fruit so badly in all my life. Monomi Park has given its world a major revamp, to the point that if I was Beatrix I would invest in some powerful eye gear to not get blinded.
There are also plenty of new features in this sequel, one of my favourites being your new home base which is a giant conservatory with a huge tree plonked in the middle. It’s gorgeous, with plenty of light for crops and space for slime plots. You can also make it feel more homely with unlockable decorations, like trees, mushrooms, and other pretty foliage.
There are also, of course, plenty of new slimes - and I don’t think I need to emphasize how adorable they all are. You’ve got your cotton slimes with bunny ears, flutter slimes with butterfly wings, ringtail slimes with racoon tails, batty slimes with little fangs, and even angler slimes based on angler fish. I don’t know if you’ve Googled angler fish recently, but they are a whole world away from ‘cute’ so how Monomi Park managed to make the angriest fish in the entire ocean cute is some sorcery.
"With lovely landscapes and hidden secrets to uncover, running around pretty fields, coastal pathways, and eerie caverns is a treat."
Monomi Park have also taken the opportunity to expand the lore of Slime Rancher. Phone calls with character art, scattered audio logs around the island, and bug-like research drones all begin to weave together a mystery about the island. I won’t spoil anything here, but it’s another great reason to go poke around the island’s hidey holes. Other life/farming sims have always flirted with this kind of exploration, but in my books none have done it quite so well as Slime Rancher did, and that continues into this sequel. With lovely landscapes and hidden secrets to uncover, running around pretty fields, coastal pathways, and eerie caverns is a treat.
New slimes, pretty landscapes, curious mysteries - what's not to love then? As much as I welcome Slime Rancher 2’s new additions, the actual day-to-day routines you perform are basically the same as before. Scratch that. It’s exactly the same as before. The farming sim loop of collecting slimes, scooping up their poop plorts to sell, feeding them their favourite foods - it’s the same. Unlocking upgrades, gathering resources, improving your wrangling kit with said resources - it’s the same. Feeding gordo slimes to reveal new hideaways, avoiding aggressive feral slimes, dousing tarr slimes with water to dispatch them - yeah, you get it.
I understand that Monomi Park wants to keep hold of what made the first Slime Rancher so successful, but it's at the cost of no variety. For a sequel, I was expecting new slime wrangling techniques, maybe some new ways of farming, maybe even being able to choose a favourite slime BFF and it would follow you around? Alas, it seems that Monomi have stuck to their tried and tested formula here, which is fine, if a little predictable. Don't get me wrong, it is a pretty great formula, and even through 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 plenty to love about Slime Rancher 2's early access release, though, and in fairness, Monomi Park's guesstimate that it could stay there for “at least 18 months, potentially longer” means there's plenty of time for it to change and evolve over time. The team have already announced some of their early access plans in their Slime Rancher 2 FAQ, with more slimes, more resources and more gadgets all confirmed, plus a promise of “expanding the potential of Slime Rancher’s established gameplay by adding new features not yet seen in Slime Rancher.” It's a promising start, for sure, but I'm worried it will stick too closely to its foundations regardless of adding new gamey bits. Watch this space.