Slimes, molds, oozes and the like are an important part of any balanced dungeon ecology. Any wizard worth his robes whips up a few in ye old laboratory for the labyrinth beneath their wizardly tower. Primarily, slimes consume most types of dungeon waste leaving less garbage for your kobold minions to deal with. They also help to keep the numbers of your kobold minions in check preventing another futile uprising. And, best of all, they really mess with n00b-ass adventurers:
Thief: “Ooh, there is a bunch of treasure floating in the air! I will reach for it! AAAAAH! My arm has been dissolved for it is really a gelatinous cube placed here by a clever wizard!”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That never gets old. Nor does watching through ye old crystal ball as adventurers get suffocated by yellow mold, get turned to more green slime by a green slime, or encounter whatever that thing was that killed Tasha Yar.* Yes, I have one of those. Its name is Alvin. I don’t really screw around with Alvin. Just kind of let him be. Dude is scary, and sometimes a hands-off management approach is what you need in a dungeon.**
Enough with the details of proper dungeon management, for today I bring you a game in which the slimes get this revenge: Ambition of the Slimes by Altairworks. Japanese style slimes are a bit different than their western counterparts. They are cute, and they are weak. Generally they are used as training dummies for parties of spikey-blue haired youths whose villages have just been destroyed on the way to discovering their ULTIMATE DESTINY! In AofS, the slimes are tired of such shabby treatment and have devised a strategy to get revenge. Their strategy is simultaneously creepy, gross and cute.
AotS is an isometric tactical RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea. You move your slime army a certain amount of squares and then attack or activate a special ability. Then your opponent goes. The gimmick here is that the slimes are able to take of the bodies of their enemies by DIVING DOWN THEIR THROATS AND TAKING OVER THEIR MINDS! The animation is hilarious and nasty as the slime squirms into their mouth and takes over. If you are like me you will not get tired of seeing this.
This domination of your enemies souls is the key strategic aspect in AotS. Without skin-suits the slimes are fairly ineffectual. The player must choose which enemy units would be most advantageous to control and work out a corresponding strategy. There’s a rudimentary Pokemon style elemental hierarchy (water > fire > plant > water) going on which adds just enough of a complication without becoming burdensome. In addition, some slimes have special abilities ranging from special movement to debuffs which require the player to make some additional tactical decisions.
All in all it’s AotS is a pretty slick little indie RPG. There are enough choices presented to the player that you do have to plan out your next move, but the game is accessible enough to pick up and learn quickly. AotS can get quite challenging after a while, so it’s not just a cute/nasty animation gimmick. It’s actually a good strategy game. It could have just rested on the laurels of its retro style and comedy gimmick, but the good folds at Altairworks actually understand how to make a good rpg, and I applaud them for that. Now, if you’ll excuse me it’s Alvin’s feeding time, so I need to go defrost another security officer to drop into his pit.
FWIW, I played this on Steam, but it’s out on a number of platforms, and this might be a great one to pick up on a portable system. I think this could be a great “long commute” game for the right kind of player. Here is a video:
*Totally did not see that coming when I was a kid.
**As the bard said: “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, and you don’t mess about with ancient sentient slime beings.”