Version Reviewed: 2.50
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Ambition of the Slimes is so immediately offbeat that, good or bad, at least players know they’re in for something special. But what they won’t be prepared for is just how creative and deep this thoroughly original turn-based strategy game actually is.
While it may play more like a Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy: Tactics, in a lot of ways Ambition of the Slimes feels like a deconstructed Dragon Quest. First off, there’s the genre-flipping premise of playing as the lowly slime monsters. Being the cool, big bad villain is one thing, but these are worse than henchmen. Also, the game’s Minecraft-esque aesthetic looks like someone ripped the chunky sprites out of a classic 8-bit RPG and dropped them into a trippy retro 3D world. Rotating the screen and watching pixels shift to maintain perspective is always a neat effect, and even the poorly translated dialogue (intentional or not) adds an appropriate charm hinted at by the absurd title.
But what really makes Ambition of the Slimes so spectacular is its ingenious strategy hook. Players start each match with a party of slimes they’ve collected. Being slimes, they aren’t great at fighting directly. They’re underpowered and outmatched. However, if players can position them next to a stronger human enemy unit like an archer or a knight, the slime can hop in that poor person’s mouth and possess them. This adds so many awesome new strategy considerations. What units do I go after? How much should I soften up this target before going in for the steal? Possess first and then attack? Use possessed units to shield weaker slimes?
Adding to the complexity are other factors like elements and height. Fire units beat grass units beat water units, and if a slime takes over a unit of the same type they get a stat bonus. Meanwhile, high ground offers an attack bonus as well, which is important to be aware of on the compact, multi-tiered stages. Plus, different slimes have their own special powers like speed boosts, the ability to split into two, and a sticky spell to hold a stronger unit in place and guarantee possession. There are just so many ways to approach a single encounter, and the campaign is tough enough that players will really need to think through each move.
In a just world, Ambition of the Slimes will be remembered as a wacky and wonderful cult classic. When it comes to presenting fresh new strategic ideas, this game’s ambition is as great as its slimes.