Gaming Frequencies: Slime-San

Jun 25, 2018 By Austin Trunick
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Slime-San was just your average, friendly amorphous blob of slime until he was unceremoniously swallowed by a giant worm. In his self-titled video game, you guide tiny Slime-San through the worm’s digestive system, climbing and dodging dangerous obstacles before a wave of stomach bile washes across each level and digests him. A silly and off-kilter adventure with a distinctive, five-color palette, Slime-San is an increasingly challenging platformer with an endearingly weird sense of humor.

Slime-San features 100 levels made up of four rooms each; this adds up to 400 tricky little platforms through which you’ll need to guide Slime-San by using his various abilities. You won’t have a lot of time to think; many rooms give you far less than a minute before that deadly wave of acid sweeps the screen. Most rooms have multiple paths to victory: one obvious (but not necessarily easy) for the gamer who just wants to keep powering through to the next stage, and then others that require honed skills and outside-the-box thinking which will assuredly shave precious seconds of the player’s times.

While Slime-San may look and sound like a lost piece of art from one of gaming’s classic eras, there are many upgrades that give away its modern design sensibilities. Online rankings allow players to compare their runs against the world’s best players. Multiple game modes let you try your hand at Speed Runs, Boss Rushes, and a more challenging New Game+ version. Exercise your mad platforming skills by going a little out of your way to collect rotten apples and you can exchange them for unlockables like costume pieces, new borders, and abilities.

Slime-San was initially released last year to much fanfare among Switch and desktop gamers. Slime-San: Superslime Edition, newly arrived to consoles, includes both of the game’s major DLC campaigns alongside all of the original levels.

Fabian Rasdorfer, founder of game studio Fabraz and wearer-of-many-hats, took some time out during Superslime Edition’s launch week to answer our questions about Slime-San’s level design and killer chiptune soundtrack.

Austin Trunick [Under the Radar]: Slime-san is one of the best fast-paced platformers to come along since Super Meat Boy, which you've acknowledged as an influence. What other games helped inspire Slime-san, either directly or indirectly?

Fabian Rasdorfer: I grew up with a plethora of platfomers, I’d argue it was my most played genre of games. So in a way they all had an impact on me, old and new games alike! We took inspiration from Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi but also more modern titles like N++ and Super Meat Boy! That being said, we didn’t take as much inspiration from Meat Boy as one would initially think. Slime-san’s physique might be similar but his movement couldn’t be more different, as it relies far less on momentum than his bloody relative.

The length of Slime-san levels can typically be measured in seconds. What are some of the unique challenges of level design when you're designing for such bite-sized chunks?

That was one of the most fun parts of designing Slime-san! To create levels that, on average, take 2-3 minutes to complete but after some practice can be done in 20-30 seconds instead! It basically meant that we had to always design for two approaches: The clear guided path and the hidden one that requires a higher skill bar of play. I think we pulled it off quite well considering the main campaign takes most people 15 hours to complete and yet the world record is just under 1 hour.

One of the pop-up messages in the game mentions that some of the slime's sounds were created using bananas. Can you go into detail there, and share any other interesting ways you created the game's sound effects? 

Haha, yeah! The sound effects were all made by Britt Brady, a fellow developer and good friend of ours, and he constantly told us how he was making some squishy, slimy sounds. The process included bananas as well as yogurt and other odd produce.

A lot of modern games are now doing chiptune soundtracks, but Slime-san's -- which is available from the deluxe vinyl label Black Screen Records -- is especially well-curated, and captures the 8-bit era feel better than most. Can you describe your approach to seeking out the tracks and artists you've included in the game?

We selected 14 chiptune composers that we really liked and sent out an e-mail to each of them asking them if they’d be interested in scoring Slime-san. We expected a response from 1-2 of them, but instead all of them answered enthusiastically. So we decided we’d go for a chiptune compilation instead that combines all of this talent into one kick-ass soundtrack. We gave some basic guidelines and references and almost like magic the soundtrack ended up sounding unified despite being made by 14 different very talented people. Most of the tracks don’t adhere to classic sounchips but instead are modern reincarnations of chiptune which I think is a big part as to why the music sounds so energetic and fresh!



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