February 3, 2023
When it comes to tough as nails 2D platformers, I personally don’t know if Super Meat Boy has ever been topped. The control you have over your meaty character is just absolute perfection, and the instant restarts mean that dying over and over again never feels frustrating. There have been plenty of fantastic platforming experiences since then, but none have quite managed to capture that particular magic the way Team Meat did all those years ago. That might not be the case for much longer though, because The True Slime King is almost here.
The True Slime King is another hard as balls platformer that (admittedly very briefly) tells the story of disgraced slime royalty trying to claw his kingdom back. You don’t need to worry too much about the narrative though, and more about making your way through the danger filled stages.
The aim of each level is to get to the goal as fast as possible, while avoiding various spikes, lasers and spinning blades. This would be a nightmare if not for the fact that the titular slime controls like a dream. The movement just feels exceptional and means you can navigate those hazards with expert precision. Much like a game like Super Meat Boy there’s a real focus on wall jumping, but our squishy protagonist has another trick up his sleeve too. By holding down the jump button you can stick to ceilings indefinitely, which means even more ways to get around a level.
Once you reach a goal you’ll be awarded an amount of slime based on how quickly you got there, which is used to progress to later levels. There are also collectable chunks of slime hiding in hard to reach places too, so most stages involve a couple of runs collecting these green nuggets first followed by some speedy goal rushing runs to maximise that slime.
One aspect of The True Slime King that really impressed me was the variety of new objects and enemies that the later worlds throw at you. The most common of these are coloured keys that when collected make platforms of the same colour vanish, which leads to some pretty tricky puzzling situations. There are also platforms that can be extended and retracted, beehives that coat you in honey and slow you to a crawl and even different coloured lasers that blast in a deadly alternating pattern. You’ll need to master the lot if you want to take back the kingdom.
If you need a little help surviving there are some upgrades you can obtain in the campaign. Teleporters are hidden in the overworld lead you to secret levels based on the four seasons, and beating these levels will unlock the upgrades. Most of these are focused around gaining more slime and making it so not all levels in a world need to be beaten to progress, but there are also extra hits to unlock which are a huge bonus.
The levels don’t seem to be designed with anything but instant death in mind, which means some stages can be completed in seconds by taking a hit on the way to the goal. This does admittedly kind of destroy the balance of the game somewhat, but I really enjoyed finding ways to cheat the system and win in a way the developers didn’t anticipate.
The balance issues don’t apply when it comes to the boss fights though, because those extra hits are taken away before you can even begin. I thought these encounters were the toughest part of The True Slime King, but their creativity meant I was always happy to take on the next one regardless. Whether it’s a spiky machine that charges you or a spider who’s legs you need to climb up, you’ll definitely die more than a handful of times to their vicious attacks.
With the single player campaign alone The True Slime King would be an exceptional platformer, but this package has much more to offer. The fully fleshed out level editor is frankly the best creation tool I’ve used since Super Mario Maker. It’s incredibly easy to use and offers plenty of opportunities for creativity. For those less creatively inclined though, everyone else’s levels are available for you to peruse to your heart’s content. I really hope that this game finds a huge audience, because selfishly I’d like an endless supply of levels to devour.
The True Slime King is a sensational 2D platformer, with perfectly precise controls, plenty of fiendish levels and an expertly crafted level creator. Not everyone will be up for taking on the challenge it offers, but if you are I can almost guarantee you’ll have a great time.
A fantastic platformer with great controls
Plenty of danger and ideas packed into each level
The level creator is great
Potentially infinite content
The balance after you've collected upgrades is baffling
Will be too hard for some
The True Slime King is a hard as nails platformer that recaptures the Meat Boy magic, and has a cracking level editor to boot.