It seems that glutinous, squishy blobs of questionable liquid have been the perennial foes of RPG gamers everywhere. Whether it’s in Dragon Quest, Warsong, MapleStory, Ragnarok, or one of a thousand other RPGs with slimes, it seems that we, as RPG lovers, just can’t get enough of these little buggers. Perhaps I’m not the only one who’s ever wanted to reverse the traditional formula and play as the slimes; it seems that the folks at Flyhigh Works were of the same mindset.
Enter Ambition of the Slimes: a game where, not only can you play as the slimes, but you can also use them to MIND CONTROL THINE ENEMIES!
The game is actually terrifying if you think about it. Really though, it’s quite clever. Unlike in most SRPGs where you lead an army of ever-improving characters, Ambition of the Slimes gives you the mostly-static bunch of titular slimes. While they can indeed level up, they don’t gain much from this. Regardless of their level, your slimes will be pitiful combatants. They’re almost on the same level as Jogurt from Shining Force 1. Almost. What makes the game interesting is that you can use your slimes to completely take over your enemy, thereby having access to your enemy’s stats, elemental affinity, and skills. Most SRPGs make you focus on your own units’ abilities to win; Ambition of the Slimes makes you focus on your enemy units’ abilities to win. That’s why I find it to be a clever inversion. You have to approach things differently than you would in most SRPGs. Instead of blindly rushing in with your army of units, you must always consider the enemy’s strengths and take them over first.
Still, your own units are a factor to consider as well. Slimes vary in statistics, with some having more mobility than others. Each slime has its own elemental affinity. And every slime has its own special ability; for example, the Warp Slime can warp anywhere on the map, while the Attack Slime increases the attack value of any unit that it captures.
Ambition of the Slimes is quite difficult, too. It’s among the most challenging SRPGs I’ve played. Personally, I consider this to be a good thing; there are countless SRPGs like Power of the Hired, Fire Emblem 8, and Feda which are almost braindead-levels of easy. On the other hand, not too many SRPGs are challenging. And of these SRPGs, not too many provide a completely unique subversion the way that Ambition of the Slimes does. Into the Breach is the only other one in recent memory and even then, I don’t consider that game to be a RPG (it’s definitely a great strategy game though).
Of course, Ambition of the Slimes also makes you brush up on your fundamentals: positioning, elevation, attack range, and matchups (Fire > Grass > Water > Fire in this game). In this respect, it feels like the game took the basics from Tactics Ogre or Front Mission, added in some gelatin mix, and created a wholly improved and interesting final result. It’s so much more strategically complex than any of the Tactics Ogre games, and although I can’t speak to most of the Front Mission games, I can definitely tell you that Ambition of the Slimes eclipses Front Mission 1 when it comes to depth of strategy.
I’ve sunk over 20 hours on the game and even so, I haven’t unlocked every slime, nor have I conquered every challenge (each battle has 5 challenge modes). In all honesty, I’m not sure I ever will. Some of these challenges are excessively difficult and are a bit too much for me; however, I’m sure that if you’re a hardcore strategist, this is precisely the sort of thing that you’ll love.
Despite all my praise for the game’s strategic depth, it does have some problems. There are minor QoL issues here and there, like the camera zoom resetting each turn, or how some slimes require too much luck to obtain. It’s also much more on the “strategy” end of the Strategy-RPG spectrum; there are no named characters you can control, and the plot is barebones.
For $5 though (or even less if it’s on sale), Ambition of the Slimes is a terrific deal. I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys being challenged. On the other hand, it may not be the best game if you’re into lighter strategy, or if you prefer SRPGs that have more RPG elements.
Console: 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Steam
Developers: Altair Works, Flyhigh Works
My video review
Buy it on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/568910/Ambition_of_the_Slimes/