Monday, August 15, 2016

So, is Ambition of the Slimes (3DS) worth its $5 price tag?

Now that I've put a few hours into the just-released 3DS version of Circle Entertainment's strategy RPG, Ambition of the Slimes, I thought I'd share some thoughts on the experience.

Before I get to those musings, though, I have to mention that I've never played any other iteration of this game. (Developer altairworks first made it available to iOS and PlayStation Mobile users early last year.) So, I can't say how the 3DS port compares to those releases.

With that out of the way, here are some impressions of Ambition of the Slimes for 3DS:

* First, I like that this Final Fantasy Tactics-esque SRPG gets things rolling in the right direction with a tutorial. Even better, it's a short tutorial--just three quick battles.

* Why do I like that it includes a tutorial? Because as is the case with many of Circle Entertainment's games--no offense intended by this next statement, mind you--Ambition of the Slimes' text is only somewhat understandable. Also, it just doesn't feature much text, period. Combine those truths and you have a situation that screams for some sort of tutorial.

* Surprisingly, the third stage of this 3DS title's tutorial had me stumped for a bit. Specifically, the enemy kicked my butt two or three times before I finally figured out what I had to do to beat it. That's not a knock on the game, by the way; I'm pretty sure I was just being dense. Still, it was nice to learn so quickly that Ambition of the Slimes probably wouldn't be a pushover.

* Did those pleasant reactions continue to pop up after I began the game's main campaign? I'd say so. Early on, at least, the story is minimal, the battle stages are fairly small, the challenge increases at an acceptable rate and the soundtrack is surprisingly pleasant. (Regarding that last point, though, I can't be alone in thinking the music here sounds awfully similar to that of the Witch & Hero games, right?)

* Speaking of Ambition of the Slimes' story, at the moment I'd almost describe it as non-existent.  Now, I'd consider that a negative in many cases (especially when talking about RPGs), but in this one it doesn't bother me at all. I didn't buy this from the 3DS eShop because I wanted a deep adventure; I bought it because I wanted a "lite" SRPG to play during my daily commute and during whatever free time I can muster up at home. That's exactly what it's given me so far.

* Control-wise, Ambition of the Slimes is perfectly serviceable. Or maybe I should say it controls as expected. In other words, the 3DS' shoulder buttons rotate the playfields, à la Final Fantasy Tactics and most other modern SRPGs, while its circle and directional pads move characters and its A and B buttons confirm battle orders. Oh, and each of these actions work smoothly and feel good.

* Finally, my favorite aspect of Ambition of the Slimes: its graphics. I'm not just talking about its main battle aesthetics--you know, the ones that can be seen while moving about on the game's three-dimensional, isometric fields. Those are great--thanks in large part to the pixelated characters that populate them. Even better, as far as I'm concerned, are the graphics that come into play after you've decided to confront a specific enemy. (Check out the red-tinged screenshot above for an example of what I'm talking about here.) The sprite-based art used in these moments almost looks like it was created by Pokémon designer Ken Sugimori (even though I know he had nothing to do with it).

Sounds good, right? If you agree, go ahead and give it a try. It'll only set you back five bucks. Just keep in mind that Ambition of the Slimes is a lot like a couple of other Circle Entertainment 3DS titles, namely Witch & Hero and Witch & Hero II.

Much like those games are bite-sized tower-defense titles, Ambition of the Slimes is a bite-sized strategy RPG. In other words, expect something that rivals the great Final Fantasy Tactics and you're going to be sorely disappointed.

See also: Ambition of the Slimes' latest trailer

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