An inventive platformer with a surprisingly large heart.
Release date: 20 April, 2019
Well, I’m back again with another platformer. That’s right, I’ve talked before about how I don’t excel at these and actively struggle, and yet I can’t stop playing them. Admittedly, Dark Water : Slime Invader was something I anticipated to only be a platformer. My opinion of it started out neutral enough, and then quickly shifted into something different. I found myself wanting to continue, and found a string plucked in the gameplay after a handful of levels that wasn’t prior. I enjoyed the time playing it, even as much as I failed, got frustrated and had to try certain levels over again. Something about the game clicked for me after the first nine or so levels, and I think I can pinpoint it.
That’s right! It was the story. At first, I didn’t think there would be much of one. The game struck me immediately as the sort that has a “story” if only to further the gameplay- which is fine! Platformers don’t necessarily need a lot of forward momentum to be enjoyable, it’s just something that I personally find a good motivator.
When the game begins, it’s clear that the main character’s village has been attacked by cursed slimes. She’s been driven out of her home in a secluded area with her grandmother, and she’s fighting to find a means to eradicate the slimes forever. It seems pretty straight forward at first- or rather, left to right- and I was wondering if this was just going to be a game I enjoyed the gameplay of but that never really hooked me.
Then, the narrative pulled my heartstrings, just a little bit.
I wasn’t anticipating the grandmother to be as much of a catalyst for my enjoyment as she turned out to be. Navigating levels with her seemed like some sort of oddball fetch quest scenario, but this changes after the first boss to something more heartwarming, something I genuinely wanted to see through.
The game is pretty. I wouldn’t say gorgeous, necessarily, but I definitely love the visuals. It mixes cell-shaded graphics with comic-style lines, and isn’t entirely 2-dimensional. That’s not to say pixelated or 2-D platformers are bad, but the style this one takes is a breath of fresh air as far as I’m concerned.
The meat and potatoes of the game lay in the gameplay, even with the prior soft spot the narrative exploited within me. For the most part, describing this game as a “platformer” is enough to get the general gist. You have a bow, and firing it to kill slimes and interact with different parts of the environment are the key ways that you progress. There are keys you’ll need to open doors, switches you’ll need to shoot (sometimes two), jump pads you’ll need to launch yourself from, and other platformer staples. You get to find skills throughout the 46 levels, and you can unlock them with skill points to make the overall experience easier.
There is also an additional gameplay component: the grandmother. That’s right! Not only does she follow you around, but as the game progresses, your grandma also gets upgrades. I’ll keep most of this vague, but the game genuinely gave me an ability with her that I wasn’t anticipating, and that provided genuine entertainment a little before the halfway mark that left me laughing.
While I wasn’t initially expecting a tremendous amount out of this game, it surprised me a bit. I had a fun time with the game play, even at a few frustrating parts. I think there were some things that could be done better- I got stuck at a part where I didn’t have a skill that would help me tremendously for a while- but overall I still had a good time.