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Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS) artwork

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS) review


"You just know that they have a story. I mean, they have to! There’s about a million of them! For every Goomba or similar cannon fodder video game bad guy that just puts on the uniform and goes to work, hating its life, there’s a guy like Rocket who I would suspect loves to go up against some knight trying to save the world from the Evil Lord So-and-So. "



You just know that they have a story. I mean, they have to! There’s about a million of them! For every Goomba or similar cannon fodder video game bad guy that just puts on the uniform and goes to work, hating its life, there’s a guy like Rocket who I would suspect loves to go up against some knight trying to save the world from the Evil Lord So-and-So.

Even when these characters are the simplest of 2D sprites, the cannon fodder characters somehow ooze personality and charm and people are starting to notice them more and more. Mario himself has allowed the likes of Goombas and Wigglers to play the reindeer games with the rest of the crew, and it turns out that when they’re not following the orders of Lord Bowser, they’re actually a pretty cool group. So it shouldn’t be surprising that when the veil gets pulled back on one of the most classic RPG enemies of all time, we see just how charming and loveable the classic slime can be when he isn’t helping the knight grind for experience.

Rocket Slime has all the right ideas and most of the execution right – it’s only the repetitive nature of the game that needs a bit of fine tuning. This game and its story is a testament as how much a little charm and fun can add to the overall package.

It turns out that when slimes aren’t fighting Generic RPG Knight #245, they are actually a rather laid back group. They have a nice little place called Boingburg where they have a pretty good thing going for them; they can shop, they can read at the library, they can go to a local museum… it’s not a bad gig. So when a group of platypus-like creatures called the Plob move into town and ransack it at the request of the Plobfather (oh, it gets better), slimes like Rocket won’t stand for it.

Turns out they are after RPG MacGuffin #412, the Warrior’s Flute… which Rocket accidentally swallowed whole. Oops. I guess to make things easier on them as they search for the flute across the world, they kidnap and box up every single slime in town. Jerks! Rocket escapes their capture, though, and sets out to defeat the Plob and rescue his friends and family.

It’s a charming story that is made a lot more bearable with pun-filled dialogue and lots of heart. It’s also nice that the game gives you something to strive for that’s more than finding the Magical RPG Artifact #326. Having the main goal being centered on finding your friends and family is a nice, personal touch. More than once, it riffs on the classic RPG-clichés and jokes. My favorite being the dark, mysterious slime warrior called Slival, who is out to prove he’s the TOUGHEST SLIME EVAR!!!11

The gameplay is primarily exploration based. You enter a new area, you search for new slimes and you fight monsters by stretching yourself and rolling right into them. There’s a fairly clever mechanic where a trolley goes through almost every area that connects to Boingburg, which acts as the gaming hub. Anything, and I mean anything, can be picked up and tossed onto that trolley and be sent back to Boingburg. This is how you get slimes sent back home. It’s a cool concept that works very well and gives the universe of Rocket Slime a connected feel.

Rocket can pick up three things at a time and carry him on his gooey noggin. Slimes aren’t the only thing; a lot of the environmental features such as pillars, treasure chests, and rocks can be picked up and sent back to town. The same goes for every monster you meet. Monsters are a particularly nice touch, as when you start sending more varieties back, they are in Boingburg as NPCs that you can talk to. Getting a lot of a single kind of monster lets a statue of them be viewable in the museum.

The monsters are plentiful as well as the trolley system throughout the world, so it’s never that big of an issue to clear an area and send the monsters back to town. It’s Collect-A-Thon Cliché #121, sure, but it’s completely optional – collecting monsters has no overall bearing on the plot and progress of the game. The other items, though…

Rocket gets a tank a bit into the game. You read that right; a tiny slime gets to be captain and commander of a giant, slime-shaped tank. The other items that you can collect like the treasure chests and pillars all get sent back to town to act as a sort of ammo reserve. Each item has a different damage rate and some even have special attributes such as explosion damage. The respawning ammo reserve for the tank, which you can customize, falls out of various ammo chutes on the top and second floor of the tank. Rocket has to grab ammo and toss it the tank’s upper and lower cannon to shoot it at the enemy tank. Of course, the enemy tank is doing the same exact thing, and if your ammo hits theirs in mid-air, it just falls to the ground. Add to the fact that some late game tanks have HP in the 800 range and you are in for long, drawn-out battles.

The repetitive nature of the tank battles is lessened a bit by some strategy that you can toss in, though. Rocket gets a crew that he can command to do things such as load the cannons or sneak into the enemy tank to steal ammo. The enemy tank is only a screen away, and you can sneak into it too. In fact, you almost HAVE to towards the end of the game. In each tank are rows of computers which control the ammo chute drop rate. You can sneak into the enemy tank and destroy their ammo computers to significantly drop the rate that they get ammo. Of course, the enemy also can do this to you, and they will. Often. Some of the bad guys will also sneak in and steal your best ammo, too. Late-game tank battles can get hectic as your trying to juggle everything together, but they still somehow feel a bit repetitive and stale.

The same can be said of the gameplay outside of the tank. It’s fresh and fun the first few areas to explore and rescue your slime friends and family, but factors such as enemy combat and how generally slow Rocket moves bogs it down. The only combat option you have is to stretch yourself and blast into a bad guy, and that only gets upgraded to a more powerful version once throughout the game. When your lead character is a slime and can contort and twist into different shapes, don’t you think you’re missing something by not including that? While there is incentive to explore every nook and cranny for ammo and slimes (some of which are pretty well hidden and require some thinking to get to), it’s like wading through the shallow end of the pool to do so. You need some logical thinking skills, but the majority of the puzzles are variations of carry item here, stretch yourself there, etc.

The game is bright and poppy when it comes to graphics. It gives off a kiddie vibe a bit, as none of the monsters are even remotely menacing and look more cuddly than carnivorous. I found it to be pretty darn impressive that for a game with RPG influences, they don’t succumb changing the colors on enemies and passing them off as new ones. Is Evil Caterpillar 1 really that much different than Even More Evil Caterpillar 1 because they are different colors? Really?

There’s been obvious care to make the different areas that you can go to look fresh and different from each other graphically – there is no simple palette swaps and saying the area you were just in is a different area because of the color change. Each of the various ammo items can be seen shooting towards the enemy tank on the top screen, which gives a view of the action from a farther perspective during tank battles. The different tanks themselves all are quite distinct both on the outside and the inside. There can be a lot going on the screen at certain points, and I rarely if ever saw the frame rate falter.

The music is full of jaunty, fun tunes. Once again, the game strives to differentiate between the areas with different music. It really makes the sense of exploration and gameplay better and alleviates the repetitive nature of some of the bits of gaming when you feel like every single spot you’re going to is new both graphically and musically. The only shame is the tank battle theme, which is way too short and gets played way too often. Mixing up a few tank themes would’ve been nice.

Most of the sound effects are boinks, bloops, and various noises you’d expect a slime to make when jumping or stretching itself. The game misses its mark by not putting the same level of care into the noises the enemies make; for the game to be so keen and so good at keeping things fresh on the technical side, it’s a bit silly that every single enemy shares about two different yells of surprise when I stretch myself and ram them.

The game doesn’t us DS functionality at all when it comes to the microphone and stylus. Rocket is controlled with the D-pad. I have a DSi and the eight-way movement Rocket can do is a tiny bit cramp-inducing – but I blame this more on the mushy and soft feel of the DSi d-pad more than a game mechanic. Whether or not the game uses the DS functionality is more of a personal issue for the gamer himself. I’m not entirely a fan of the mixed control schemes that have me using the d-pad one second and reaching for the stylus the next. Everything the game asks of you is perfectly accessible given what the d-pad and the A and B buttons can do.

I’m a collect-a-thon nut, so the game offers a fair share of replayability. The campaign itself is a respectable length of around 12 hours or so, but that is assuming you go after every slime before you finish the game like I did. There’s added in-game tank battles you can access in Boingburg that offer a ranking system, so if you’re a 100%-done gamer, you got a lot to do. The game also keeps track of whether or not you found every ammo item and monster possible in each level, which is a pretty cool addition.

Rocket Slime was certainly crafted with an all-ages appeal approach in mind, and you can tell. The gameplay is simple enough that a kid can pick it up and play it while an old brother can play it for the collecting nature and the jokes. When you go for the all-ages appeal, it’s understandable that the gameplay can be a bit overly simple, and I don’t fault Rocket Slime for it at all. It can be repetitive, sure, but I still had problems taking myself away from it. It’s just addicting enough to make it pretty fun and make you think twice before you attack the next RPG ant or slime you see… because they have feelings too.

(This review can only be published on honestgamers.)

Rating: 7/10

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Featured community review by Mega5010 (February 23, 2011)

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wolfqueen001 posted February 24, 2011:

Hey. You're the first new guy we've seen in a while. If you're interested in sticking around here, I'll try to leave you feedback on this later today. Ordinarily, I'd just go ahead and do it without the pre-emptive post, but I'm busy I have work right now and so don't have the time to say anything in depth at the moment.

But I will say: welcome to the site. I hope you enjoy your time here and aren't put off by anything you see in the forums.

EDIT: Turns out you're not so new, but either way, the offer still stands
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joseph_valencia posted February 24, 2011:

This is a goopendous review. (slurp) It is very thorough and solidly written, and it tells me everything I would want to know about the game. (boing) I especially appreciate the slurpspective on controls, as I consider the touch-screen to someslimes be a hinderance in DS games. Keep up the goood work (not-so-stealth edit) as always.
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jerec posted February 24, 2011:

Mega's one of the old GameFAQs crew. Good to see you writing again, old friend!
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aschultz posted February 24, 2011:

I was pleasantly surprised to see your name, too. Hope life's been treating you well. The sub-muse of review-writing seems to have.
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Mega5010 posted February 24, 2011:

Hello all... and Jerc. >_>

This is literally the first review I've written since the last one at GameFAQs. I'm trying to get somewhat of a portfolio together of my writing samples, and reviewing games and getting back into the habit is something that I need to do.
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fleinn posted February 26, 2011:

"The same can be said of the gameplay outside of the tank. It’s fresh and fun the first few areas to explore and rescue your slime friends and family, but factors such as enemy combat and how generally slow Rocket moves bogs it down. The only combat option you have is to stretch yourself and blast into a bad guy, and that only gets upgraded to a more powerful version once throughout the game. When your lead character is a slime and can contort and twist into different shapes, don’t you think you’re missing something by not including that? While there is incentive to explore every nook and cranny for ammo and slimes (some of which are pretty well hidden and require some thinking to get to), it’s like wading through the shallow end of the pool to do so. You need some logical thinking skills, but the majority of the puzzles are variations of carry item here, stretch yourself there, etc."

*belly-laugh* Awesome paragraph. Really was the money-shot right there.

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