I...I think I just killed a penis.

...I should probably explain. Roll back, game pitch.

Slime-San is a retro-flaired, low-fi style pixel platformer, in which you play the eponymous Slime-san (that's a Japanese honorific that expresses formality; the use of Mr. / Ms. / etc. can be considered a rough equivalent in English) who has been swept up by a terrifying giant worm creature. The opening of the game, nay, the very opening of the menu of the game, sees you gobbled up and sent to the level select, from where you can begin to fight your way back out.

The game puts a sharp focus on time, as well as the collecting of a few objects, most notably the apples that form the center of the game's currency. The result is very much in line with a particular line of descent from the super-hard arcadey platformer of old. It's not quite a Kaizo Mario type game, because between the infinite lives and the one-room sub-stages, you're often only facing a specific set of challenges that can be overcome...But instead, your challenge is in being able to do so quickly, because every death stays on your timer.

While it's a specific subtype I've seen a fair bit of in the past, perhaps most notably in the N+ series of ninja platformers, it's one I haven't seen in a while. And Slime-San works very well in it. Aside from your basic jumping and moving, your verbs are pretty straightforward. You've got a dash that can go in any of the cardinal directions, and a translucent state that lets you phase through certain barriers, and slows down the world around you...But notably, not the timer, making it a dangerous tool to use on those tight speedruns.

The whole thing is wrapped in a graphical expression that's so specific, so tightly focused on a very single expression of retro-ness, that I'm not sure whether to be amazed that I'm unaware of any other throwback titles to use it, or amazed that any title ever would.

What I mean is, Slime-San's graphics are specifically built on the Super Game Boy.

Allow me to explain. You remember the original Game Boy, yes? I would hope you do. D-pad, two action buttons, and a screen that would
show you four shades of grey...Or on the original original model, four shades of pea-soup green due to the specifics of the screen they used.

The Super Game Boy, released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo, was pretty much what it sounded like. With most of a Game Boy's hardware stuffed into an SNES cartridge, it could pipe a Game Boy game through the SNES hardware, letting you play your favorite handheld titles on the TV. Sort of a proto-proto-proto Switch, if you will. (We could call it ironic that I'm playing Slime-San on the ultimate descendent of this quirky hardware, but that might be stretching the definition of irony a bit even for me)

Anyways, the Super Game Boy could be used to enhance titles, but only if the games specifically were coded for it...which, quite frankly, many of them didn't. But what they could do, was push those four shades of grey to their utmost. Because when you take all those un-enhanced games, you can actually change each of their four shades of grey into whatever color you want. Red-tinted? Blue-tinted? A winter holiday mess of bright reds, greens, purples and oranges? It's all valid!

Also, because the Game Boy's display ratio is far too narrow for a 4:3 television (let alone a modern 16:9) there would be a border encapsulating the gameplay, filling up the rest of the screen. Even a game with little to no enhancements otherwise would sometimes throw in a custom border, just to say they did. These borders are actually produced by the SNES's graphics hardware, not the Game Boy's, so they have far fewer limits.

Which brings us back to Slime-San. Four disparate colors; by default they're blue, white, green and red, but the color-blindness settings can change them around. (Strictly speaking it uses two shades of blue, but still) Narrow screen ratio, surrounded by borders that are far more colorful.

The game is very tightly grappling with a look that only a small handful of games were ever developed towards...And something about that is super fascinating to me.

So let's pull back, talk about the game itself. It is, to nobody's surprise, hard. But if you're not trying to get 100% or anything, it's not super hard. You'll die a few times at new challenges, then you'll figure it out and be out to the next stage in a minute or two. Some of the challenges get a little fussy with the Joy-Con's detached d-pad, but it's something you get used to quickly. No, it's figuring out a challenge so tightly, so bound to your muscle memory that you can speedrun it and get the time trophies, that could wear you down. So...You know...don't do that unless you find it fun.

Each world, a section of the great worm that ate you, is capstoned by a boss...Which brings us to the sentence that started this review off. I fought what the cutscene menu informs me was supposed to be part of the worm's Intestines. But, well...Okay mostly I wanted to make a starter sentence that would catch your attention and make you keep reading, particularly so I could regail you with the history and quirks of a semi-successful accessory to a Nintendo console.

Yet on the other hand, it really did look like an angry bitey penis. So the game definitely uses a bit of extra gore flair, and hints of grossout humor. While it's nowhere near as intensely there as some of the stuff of the 90s, it's just enough to add to the feel of being a throwback to that era. There's even a slight static haze filter, which turns into a downward-drifting series of lines on certain menus, like a CRT television not quite working right. All of this comes together to create a very strong sensation, of a very specific memory; slotting a weird, low-budget Game Boy game into an SGB, turning the colors all weird just 'cuz, and seeing what it's like.

But that's not a bad thing. Slime-San packs a whole lot of value in that those kinda games so rarely did. Aside from all the levels, you have unlockables that change gameplay, costume bits you can add to your protagonist, and even a set of unlockable multiplayer games.

Which kind of brings us to that core question, the center of any review. There's all that content, but is it good? Should you buy this?

Yeah, totally. It's a crazy little platformer that earns its welcome, has a set of mechanics that reward trying to master it (or passing the controller back and forth with a buddy on each death) and speaks to a nostalgia so distinct that it's got to come from the heart. Slime-San has my firm recommendation.