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Literally keeps you coming back for more

A Boy and His Slime is an odd sort of RPG where a man named Luke must defeat the Demon Lord. He only has seven days to prepare for the arrival, but time is on his side as he can use a magic crystal to loop back to the start of the week, though this power is not without its costs.

Let’s Talk About Assets!

These are all stock from the RM MV RTP and various resource packs. They’re put to fine use and I don’t have any serious complaints, nor was I especially wowed by anything. My one gripe is that the game only has one BGM that it uses for every fight, including the Dark Lord, so there’s no sense of gravity in the more serious battles. Aside from that, it’s inoffensive overall.

Let’s Talk About Story!

There isn’t much to this as it’s a gameplay-focused game. Luke is brought into the situation as King Koder is holding a council about the Demon Lord’s impending assault. He was consulting with three women: a knight named Brianna, a witch named Lilian, and a healer named Sylvia. Having determined their existing forces are not enough, they use the summoning crystal and Luke appears. All he can remember is his name, he’s offered to stay at the castle, and it goes from there. His pet slime, Slimee, is also there, but its presence is never brought up or explained.

The rest of the story is pretty straightforward. Teaming up with one girl of your choice at a time (or none at all), you enter dungeons and boss fights through portals and take on the Dark Lord’s minions to weaken him and prepare for the final confrontation. Interacting with the girls builds affection with them, but it’s more of a game mechanic than a story one, as characterization is minimal. The girls respond to you more affectionately as you grow your connection, but their dialogue is short and to the point, so it’s hardly a relationship sim.

While time loops have interesting storytelling potential, as can be seen in games like Majora’s Mask, this one doesn’t capitalize on that format for any story reasons. You have your mission, there’s nothing to distract you from it, and there’s not even anything beyond it. The ending is such a nothing moment that I don’t even mind spoiling it. You beat the Dark Lord and King Koder congratulates you. That’s it. You can’t even talk to the girls in the aftermath.

Let’s Talk About Gameplay!

This is where the game shines as it puts its various mechanics to use within the time loop format. Your primary resource is ‘NRG’ which you get 100 of to start with and 80 more each time you rest for the night. Various actions you take throughout the day expend NRG, and how you budget this resource is going to majorly affect your progress. You have 7 days to prepare for the Dark Lord’s arrival, and if you aren’t ready by Day 8, you must use the time crystal to start the loop over.

It might seem like all you’d need to do is grind enough in dungeons between loops until you’re strong enough to match the Dark Lord, but this is not possible because the time loop resets Luke back to level 1 and removes most of his resources as well. However, not all is lost with the turning back of time, so the way you grow stronger is by accruing the benefits that don’t vanish when you reset the clock. Most of these benefits come in the form of achievements, which can be gotten in all sorts of ways. Each achievement comes with a boon that builds you up a little more. These can include stat boosts, item capacity increases, level-ups for you/your allies, and more.

Apart from achievements, you also keep any equipment you’ve obtained and Slimee retains its own experience, but it grows at a slower rate than the other party members. Gold disappears completely, but if you spend it on equipment before looping, you can resell the extras afterward. Affection with the girls does not deplete fully, but takes a heavy hit without achievements to bolster it. Their closeness with Luke affects how much they’re willing to help you in dungeons, as each of them has a special ability they can use in the field to garner rewards for you bringing them there.

The bulk of the game is spent going into portals to fight and scrounge for resources. Green portals lead to small dungeons with treasures, monsters, and bosses. There are no random encounters, but some areas let you refresh the encounters by leaving the screen and coming back. Red portals lead to one-off bosses who grant permanent benefits upon defeat. Yellow portals are reserved for Pufflies and the Puzzle Hall, which are both special cases. Puffly battles are against a horde of nonviolent fuzzballs that wait a few turns before starting to flee. They’re worth a lot of experience, but tanky and evasive. They’re useful for picking up experience quickly if you’re strong enough to beat them. The Puzzle Hall is a place where you can solve small puzzles to increase your NRG reserves, but as of the version I played, this was not kept between loops like it was meant to.

So the general idea is you slowly grow by rooting out achievements. Your stats go up, NRG costs go down, you get better equipment, access tougher areas, and Slimee grows all the while. Eventually, it’s enough that the Demon Lord won’t mop the floor with you.

The battle mechanics are in-depth just enough to be interesting. Luke has a range of decent abilities spanning both physical and magical, though he starts out unbearably weak. Brianna is a straightforward bruiser who can lower defense and increase her power at the cost of going berserk. Lilian is your resident black mage, having single and multi-target magic of various elements. Sylvia is the support character, able to buff defenses, heal, and remove debuffs. You can only take one girl with you at a time to enter portals, but all three will join you in the final battle.

There’s at least one use for every skill available to you, so everything you’re given is justified even if it’s niche. My only real annoyance was that elements are underplayed, making them arbitrary or obsolete in most cases. Luke has a skill that can check the elemental affinities of an opponent, but most enemies I checked had none, so I stopped bothering after a while. I found the elements to be more useful for their secondary effects. Fire magic can burn the opponent, causing them to take extra damage each turn. Water magic douses them, making them susceptible to being frozen by ice magic. The only element that does damage and nothing more is thunder, so it has a lot less purpose. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t even more powerful to compensate.

Battles are turn-based with a tracker showing who will act in what order. You can use this to advise your tactics well. For example, if Luke is acting before Lilian, he could douse an enemy with water magic and she could freeze it immediately after. If they both act ahead of the enemy, it would be stunned for its turn. Additionally, Slimee grows toward being the fastest since it keeps its levels, and it has a move that can slow down opponents, so the three of them can work in tandem to lock down an enemy in one turn. I found there was less synergy with the other girls, but Sylvia is a reliable partner that can keep the group in good shape. Brianna is most limited in her usefulness since she can only target single enemies. She can change the element of her weapon, but as before, elements hardly matter and she doesn’t gain the secondary effects. She’s best for punching through stubborn targets or dividing and conquering.

Most opposition in the game has something to make it stand out. Bosses have their own gimmicks (some more obnoxious than others), and your tactics will depend largely on who you bring along. Most scenarios can be handled by any party if you’re clever, but some go much more smoothly with specific allies. If a fight proves too much for one group, it may help to try another girl next time. The only problem is there’s no option to flee no matter what the encounter is, so if you get into any unwinnable situation, it’s Game Over for you. Fortunately, you can save almost anywhere and can’t ever be trapped outside of battle. Luke’s Return skill can take you back to the castle anytime you can access the menu.

Let’s Wrap This Up…

While this game doesn’t fully capitalize on what it could be, it manages to be an engaging experience. It’s grindy in a different way than most RPGs, but the grinding has its payoffs in the achievements you find, and the curiosity of what actions will be rewarded is enough to warrant trying things just to see. You can also look up an achievement list on the game page if you want to focus your efforts, though I found it was not comprehensive. The time loop is a bit of a bummer since it puts you through the same sections a lot, but it’s somewhat mitigated by Slimee never losing its experience so every fight counts, even just a little. There are also many achievements that you don’t need a high level to attain, so you can minimize your grinding depending on what goal you have for each loop. I was definitely more let down by the story side of things since it has so much more potential than it’s using, as the story was just a vehicle for the gameplay. It works in that regard, but the ending is such an anticlimax that it feels like a lot of buildup with no final payoff, which is odd since it was good about rewarding everything else you do. With all that in mind, I give it a...


That’s one way to play 52 pickup.