A top-down shooter with a twist; get ready to Slime humanity!
The Rise of the Genre
When something in the gaming world goes viral, there are bound to be copycats. The top-down shooter genre exploded in popularity with Vampire Survivors, released in October 2022. I remember seeing it in a YouTube clip of Asmongold playing it during a stream that now tallies 2.4 million views.
This spawned a gold rush of similar games, both old and new, in hopes of gleaming some success for the now-viral category. The developer Konfa Games has created a top-down shooter with a deckbuilding element in Slime 3K: Rise Against Despot, hopefully adding a new twist to bring in a new crowd.
Roaming around as an oozing gelatinous bubble, your thirst for human destruction leads you on a grinding path of chaos and destruction. The choices of weapons and buffs come to you in a tiered system that can be upgraded in-game, and others gained by leveling experience. As you slay more and more hordes of humans and monsters alike, you will gain new weapon cards to add to your deck and unlock new Slime variants to choose from. You can save multiple deck types, allowing you to account for different Slime strengths and weaknesses and adding starting buffs like speed or hit points.
What to Expect
The pace of play is much slower than that of similar shooters, but I mean, you are a ball of Slime. The levels are not open-world; there are borders and other industrial terrain in between, which makes moving more difficult. You will take damage in this game, hence the large health bar even for the default character; no prancing around avoiding enemies in this one. The variety of enemies is vast, and the horde can sometimes fill almost the entire screen in later stages of the level, which is timed and has a boss element at the end of every level.
The graphics and overall aesthetics look great, with a darker industrial theme throughout the game. The soundtrack is minimalist but still appropriate without being overwhelming. There are hundreds of upgrades and buffs to select for your card deck, adding a large variety of deck options when crafting.
How does it play?
I was frustrated at first due to the pace of play. I don’t think I could smash my WASD keys any harder for my Slime to move faster than my granny on her walker. After a few levels gained with new cards and buffs added, I was able to grind through the first few levels. Then I hit a wall. I changed cards in my deck, rearranged buffs, threw my Slime against the wall of human scum, and could not make it anywhere near the end of the timer. I like games that have a certain level of difficulty to overcome, but I’m not a fan of having to grind just to get enough buffs to make it through a level. I think the constricted environments work against the play because I found myself cornered many times, fighting through hundreds of enemies without much of an offense, even with my most powerful abilities equipped.
Overall, as a top-down roguelike 2D shooter, it has a polished look and concept that’s just a little bit different from the other ones on the market. It feels grindy in a way that typically goes against my preferred game style. In the end, though, it provides a simple move-and-shoot game and can certainly kill some time and provide some serotonin hits when moving through levels or earning new rewards. If you like games where you must work hard to earn all the characters, abilities, and rewards, then this game is probably up your alley as a player. The price point is below $5 currently on Steam in early access. So the investment vs. entertainment value is actually pretty good, and as any Steam user will probably tell you, there are way more expensive games in their library that have an embarrassingly low number of hours played.