Slimes are smarter than you think

It was released in 2017 by Monomi Park and with a sequel due this year, slime rancher It has been a commercial success thanks to its quirky blend of farming simulation and adventure genres. It also helps that literally everything players are happy to see, from the various types of slime to designs in the world, even the looming moon with a happy slime face.

But the presence of these designs in the world raises the question of how they appeared. The Far area, Far Range, where the game is set, is supposed to be sparsely populated, and chickens have been directed to the area, meaning there is really nothing but slime inhabiting the area. However, there are structures out there, which you have to ask what, specifically, put them together. The only living things around are slime, which isn’t who – which Smart – or are they?

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At first glance, slime doesn’t seem smart. They breed anywhere, bounce happily everywhere and eat everything they can, sometimes eating things they shouldn’t and turning into a predatory tar. You’ll bounce straight into the Slime Sea with little to no angst, although this may be because the Slime Sea doesn’t affect them the way ranchers or Tarr do. Above all, they seem to take what is essentially an alien invasion one step at a time, and happily walk away with absorption and placement in containers where they are bred for prey.

It is just questionable how much intelligence a small piece of slime possesses. The game does not attempt to discuss this, as it instead relies on environmental storytelling to ask the question. Mud gates and fuel-filled mud gates are available, especially in late-game environments, as well as complex structures. While wood structures closer to farms can easily be customized as something farm owners make, more intricate screw structures and stone structures—especially those that look like slime carved into them—look a little more than what ranchers can make, especially in remote areas like the glassy desert.

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But the bigger question as to whether slime is smart comes from interactions with one of the “ranchers”, BOb. Like other ranchers whose main character interacts with Bea, the BOb will communicate with the player and offer deals – in BOb’s case, it’s chicken for game. And unlike other ranchers, the BOb is actually a bunch of pink slime piled on top of each other in a raincoat.

Since the game lacks voice acting, it is unknown if BOb communicates verbally or through written letters. But at least BOb is able to write when her communication with Pia begins sending her Starmail. On top of that, BOb works with another farmer, Victor Humphries, who admits he doesn’t know much about them because they haven’t met face to face.

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Sure enough, BOb’s communication skills seem to be limiting in ordering chickens to infinity. However, the fact remains that they are able to ask for absolutely nothing and understand them. This, and their ability to use farmer technology, all suggest that yes, slime has some form of intelligence.

However, this begs the question Why Then the slime allows themselves to be planted. In this, perhaps the answer lies in their intelligence. They seem somewhat unfazed by the arrival of an alien race on their planet, which is strange, especially considering that this alien race is interested in their feeding and their tendency to collect what amounts to their trash. The food, stimulation, and hygiene needs of their Tarr being looked after and protected – all of their basic needs are met, so perhaps the surest sign of their intelligence is that they don’t let their ranchers in on the secret.

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