Sling Ming has some very good ideas behind it but just like your math homework, it can get frustrating if you don't get the mechanics behind it.
In Sling Ming players must guide Princess Ming through at least 50 handcrafted levels by arranging nodes for her to sling between.
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The game is the first title by indie development studio Good Night Brave Warrior. The studio consists of two brothers working together, one focusing on art and the other on programming.
The narrative of Sling Ming is quite simple but more complicated than something like Angry Birds. Ming is the main character of the game and she is the princess of planet Topius. While Topius is undergoing some sort of world-ending calamity, Ming tasked herself with finding out what is going on and how to stop it.
Ming's adventure will bring her to three other planets where she will find gems that can help stabilize Topius. It is a very simplistic set-up and it works well with for game progression-wise. Although the characters aren't always memorable, the narrative is a great vessel for the gameplay.
Gameplay is perhaps the most interesting part of Sling Ming. The game's main mechanic revolves around Ming's oxygen suit called "oxylane" which is attached on rails that the players can use to maneuver over obstacles and platforms, think of Ming as a wrecking ball attached to a crane.
There are also a lot of objects that can help or hinder Ming's navigation through each level and some of these objects are specific to each planet. However, some mechanics are repeated throughout each planet which is understandable, but it also hurts the game in some ways.
The only problem that I've encountered throughout the game is that it can be very frustrating at times. The momentum swing sections can be particularly difficult to progress through.
This is because you only have control over which node Ming travels to and in some cases in what position these nodes are. This combined with the fact that Ming is essentially bouncing around underneath these nodes makes it so that you never really have complete control over where she goes.
It takes about 7 to 8 hours to beat the game without collecting everything on the screen, but if you are a completionist, it can take a lot more at approximately 9 to 10 hours.
If you want to collect every coin you see you will easily waste countless hours more on the game, though this can easily feel like a chore especially considering some of these are in hard to reach places or dangerously close to hazardous materials.
For hardcore completionists the Steam version also contains 29 achievements of which most focus on the collection of coins and the completion of challenges.
Graphics and sound
The handcrafted art featured in every environment makes use of an aesthetically pleasing range of colors that, combined with animated scenery, creates an experience that makes you want to keep exploring further.
The combination of the game's soundtrack and these impressive visuals help to leave a lasting impression and it can therefore be considered a major selling point.
The soundtrack as well as sound design is quite good. There is no voice acting except for Ming's regular screams of death and the mumbling noises her companion makes. The soundtrack isn't something you would want in your playlist but the game's developers have used it very well.
The music ramped up on intense moment, mellowed down on easy levels and that's all you could really ask for in a puzzle game. The environment and usable object sound design should've been livelier to give the game more catharsis but other than that, there aren't many complaints.
Overall, Sling Ming is a great casual game to play on the go but this isn't a game you would want to sit down and play for hours on end. This is why I suggest purchasing the Nintendo Switch, Android or iOS version of the game instead of the PC version.
The game released for PC and Nintendo Switch earlier this week. It currently retails for $11.99 in North America and €11.99 in Europe. European and Australian players will be able to make use of a 20% launch discount on Nintendo's eShop.
The game is also expected to release for Android and iOS devices later this year.
PC, Indie, Nintendo Switch, Android, IOS, OS X
Oxylane mechanic drives gameplay
The narrative is a great vessel for the gameplay
Aesthetically pleasing artwork
Good soundtrack and sound design
The oxylane physics can be frustrating
Plays best on the go as casual puzzle game
Poor replayability for non-completionists