Slime Rancher Walkthrough Part 1 - The Beginning
Your first couple of in-game days will typically be best spent exploring the Dry Reef and learning the immediate area surrounding your ranch. I actually recommend you postpone setting up your ranch until you pop most of the Gordos in the Dry Reef. Check my Gordo Locations Guide for a list with screenshots of every Gordo location. Basically what you'll want to do is run around and collect food and keep feeding the Gordos until they pop.
The Pink Gordos will take 30 food items to burst; the Phosphor and Tabby Gordos will take 50 food. If you feed a Gordo its favorite food you'll get 2 points worth of food towards the total instead of 1. Phosphor Gordo you'll need to feed fruit to and the Pink Gordo will eat anything.
A good rule of thumb is Tabby and Rock Gordos are typically sitting ontop of teleporters. When you pop them you'll typically get access to a new area on the map, usually a nearby island, or a short cut to that location from your base. Every other Gordo will give you a Slime Key which is used to open the locked doors around the map.
While exploring you'll want to collect some Pink Plorts too and return them to your ranch to shoot into the Market Link. This is how you earn New Bucks in the game and we need a lot of them early on. Develop a rotation where you do some exploring and grab food/feed Gordos and then return to your base with Plorts when you start getting full.
Note: There is no reason to sleep in this game. Your character does not get tired nor do you get sick from staying up. Sleeping is only good for skipping ahead in time which you don't really want to do early in the game until you get Auto-Feeders for your slimes.
Occasionally when you are out in the world you may encounter Tarr Slimes (pictured above). These monstrocities are created when a Largo eats the Plort of a different type of slime. For example, if you have a Tabby/Pink Largo and it eats a Phosphor or Rock Plort it'll turn into a Tarr Slime.
This is why you will often see Tarr Slimes at night in certain parts of the Dry Reef. Since Phosphor Slimes are out at this hour it's much more likely for Tarr Slimes to be created from the extra types of Plorts on the ground. Until you get the water Vacpack upgrade your only defense against Tarr Slimes are to Vac them up and eject them into the ocean or avoid them. They despawn if you avoid them long enough.
Days 1 - 10 Ranch Setup:
1. Pop the Pink Gordo and Phosphor Gordo for Slime Keys
2. Build 3 sets of Corrals - higher wall upgrade required as is the Air Net (Plort Collector & Auto-Feeder highly recommended too)
3. Use a Slime Key to enter the Moss Blanket and grab Honey Slimes and Boom Slimes
4. Create Honey/Boom Largos, Tabby/Phosphor Largos and Pink/Rock Largos on your Ranch
5. Build 2 Mint Mango trees to feed all of your slimes or 1 Mint Mango and 1 Cuberry
Once you reach the Moss Blanket or Indigo Quarry you'll get access to some higher level slimes and their Plorts give you double the New Bucks on average. This is the reason I recommend you rush to get to one (or both) of these areas before stabilizing your farm.
The reason I chose the slime combinations I did is because it's typically best to combine slimes with fruit/vegetable diets with slimes that have meat diets. In this game it is notoriously difficult to feed slimes with meat diets since Chicken Coops do not produce enough food each day and they are more difficult to maintain too.
Honey/Boom Largo: Favorite food is Mint Mango (will be your most profitable combo for awhile)
Tabby/Phosphor Largo: Favorite food is Cuberry but they'll eat the mangos too
Pink/Rock Largo: Favorite food is Heart Beets but they'll eat anything
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The Main Gameplay Loop
Now we can start getting into the meat of the game. You may have noticed around your Ranch there are "Ranch Expansion" terminals which allow you to purchase the land surrounding your farm. These areas will contain additional plots for Gardens, Corrals, Silos etc etc along with teleporter locations and access to new areas.
If you popped the first Tabby Gordo you already discovered the teleporter that puts you between the Docks and the Overgrowth. This is one of many different fast travel teleporters that you will unlock by popping Gordos - these are good for more than just fast travel too which we'll talk about later in the guide.
As far as the Ranch Expansions go the ones you absolutely want to get right now are the Overgrowth and The Grotto as soon as possible. The Lab costs 10,000 and will be our future project - it unlocks the second biggest gameplay loop in the game, Slime Science. For those unfamiliar with the term gameplay loop, it basically means the repetative tasks you perform while playing a game.
There are a couple more things we need to purchase along with our Ranch Expansions too and that includes the Vacpack Upgrades. You'll find the terminal that sells Vacpack Upgrades to the left of the stairs that lead into your house. Out of all them the most important to buy first is the Jetpack. After that you'll want to do Tank Booster, Dash Boots and Power Core. Then just buy the rest in whatever order.
Jetpack allows us to use Energy to fly around and get to places we previously could not get to. As you play through the game you will occasionally get pop ups letting you know when new upgrades become available. So long as you buy the currently available rank you'll unlock the next rank eventually - so make sure you always buy what's for sale!
Along with the Vacpack Upgrades and the Ranch Expansions you'll want to fully upgrade your Gardens and Corrals too. For Gardens purchasing the Sprinkler and Nutrient Soil are absolute musts, the Corral you'll want to purchase every upgrade on every Corral except the Solar Shield. You only need to buy the Solar Shield on the Corral you're keeping Phosphor Largos in.
It's worth mentioning too that once you purchase The Grotto you'll be able to keep your Phosphor Largos in there without a Solar Shield. As for the Music Box - you may think it sucks but it's actually extremely useful. Music Boxes decrease slime agitation levels which will stop them from doing their really annoying mechanics.
For right now only the Boom Largos have really annoying mechanics, their exploding. The Rock Largos can get agitated and try to escape if you leave them without food for too long too. Music Boxes will help decrease this sort of negative behavior from your slimes.
The amount of slimes you put in one Corral is entirely up to you. Auto-Feeders will dispense 6 pieces of food every 3, 6 or 9 hours depending on what speed you set it at. You can usually keep 11 Largos well fed all day on the 2nd speed, which is a lot less than a Corral can hold.
When overstocking a Corral you have to worry about slimes getting agitated because they aren't being fed. Unhappy slimes will try to break out of their Corral and this can quickly result in a Tarr invasion on your farm - so it's recommended you avoid it.
Above I have included a map of what my farm looks like now combined with where I want to go with it next. Check out the Slime Rancher Planner if you'd like to see this resource and plan out your own farm like you see in my picture above. Right now I only have the central portion complete along with some Gardens planted in the Overgrowth and The Grotto.
When we start exploring again we'll capture Hunter Slimes (or their Plorts) from the Moss Blanket along with Rad Slimes and Crystal Slimes from the Indigo Quarry. I've included them into the picture above because I already know where I want to put them and I am preparing their future Corrals before I capture them.
I have a lot of Gardens because I like to build up an extra supply that I put into Silos. Having extra food is nice for when you set out on a mission to pop a Gordo, which we're going to be doing a lot of shortly. There are two more major mechanics of this game I haven't explained yet, the Range Exchange and the 7Zee Rewards Club. I would recommend saving these for later when we work on Slime Science and after we do a little bit more exploring.
Right now the best thing to do is to finish exploring the Dry Reef and then continue with the Moss Blanket and Indigo Quarry. When you feel that you have a stable enough farm and are ready to start exploring again you'll want to head over to the final place we've yet to go in the Dry Reef.
Make sure your Auto-Feeders are well stocked enough to keep your slimes from becoming upset while you're gone. Also, stock up on Hen Hens from your Overgrowth Ranch Expansion because we'll need them for the Tabby Gordo coming up.
You've probably already noticed this but if you go through our Overgrowth Ranch Expansion you'll find a whole new section of the Dry Reef which was previously inaccessible to us. There will be an easy to spot Tabby Gordo (pictured above) which you'll want to feed all the Hen Hens you find until it blows.
Pop him and you'll discover a teleporter to the much larger island on your map in the southern portion of the Dry Reef. This island is where we'll find our final Pink Gordo which will give us 3/3 Slime Keys for the Dry Reef. If you need help finding this Tabby Gordo or the Pink Gordo on the island check out the map below or my Gordo Locations Guide.
This map wasn't created by me, it was made by a Steam user who deserves all the credit for such an amazing job. I simply chopped up the map into more digestible parts for my walkthrough here.
Once you've popped both remaining Gordos in the Dry Reef it is time to move onto the Moss Blanket and then Indigo Quarry. Right now we're going to be focusing on exploring and learning the landscape as well as collecting Hunter Plorts, Rad Slimes and Crystal Slimes. You can collect Hunter Slimes too - if you can find them - but collecting the Plorts is easier.