Salt and Sanctuary
|a game by||Ska Studios|
|Platforms:||XBox One, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, PC, Playstation 4|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown|
|User Rating:||10.0/10 - 2 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||RPGs, 2D Platformer Games, Hardcore Games, Dark Souls-like Games, Games Like Hollow Knight|
A tough as nails mash-up of two beloved genres, Salt and Sanctuary manages the impossible – being a proper adaptation that avoids becoming a mere copycat. It might not be a wholly original idea, and its Souls-like inspiration is pretty easy to spot, but Salt and Sanctuary still delivers an excellent experience of its own. This combination of different genres will put players to the test as they try to navigate the game’s unforgiving 2D world. Beautiful yet incredibly difficult, Salt and Sanctuary is, without a doubt, the dream game of most modern Metroidvania fans.
Of Salt and Souls
As soon as you get control of your character in Salt and Sanctuary, you’ll immediately realize what the developer’s inspirations were. Both narratively and gameplay-wise, Salt and Sanctuary feels like a match made in heaven between Dark Souls and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Much like the Souls series, the plot of Salt and Sanctuary is made up of tiny bits of lore the player must piece together themselves to understand. Thankfully, however, the lore is not as obscure as it was in From Software’s games, with some plot elements that can even be considered “weak” by dark fantasy standards. As “Saltborn” – a mortal being–, your task is to defeat the Nameless God of a deserted island. That might sound pretty basic at first glance, but the lore behind the Saltborn and the isle itself is pretty rich, and players with a knack for finding backstory pieces in their games will surely have a blast with Salt and Sanctuary.
Doodles and Swords
Something that immediately distances Salt and Sanctuary from any title in the Souls franchise (and even in the Castlevania series) is the game’s visual style. Instead of going for realism, developers Ska Studios went for a more sketchbook-like approach for the game’s visuals. The world of Salt and Sanctuary is a beautifully crafted assortment of hand-drawn locations and characters, each with a unique personality of its own. Don’t be fooled by the game’s somewhat cutesy character design, as there’s still tons of violence and gore to be found in Salt and Sanctuary.
While the 2D hand-drawn sprites look great in motion, they create some limitations of their own. Some of the most glaring problems arise from the character’s animations, which can look stilted and lack some fluidity due to how the game’s animated. There are some other minor issues with how characters blend into the environment, which can leave you somewhat disoriented at some stages.
Face the Island Together
An area where Salt and Sanctuary outclasses even the Souls series is in the game’s robust multiplayer options. There’s the usual asynchronous Dark Souls multiplayer experience of leaving messages for other players, but Salt and Sanctuary goes one step beyond that.
The game features a full co-op mode, where two players can beat the game together. While you could technically do this for bosses in the Dark Souls series, in Salt and Sanctuary, two players can beat the entire game together. And why stop there? There’s also the option to face other players in PvP matches to test which one of you has the best loadout, and most importantly, who’s the saltiest and most skilled warrior around.
Salt and Sanctuary manages to craft its own identity through its many merits, even if it can be dangerously close to mimicking other games in the process.
- Satisfying combat
- Great hand-drawn visuals
- Impressive multiplayer options
- Excellent build variety
- Unsatisfying plot
- Awkward attack and moving animations