Salt and Sanctuary – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Action, Adventure
Developer: Ska Studios
Publisher: Ska Studios
Platform: PC, Mac, Switch, Vita, PlayStation 4
Tested on: Switch

Salt and Sanctuary – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Co-op, Mechanics
Bad: Simple plot, Tedious process to start co-op
User Score
9.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

With the rise of the Dark Souls games, it was clear that gamers longed for the days when games were still tough as nails, you weren’t held by the hand from start to finish, and a thick plot wasn’t always necessary if you had decent core mechanics. Of course, this introduced many clones, many publishers and developers jumping on the bandwagon and many failed attempts of creating a unique Dark Souls experience, with just that little pinch of originality. This time we take a look at what’s supposed to be a 2D Dark souls experience for the Nintendo Switch, namely Salt and Sanctuary.

Story

Your princess is in another castle! This phrase we come to hate (or love?) from the older Mario games, is basically the plot of Salt and Sanctuary. You are on a boat, which carries the princess of an unnamed country, to marry the prince of another country, to end the ongoing cycle of wars. Of course things go south, and you’ll end up stranded on an island, trying to find the princess after the boat was destroyed. Other than that, there is not that much story value to be found in Salt and Sanctuary, pretty much like in the Dark Souls games. The plot will thicken a bit by talking with other NPC characters, who share a bit of information about different things, such as the island you will be stranded on for the duration of the game.

Graphics

Salt and Sanctuary looks good, albeit in a flash-games kind of way. The entire game feels like it’s hand drawn, which certainly graces a game such as this, and all the characters present in this world feel like paper characters that roam around on a gigantic painting. The color palette is a bit gray-ish, which again suits the entire Dark Souls vibe the game is aiming for. You’ll have a decent diversity in sceneries, even though the first portions of the game feel a bit the same and sometimes a bit on the bland side. The bosses are well designed and will certainly get your adrenaline levels up, as they are nothing like the normal enemies you’ll come across.

Sound

The soundtrack of Salt and Sanctuary is fairly calm and never invasive. You’ll get a tranquil soundtrack on the background, all while hearing the shuffling and attacks of your opponents, while your hack and slash sounds will also overrule all what is happening around you. The overall soundtrack is atmospheric, which perfectly suits a game such as this.

Gameplay

Salt and Sanctuary is basically a 2D Dark Souls game with some added platforming to the mix. This means the game is a mix of an Action RPG with platforming elements. From start to finish you’ll be wandering through a fairly grim world, with ghastly enemies, who you’ll have to kill in order to receive gold and salt, the latter is the same as the souls you get in Dark Souls. With salt you’ll be able to level up your character and upgrade weapons, while money can actually buy you new stuff. Overall the concept of the game is very simple, but traversing through the lands will prove to be tough as nails.

Combat works pretty much as you’d expect from a game that bases itself on one of the hardest franchises to date. You can dive in blindly, but it will only get you so far with the weakest monsters, as you’ll get your ass pounded when trying this tactic against stronger foes. You will have to study patterns, work on your blocking and dodging and get your timing right. Other than that, it’s a lot of trial and error, which some players might not like that much, especially when they expect to make steady progress in this game.

As mentioned before, leveling is done with the salt you collect when killing enemies. When you die, you’ll lose the salt in your possession but you can regain the lost amount by killing the enemy that caused your early demise. When leveling up, you’ll always need more and more salt for the coming levels. Upon leveling your stats will not alter, only when you start investing points in your massive skill tree. There is way too much choice concerning skill points, which is good for some, a bit scary for others.

The co-op function in Salt and Sanctuary is both incredible but at the same time a bit on the tedious side. First of all, it’s great you can play a game such as this with two players, and with an actual second character, instead of a simple guest avatar. This means you can create a second character to use as the second player, which allows it to level and skill up the same way as the main character. Enemies will scale, making the game harder, but some tactics will eventually make certain hard foes easier. If you die, you’ll wait at a sanctuary until your buddy returns to said location and he is also able to pick up your lost salt, which is another added bonus. You’ll also receive the same drops as the player who picks them up, which is a great way to keep things balanced. The only tedious parts are that you’ll need a stone avatar in your sanctuary to start the co-op mode, which is annoying if you have to run back to one of the first sanctuaries to actually boot up the co-op mode. Other than that, when the second player goes off-screen, he’s pretty much doomed as he won’t be able to see jack shit.

Conclusion

Salt and Sanctuary may be tough as nails, as intended, it’s still a stellar 2D Dark Souls experience with a pinch of salt on the side making it a very original title. The level and skill system are more than expansive enough to keep you entertained for many sessions to come and the overall options concerning gear and weaponry also make the game interesting to play. If you’re looking for a adult and tough as nails experience on your Switch, be it on the go or with a friend, we can only advise you to pick up Salt and Sanctuary.

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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Salt and Sanctuary - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

2 Comments

  1. MC_JP
    MC_JP
    August 11, 2018, 8:51 pm

    tfw you as a lvl 6 paladin do ten times the amound of damage of a lvl 17 assasin :p

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  2. […] inspired by it. Now the developers at Ska Studios have made their own twist and it is amazing. We had the honor to try out their game ‘Salt and Sanctuary’, this is a 2D platforming title that takes the elements of Dark […]

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