Table of Contents
About Salt & Sanctuary
A doomed sailor is shipwrecked on an uncharted island. In fog-shrouded valleys, where grinning, mossy corpses cling to rusted arms, shambling figures begin to stir. Beneath crumbling, salt-worn structures, labyrinthine passageways lead to unspeakable evil, long forgotten by man.
Salt and Sanctuary seamlessly combines fast, brutal, and complex 2D combat with richly developed RPG mechanics. Discover, craft, and upgrade over 600 weapons, armor pieces, spells, and items as you explore a cursed realm of forgotten cities, blood-soaked dungeons, desecrated monuments, and the fallen lords they once celebrated.
From Ska Studios, the award-winning indie studio behind a long list of stylistic, visceral, and brutally executed action titles that include The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, and Charlie Murder, comes Salt and Sanctuary, the studio’s most ambitious title to date.
Salt and Sactuary is a Metroidvania with Soulslike elements. The Soulslike elements come from several aspects such as multiple classes that are customizable by skill points and the boss battles are basically 2-D Soulslike encounters. The game can be challenging and there is no map to guide you.
Exploration is highly encouraged and rewarded. The lack of a map is remedied by fast travel and multiple paths to each area. You’ll have to remember the layout or you can simply find a map online. If it is your first playthrough, I recommend trying to complete the game without a downloaded map first.
If you decide to download a map for Salt and Sanctuary, check out this one. It’s the one that I use and I love it.
Salt and Sanctuary’s gameplay can be a bit frustrating at times. For the most part, the boss fights progress rather poorly. Bosses tend to rage more and more as they lose their health. That makes sense to me but it’s how the rage is executed. Most of the time, they simply keep your character on the ground. It’s hard to get up. This can be frustrating at times.
I also miss ledges when I jump to them quite often. It either feels like the momentum of my character randomly changes at times or my character simply does not grab onto the ledge.
It’s amazing. I love the atmosphere of Salt and Sanctuary. There isn’t any music when you are exploring and I think this is a great call by the developers. Without the music, you are able to take in all of the ambient sounds from the environment and enemies.
You are not alone very often. You’ll have a few stretches here and there but most of the time, there is something to take out on the screen. Enemies are not and short supply. That’s okay though because the balance feels fine. I never feel overwhelmed by enemies unless it is my mistake.
I always love to talk about the music in video games. However, Salt and Sanctuary does not have much to talk about here. Music does not exist when you are exploring. This works well for the game and is not a complaint by any means. The lack of music is effective.
You will hear music when you enter a sanctuary or when you fight a boss. The music in sanctuaries is soothing which makes sense. You are here to rest and take care of business. The music for boss battles is epic but the same for every boss except for the final boss.
Music is not a high point for Salt and Sanctuary and in some cases that works well for the game. However, changing up the music for boss battles seems like a missed opportunity.
As I See It
Salt and Sanctuary is an amazing game. The combination of atmosphere, environment, and music do a great job of transporting you to the island you wind up on. There is a lot to explore and uncover. If you do your best to cover as much as you can, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
Salt and Sanctuary is hard and for the most part, progression feels rewarding. I do find myself getting frustrated at times with gameplay but not to the point where I get stuck or rage quit. There are measures you can take to help improve gameplay but you’ll figure all that out when you play the game yourself.
As I see it, Salt and Sanctuary is a winner and deserves a playthrough or more if you are a fan of Metroidvania and Soulslike games.