Salt And Sanctuary Review

The Souls series of games have gone from a cult-classic, to a series of design choices that is being replicated and reproduced throughout a number of new franchises such as Lords of the Fallen, Bound by Flame, and upcoming ventures such as Deep Down and The Surge. But there haven’t been many indie developers that had taken the plunge, until now. Ska Studios, known for vibrantly violent brawlers like Charlie Murder and the Dishwasher series, have now decided to take their own spin on the genre, clashing 2D platforming and hard as nails combat. So, is it a match made in hard game heaven? Let’s look for the answer.

Gameplay:

The game carries the same weapon traits from epic’s like Bloodborne (although nothing can beat the Kirkhammer)

One of my biggest gripes with Salt and Sanctuary was how much it borrowed from the Souls games, without doing anything to set itself apart from the other games in it’s niche. You’ve got the classic rolls and dodges, and simplistic yet solid combat that can be improved upon these maneuvers. This doesn’t take anything away from the game except for it’s heavily-needed signature flair, but it may come off as a bit troubling to anyone who was looking for a substantial departure from the formula, with the best parts kept in for good measure.

Plot/Design:

Expect to die a lot, as some bosses can be particularly viscous

For what Salt & Sanctuary lacks in gameplay variety, it makes up for it in it’s artistic merit. The bosses have a distinct creepiness to them, and the game brings Bloodborne’s chilling coherence to a new surpassing level in a two-dimensional landscape. This can also be said about the weapons, (which gives them a bit more oomph and power) and the mysterious and ominous plot. I do wish some of the ways to kill enemies were more varied beyond the set of intricate dodges and rolls, but the bosses settle these dissatisfactions. They are brutal and quick, adding a sense of pace to a game that can feel quite tired and bloated throughout.

Presentation/ Visuals & Audio:

Some attacks such as a lightning spell don’t look as exciting as they should

One of my favorite things about Bloodborne was how it managed to set apart it’s art style in an abundance of ways, with each new facet of the game never looking contrived or derivative. Salt and Sanctuary accomplishes this with everything but it’s location design. Every pillar you’ll see or ladder you’ll climb never adjusts you to a new architectural take on it’s Gothic inspired roots, which is a shame. This doesn’t break the game, but it’s the small things like these that can make Salt & Sanctuary seem like it lost some potential on the way from the drawing board to a finished product.

Conclusion:

Salt and Sanctuary is a well-made, but overall inadequate game that attempts to grow off of the success of it’s predecessors. This could have worked out, if it didn’t feel so unnatural and overdone. It may be a good Souls clone, but it does nothing beyond that. With that in mind, it’s a passionate endeavor to pay homage to one of gaming’s greatest modern influences, but soon becomes soulless.

Salt And Sanctuary gets a 6/10 (Limited Appeal)

We’d like to thank Ska Studios for sending us a code!

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