It was the first time I was really wanted to be a fan of Salt and Sacrifice and for a brief time I did. It’s a successor to my favourite souls-like games, Salt and Sanctuary it was a hit on all the levels I had hoped for it to include: challenging combat, large variety of gross and intimidating enemies, exciting boss battles, as well as an enormous world to explore. However, there’s a huge variation to the Salt and Sacrifice formula for gameplay It adds Monster Hunter-like elements that include repeated battles with bosses and roaming areas bosses and exhausting chases of your enemies through massive areas. It’s a risky idea which does not quite work out.
The first time you play Salt and Sacrifice isn’t like it’s a lot different than the 2016 version. It’s still got that distinctive dark and gloomy Ska Studios flavor, though all the hand-drawn artwork along with the animations were updated to be more appealing; the tutorial is heavily influenced by that of the Dark Souls school of teaching you the minimum of skills, and then breaking your heart with a enemy with a boss that’s technicalpossible to beat, however it’s not actually your job to. Combat also runs at the pace at a rapid pace, despite being tied to a rigorous stamina meter which dissuades pressing buttons.
The features of Salt and Sacrifice takes the best of Salt and Sanctuary are its most appealing features. There’s an abundance of personalization options for playstyles due to the wide range of weapons Combat is intense enjoyable, rewarding, and powerful The zones are enjoyable to explore and offer meaningful rewards that are hidden away in difficult-to-access zones; it’s refreshingly simple to start co-op mode and numerous choices for PVP also.
However, the two games are quite different in a fundamental sense. Instead of having one unified map Salt and Sacrifice is split in five distinct zones all of which is huge and spread out all around and are mostly controlled by doors that are only opened when you consume a certain number of Mage hearts that are named. This is accomplished by launching Mage Hunts that are akin to Monster Hunter boss battles that require you to hunting down a specific Mage across the map and engaging it in a series of smaller battles until it gets into its own boss arena. At that you’re stuck in a typical boss battle.
The whole thing looks good in theory, however in reality the mash-up that combines Monster Hunter, Metroidvania, and SoulslikeSoulslike isn’t a the perfect blend. One reason is that you’re never provided with an actual map. In case you’re wondering the point, these areas are vast and usually have whole sublevels which take place beneath the ground, above the ground as well as in massive castles and even in the sky. The process of tracing a route towards the person you had to fight or the salt that you lost after death or even the locked door is now open is a lot more difficult than it has to be. Yes, Salt and Sanctuary didn’t have maps either (I would also like it to have) however, its absence doesn’t matter much in the game, as the levels are less linear and logical in structure.
The game is a success, and Salt and Sacrifice has merits, a sequel which does not be content with its achievements. It’s a bold project that attempts to bring together the fundamentals and mechanics of the 2D platformer as well as the soulslike game, Soulslike game, and an Monster Hunter game all in one, while also expanding in terms of scale. While there’s some potential in the concept but the execution is a bit sloppy. The absence of a map, or a quick travel system makes moving through the five massive zones an enormous hassle. the process of chasing down Mages during Mage Hunts quickly gets tiresome in the event that the boss battles themselves are decent; however, there’s an element of repetitiveness and grind that makes the game last longer than it should. Its easy and accessible co-op play is its savior because playing with co-op players can help alleviate some of the main aches and improves the experience above what it could be for an individual player.