Salt and Sacrifice: The Sealed Promise of a Salt Game
Building on the success of their game”Salt and Sanctuary”, who promised us to live a Dark Souls-like experience in 2D (promise kept), Ska Studio offers a new opus 6 years later with the title “Salt and Sacrifice†
This new promise is twofold through the incorporation of the idea of sacrifice from the game’s title, and is associated with the salt so dear to any player looking for a challenge: this new metroidvania is meant to be tough and the many deaths inevitable. .. but it is by taking the risk of ending up with players who are on the verge of quitting rage or who simply do not want to try the experience offered by this very small independent studio with a recognizable graphic style since then The dishwasher†
Inquisition and witch hunt
The story plunges us into a kingdom that was once peaceful, but was overpowered by Mages – ruthless embodiments of elemental chaos – who ravaged medieval-looking villages, castles and estates.
We find ourselves in the shoes of an inquisitor, marked with a curse, sentenced to begin the hunt for Mages, beyond death.
Despite your “obligations” as Inquisitor, the game opens a door for reflection on your actions and those of the Mages by allowing you to make certain choices of actions, such as dialogues… many secrets and dark parts of the scenario are therefore uncovered , but cannot be explored linearly.
Dark Souls-like Dark Souls
I can’t deny that I went through several negative phases for much of the adventure… First of all, we are indeed dealing with a 2D clone of Dark Souls, just like the first episode “Salt and Shrine”. But everything is too modeled in my opinion: the interface, the sound effects, the doors of fog, the vials to restore lives with obelisks to fill them (and make enemies respawn), messages from other players, …
And if you thought you were lost or unwelcome in FromSoftware’s games, wait to see your first game of Salt and Sacrifice† Relief!
Not only are you completely parachuted with no preamble and then manipulated by a first boss, but you soon find yourself at the heart of the action with the bare minimum of explanation…
As in dark soulsyou’ll need to find and “liberate” NPCs in order to find them in the game’s “central hub”. You will then have access to important help: new objects, new equipment, information about the game universe, etc.
From deaths to disappointments?
As mentioned above, the start of your adventure will be rough… very rough… From my point of view, Salt and Sacrifice wants to be “hard to” dark souls” but fails where exactly lies the power of the games of the license from which it is inspired…
In dark soulsdeaths are punishment and sometimes unfair, but the level design and game mechanics are so good that you can progress naturally and achieve a very fair and rewarding “frustration/reward” ratio.
In Salt and Sacrifice…you don’t have that. You get blow after blow. From the tiniest enemy to the trap hidden in the landscape and to the various mages you encounter.
It’s not the number of deaths that makes you let go of the controller, but rather a feeling of powerlessness in the face of certain situations (a monster you encounter too early, an inevitable trap when you first encounter it…) . An ingenious level design that makes him a good metroidvania, but also extremely sadistic.
In the more positive aspects, the game has been fully translated into French. It may seem anecdotal to you, but it is one of the points that makes the experience in Salt and Sanctuarythe first episode, where the French translation was totally flawed… This time the translation is of excellent quality.
For lovers of multiplayer modes, you will be delighted. With, still in the line of the series of souls, a possibility of player cooperation and a PvP (i.e. fighting other players by invading their game or by being invaded). These online features are just a big plus, completely optional if you’re only interested in the single player experience.
But the big strong point of the game, the one that keeps us playing and having fun: the gameplay.
The moves, the different actions that can be performed (grab, wall jump, roll, climb on platforms or descend from them, etc.) and even the attacks are really very pleasant, controller in hand. An excellent feeling that makes you forget almost all the little mistakes of the game and moments of frustration.
Just because of this fluidity that makes exploring and the “platform” part of the game very enjoyable, we enjoy playing for hours and can explore all the possibilities without ever getting tired (e.g. testing new classes). All this while unlocking shortcuts in all directions every time, like any self-respecting modern metroidvania.
I also really appreciated the “finishes” in certain situations that allow you to safely deal heavy damage or finish the enemy. It also adds to the very good feel of the game.