Oh this Dark Souls!
The franchise started by From Software is loved for many reasons and one of the most remarkable ones is the fact that the game has an immensely huge difficulty and it knows how to punish even the best of players. Of course, this trademark of the franchise has gone so viral that many characterize other hard games of other genres as “The Dark Souls of said-genre” as well as name it as an inspiration for the creation of many roguelike games.
This was also the inspiration for the creation of many indie (and not) games, including the lately awesome Necropolis. Next up, we want to talk about the creation of Ska Studios though, which is none other than Salt and Sanctuary.
Salt and Sanctuary is the most recent game of Ska Studios and it is a 2D action RPG that follows very much the feel that the Dark Souls series has set. The player starts off on a ship that gets ambushed and ends up on an island that is filled with dangers and traps. The player’s only goal is to explore the island and eliminate all enemies in order to escape the island or become the ruler of it.
From the very first moment that we set foot in the game, the philosophy and motief of the Dark Souls games is already very apparent, since little details, such as the aesthetics and graphics of the characters, remind of the famous franchise. Ska Studios shows that they know how to create something out of inspiration with other examples of their work being The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai and Charlie Murder.
The players inside the game are called to create their own character with the available classes: Knight, Mage, Paladin, Thief, Chef, Cleric, Pauper και Hunter, combined with the choosing of origin (which does not really have any effect) completing the overall background of the character. Even though every class has its own unique parts, those can be upgraded and enriched a lot more with abilities through the leveling system of the game. At this part, I have to say that a lot of Dark Souls references will be made since the game looks more and more like it as we get to explore it. Players can level up their character through the use of salt (aka souls) increasing both the level as well as the health bar of the character. The rest of the attributes we can upgrade through the Tree of Skill, which allows us to increase our powers by spending black pearls that we gain on every level.
Salt is not the only in-game currency we have though since along with that, we also collect gold which we can spend to upgrade our armor and weapons. We collect both salt and gold from enemies or from places where we can randomly find items. Our attention needs to be at its peak at all times though, since at any given time, if we die, we lose both our salt and gold. More specifically, if we die, the salt becomes a creature which if we kill, will drop all of the loot that we lost. Gold however is spent to revive us at the nearest Sanctuary.
Sanctuary are basically the Dark Souls bonfires of Salt & Sanctuary, with the only difference being that even though there are various places on the map that have one, we must put the right sanctuary in the right place in order to make it a protected zone. Other than providing a safe zone, the sanctuary also acts as a place of worship since it is the place where we can make offerings from in order to unlock various shops or upgrade attributes.
As a game, Salt & Sanctuary is basically a more roguelike Dark Souls with a lot of content that encourages the players to explore. Its well configured combat system also makes it fun to play even though it’s nothing to interesting but still manages to maintain the same game style that Ska Games has made before. The more sketchy-looking graphic style of the game is definitely a huge difference from the classic 3D Dark Souls look, and it makes it very interesting since until now, we did not have a good 2D representative game of the Dark Souls series. It might not please players who are fans of the Dark Souls series, but it’s definitely something that provides an extra challenge for people that love these kind of games, due to its abundance of tricky enemies and bosses that are trying to kill the player each with their own unique way.
The general image that we get from the title is very positive and even though it doesn’t have anything too unique when we look at it in depth, it still manages to successfully capture the feeling a hard game should have. Hardcore gamers will definitely love it, that’s for sure. The game comes with a platformer logic that allows it to have a very interesting take on many things that we thought were easy to play with before. I feel as if the game does not make a huge difference for the genre, like Necropolis did for example, but Ska Gaming managed to give a very similar image to the Dark Souls series with its own signature.
Το Salt and Sanctuary είναι διαθέσιμο για Steam και PS4 στην τιμή των 17,99€
Ska Gaming experimented with the style of Dark Souls and the result is very pleasant. Through the 2D platforming logic of Salt & Sanctuary, we get a roguelike feeling that follows the footsteps of From Software, together with the graphics identity of Ska Gaming, which gives the studio’s signature, we get a very good roguelike game that you definitely have to try out.
+ Nice art style
+ Very well made bosses (graphics and gameplay wise)
+ Tree of Skills
+ Big world to explore
– 2D Dark Souls might not be everyone’s cake
– Not something too unique for its genre other than its difficulty level.
-Vasilis “Eniantas” Kamakaris