Salt and Sanctuary – review

Xbox gamers had to wait several years for Salt and Sanctuary but it has finally arrived on our console. Best described as a 2D Dark Souls game, so you know what to expect, deaths and deaths. The bosses in this game will likely kill more players then the greatest catastrophe ever, the Black Death. I’m an incredibly big fan for the previous Ska Studios games, The Dishwasher and Charlie Murder. Both mandatory games in your Xbox 360 collection! Salt and Sanctuary is honestly yet another masterpiece from this two-person studio, let’s climb over the pile of dead bodies in front us and see what this review has to say.

The good

  • Grid progression: Improving your avatar is done by collecting drops from enemies, dying means you’ll lose everything that you haven’t spend so it is important to be careful when you travel with a lot of upgrading material. You have a chance to recollect something you lost by killing what killed you, but that’s easier said than done sometimes. Upgrading your avatar is done by a grid system, which felt similar like Final Fantasy X’s experience grid. You can decide for yourself what you want to upgrade and what path you’ll take. It’s a neat touch, be sure to be smart about what you pick!
  • Disturbing dark visuals: Visually Salt and Sanctuaries charms players with dark and gore surroundings, boss designs are crafted with care and detail. Ska Studios has a knack for releasing outstanding visual gems, I did mention I was a fan right?
  • Difficult gameplay: Walking the 100 KM DODENTOCHT in Belgium is an easier accomplishment to finish than safely traveling in the world of Salt and Sanctuary, literally everything can kill you and almost all the boss fights will require patience and strategic fighting.
  • Surprisingly much content: At first glance, you would never expect to be spending over 25 hours but Ska Studios put a lot of effort and especially content into Salt and Sanctuary. This isn’t your typical play for four hours and it is a finished game. The world is huge and varied, your self-made avatar will be spending hours and hours into battling enemies, and you know it by now dying too.

Mixed feelings

  • Demoralizing: We’re reading a review here, we aren’t “enjoying” the fine cooking from your parents in law. So no need to lie about things, everyone hates dying and especially dying ten times or more on the same boss. You’ll hate it, despise it but oh boy… it feels great when you *finally* killed the bastard. That’s the thing though, not everyone has that patience to wait for that incredible relieving feeling. Salt and Sanctuary is an awesome game but simply not for everyone.
  • Rare frame rate slowdowns: On a few occasions the game struggles to keep a steady and smooth experience, little weird to see this happening on the Xbox One X, at rare moments you’ll notice a very small screen freeze. Important to say is that I never had this while fighting a boss, I think it has something to do with loading the next part of the beautiful level. Anyway, it happens enough to write about and things like this shouldn’t be happening.

The bad

  • Exploring isn’t easy without a map-functionality: You’ll find a secret or boss fight in nearly every corner and the fast travel functionality or simply seeing how you need to go isn’t always easy. Because enemies respawn it frequently feels like a chore too. Salt and Sanctuary does many things right but it is definitely not user-friendly when it comes to pointing your way towards your next goal.

Salt and Sanctuary | Score: 85%

Dishwasher, Charlie Murder and now Salt and Sanctuary. Ska Studios always manages to release something good, this latest game can be proudly called the 2D action Dark Souls game on Xbox One. Beautiful dark visuals and addictive challenging gameplay, just be sure to know what you start because this isn’t the experience for everyone!

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