Salt and Sactuary: Dark Souls Meets The Dishawasher - Consoleinfo.be

Salt and Sactuary: Dark Souls Meets The Dishawasher

 
Ska Studios sprinkles RPG elements into its stylish action adventure.

Before I get behind Secil, a scowling sword-and shield-wielding chap from Salt and Sanctuary's warrior class, Ska Studios’ Michelle Juett describes the stylized side-scrolling action-RPG as “snappy, fast-paced, and action-y.” Similar to the two-person, husband-and-wife indie team’s The Dishwasher series, but with “a whole lot more role-playing game elements.”

As it turns out, those defining RPG-flavored features are called out right in the game’s title. As a shipwreck survivor, players -- who can also select characters from mage, thief, and paladin disciplines -- are dropped in a dark, monster-infested fairy tale brought to life by beautiful hand-drawn visuals. Pushing the story forward, progressing your character, and surviving your harsh surroundings requires gathering salt, ”the essence of the world,” and then finding sanctuary.

By collecting salt and bringing it to sanctuary, players create black pearls which can be spent on active and passive skills on their sprawling progression tree. Completing this satisfying leveling loop is easier said than done. Enemies such as the skeletal warriors and zombie-like creeps drop salt when slain. The catch, however, is that I’m stripped of the precious resource every time I die in battle. Crafting each skill point-granting pearl requires at least 500 salt. Deciding whether to cash in quick for less salt, or to continue risking your life for bigger rewards yields a dynamic that’s as addictive as it is strategic.



By collecting salt and bringing it to sanctuary, players create black pearls which can be spent on active and passive skills on their sprawling progression tree. Completing this satisfying leveling loop is easier said than done. Enemies such as the skeletal warriors and zombie-like creeps drop salt when slain. The catch, however, is that I’m stripped of the precious resource every time I die in battle. Crafting each skill point-granting pearl requires at least 500 salt. Deciding whether to cash in quick for less salt, or to continue risking your life for bigger rewards yields a dynamic that’s as addictive as it is strategic.

Juett cites classic 2D Castlevania as a strong inspiration for Salt and Sanctuary, and told IGN Salt and Sanctuary is adopting a Dark Souls-like level of difficulty. From brutal light and heavy attacks, combos, and juggles, lesser foes fall with relative ease. Bigger bads, however, like the giant poison-spewing bat that keeps stealing my life and salt pose a much steeper challenge. Salt can be recovered by returning for a rematch once you respawn, but the battle will be all the more challenging because the enemy now benefits from the strength of your stolen sodium. Dying from a lengthy fall, while far less glorious, is the way to go, as it results in your salt being left in a pile on your sprawled corpse.

Salt and Sanctuary’s titular safe havens also borrow heavily from Dark Souls’ bonfires. In addition to providing temporary refuge, returning to these secure spots resets the world and regenerates its enemies. Claiming and populating sanctuaries is also paramount to your weary survivor’s success. Collectible character icons representing NPCs -- merchants, navigators, blacksmiths, and mages -- can be used to summon supporters, resource suppliers, and other helpful folk into your sanctuary. Having a personal navigator, for example, allows you to quick-travel between secure spots.

A number of other genre elements, such as currency to spend, consumables to collect, and stamina to manage further infuse the studio’s signature stylized action formula with lots of RPG depth and appeal. Juett also promises more classes to choose from, as well as plenty of character-shaping freedom within the extensive skill tree.

While that damn salt-stealing bat keeps me from experiencing everything Salt and Sanctuary has to offer, its painterly presentation, twitchy combat, and role-playing elements already have me looking forward to the next time I wash up on its mysterious shores.
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