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Salt and Sanctuary

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8.4

Great

Game Reviews from around the web

100

This tribute to Souls series is built on the proven mechanics, but it extends them beyond the “original” universe. Thanks to jumping segments, it offers a tougher challenge, yet it is fair and fun as hell. [Issue#263]

LEVEL (Czech Republic)

94

Salt and Sanctuary is a souls-like metroidvania. And a very good one at that. Excellent character development and clever combat system. [May 2016]

Pelit (Finland)

90

To immerse yourself in the inky swirl of its spectacle is to realise that’s it’s not just a Dark Souls III side dish. It’s a main course all on its own. [June 2016, p74]

Playstation Official Magazine Australia

90

It’s Dark Souls in 2D, but with an enveloping life force all of its own. [May 2016, p.75]

Games Master UK

90

More than merely a 20 copy of Dark Souls, Salt And Sanctuary has some of the most multidimensional, exquisite gaming torture you’ll ever endure. A must-buy. [May 2016, p.88]

Playstation Official Magazine UK

90

Salt and Sanctuary clearly gets it’s inspiration and ideas from previous Souls games so there is a lack of innovation here, but developer Ska Studios does a masterful job of adapting the already proven formula of Souls into a exceptional 2D adventure.

90

Salt and Sanctuary’s inspiration from the Dark Souls series is more than prevalent in a game that could very well be described as an unofficial spin-off. SKA Studios took the best qualities of From Software masterpiece and transferred it almost perfectly in 2D, an arguably no small feat.

90

Salt & Sanctuary is a brilliant piece of work that apes the Dark Souls franchise in all the right ways while still cutting its own path.

90

Excellent adventure with a fast-paced fighting system and sophisticated RPG elements could be compared to the “Souls-series” games thanks to its difficulty setting and some mechanics. However, it is so imaginative and visually successful, that it’s definitely not a rip-off. On the contrary it has the potential to create its own group of fans who will be discovering the secrets of the game for several more months.

90

The biggest developers out there would be hesitant to try and take on such a task as emulating one of the most distinctive approaches to game design, and to do something different with it, to boot. That Salt & Sanctuary mostly succeeds at that goal is just so incredibly impressive.

90

Dark Souls in 2D? Yes, please!

90

Ultimately, Salt and Sanctuary goes beyond simply aping the trademark difficulty of the Souls games. It has a lot to offer those looking to pass the time until the next Dark Souls release, as well as those willing to dive even deeper down the rabbit-hole.

90

It’s a ton of fun, a great challenge, and a wonderful new take on the Souls formula, with plenty of its own tricks to make it original and fun on its own merits. The couch co-op seals the deal, though online multiplayer would also be nice. Making matters even better, the game only costs $17.99. You can’t go wrong.

90

Quotation forthcoming.

90

Ska Studios have done a fabulous job with Salt and Sanctuary, as the transition to 2D has created a more accessible game while also retaining all of the depth.

90

I wasn’t bothered or distracted by Salt and Sanctuary’s uncanny resemblance to the Souls games during my playthrough, because I was too busy gleefully exploring, or locking my controller in a vise grip while trying not to die. There’s nothing crass about how those elements have been adapted, because they have also been celebrated, resulting in a stellar adventure with enough moments of surprise and excitement to rival even its own source material.

90

Salt and Sanctuary is the perfect companion for the Souls series, adapting the core of that games into a 2D action-platformer that is also challenging and rewarding. It’s long, clever and maybe the best metroidvania-style game since Guacamelee. A must have.

90

Ska Studios’ Salt and Sanctuary is obvious about trying to emulate Dark Souls, but offers enough deep gameplay and beautiful aesthetic to stand tall on its own.

90

A bi-dimensional Souls-like, bestowed with an original and compelling combat system. Waiting for the next Souls, this might be the perfect choice.

90

Ska Studios deserves not to be overshadowed by From Software’s legacy, instead the team should be praised for delivering a stunning game in its own right.

90

A fantastic, original take on the Souls-formula that maintains the addictive risk/reward loop we’ve come to expect from the genre.

90

Salt and Sanctuary is a quality platformer with well-implemented Metroidvania elements. It’s brutal at times, but deeply satisfying to play. Is it thematically derivative of the Souls games? Yes, but not disgustingly so. Just get out there and give a few demons what for.

88

Salt and Sanctuary is a delightful, long-lasting and addictive mix between a soulslike and a metroidvania. A very appreciated starter, for all those who are waiting for the main course (Dark Souls III).

88

This feels like From Software developed a Castlevania of the Amiga era. At every corner you will encounter a Dark Souls déjà-vu. But this is much more than just a carbon copy in 2D, since Ska Studios added a lot to the proven recipe.

85

Salt and Sanctuary has become an instant classic. Any Souls’ fan will enjoy it as any of those games and its progressive difficulty is, as usual, really rewarding.

85

Although it might look like just another Souls clone set in a 2D environment, Salt and Sanctuary manages to almost effortlessly transition the familiar gameplay into a different dimension. The gameplay is deep, offering multitude of combat options and as rewarding as it was in Dark Souls.

85

Despite being a 2D rip-off of Dark Souls, Salt and Sanctuary is an excellent game that brings From’s famous gameplay to a side-scrolling plane.

85

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but Salt and Sanctuary is truly inspired.

85

Ska Studios continually impresses with the ambition of its games, which are always defined by an impeccable attention to detail and tight moment-to-moment mechanics. That reputation for clean design continues unabated with Salt and Sanctuary. This nightmarish island is well worth a visit, even if you’ve never confronted the challenging games that engendered the adventure.

85

Ska Studios clearly loves Dark Souls and Salt and Sanctuary is a very effective love letter that can appeal both to long-term fans of that series and to players who simply want to feel challenge in a world that’s filled with mystery and clever opponents.

85

It doesn’t hide all the ideas borrowed from the Souls series, and that’s fine. S&S is a great game; a great experience we wish lasted longer.

85

It’s difficult to be disappointed by a great studio taking solid mechanics and narrative beats from one of the best studios around, especially when the result is something as well-crafted as Salt and Sanctuary. While I do wish Ska Studio’s latest had more of its own identity, I can’t deny that I enjoyed every minute of it.

83

Everyone waiting for Dark Souls III should give a chance to this small and yet extremely compelling Souls-like.

82

Long, deep, addictive, challenging and beautiful. All adjectives we could find for Salt and Sanctuary are virtues.

80

A robust and rewarding Souls-like. We’d rather it deviated from its source material a little more but there’s no denying what’s in front of you is worth the price of admission. [Issue#269, p.84]

Play UK

80

Despite Salt and Sanctuary‘s issues, it remains an enjoyable and rather addictive adventure overall.

80

Salt and Sanctuary is wholly engrossing from every angle, from its happy marriage of combat and exploration to its ominously gripping art direction.

80

The gameplay is solid, but requires that you can forgive an unfair death every now and then. The game doesn’t hold your hand either in terms of gameplay, story or general mechanics, instead rewarding courage and tenacity with a great gaming experience.

80

Salt and Sanctuary is a great game- built on a solid combat engine and a world that begs to be explored. If it weren’t for the numerous bugs and the pedestrian difficulty, it could have been something truly exceptional.

80

For all the similarities we’ve drawn between the two, the 2D style of combat is enough of a differentiating factor to give this game legs. With these it manages to sprint well ahead, feeling more like a full-bodied homage as opposed to a cheap knock-off.

80

Salt and Sanctuary can be called a ‘Dark Souls 2D’ and certainly is more worthy of this name than the official Slashy Souls on mobile. Frustration, perseverance, joy, satisfaction – all present. Shortcomings are not serious enough to overshadow this specific kind of enjoyment, characteristic for Souls series.

80

Salt and Sanctuary doesn’t want to innovate and doesn’t deny its inspirations. But once you accept this fact, you’ll find a more than solid game, full of challenges and death. It’s basically Dark Souls in 2D.

80

It’s easy to describe Salt and Sanctuary as a Dark Souls in 2D. Ska Studio have taken the best parts from the Souls series and added a bit of Metroidvania. And, yes – it works fantastically well. It’s challenging, rewarding and easy to get addicted to. As a warm-up before the Dark Souls 3 launch, its a must-buy.

80

Salt and Sanctuary is fairly shameless in the way it replicates elements from games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but that’s not really a bad thing when you see how it all comes together as a polished and thoroughly enjoyable final product.

80

This is a brutal hybrid of Metroidvania and action RPG that will beat players down and have them coming back for more. Though it doesn’t stray far from its inspiration, Salt and Sanctuary is a finely-crafted tribute to From Software’s work and is absolutely dripping with the signature cartoon aesthetic and punk rock style fans of Ska Studios have come to know and love.

80

Do not underestimate Salt and Sanctuary: it’ll chew you up and spit you back out, drawing from From Software’s modern action RPG blueprints and translating the hard-as-nails gameplay to two dimensions. It demands your attention, never holds your hand, and rewards your patience and skill. Some players will find the lack of information too obtuse and difficulty too harsh, and a few cheap enemies and well-hidden traps will certainly frustrate. For those willing to go the distance, however, this is an intricate and fulfilling game just waiting to be conquered. As far as Souls wannabes go, this is one that’s certainly worth its salt.

80

If you want a 2D Dark Souls it’s hard to imagine From Software doing much better than this, even if it has too few original ideas of its own.

80

At the end of the day Salt and Sanctuary is a successful take on From Software’s Souls series, something I can’t get enough of, and it’s nice to see a different developer’s take on this style of game.

79

What begins as a weighty trudge through the festering underbelly of dark forests and abandoned keeps slowly evolves, growing lighter and more nuanced and intuitive.

75

A 2D action adventure inspired by Dark Souls. While the structure underlying Salt and Sanctuary isn’t quite original, it serves to prove that this is a winning formula for combining mechanical and aesthetic design – feeding into one another and making each stronger.

74

Alas, developers were way too eager to copy FromSoftware’s ideas, so Salt and Sanctuary never became anything more than “2D Dark Souls”. Nice concept, but a forgettable experience. [Issue#208, p.73]

Game World Navigator Magazine

73

Salt and Sanctuary is a good 2D conversion of the Souls formula, but its experimental nature invites more than a few flaws. If you don’t mind difficult-to-see graphics and sometimes cheap combat, then you’ll happily come back for more.

70

Albeit some polishing issues and some questionable design choices, Salt and Sanctuary is a nice, bidimensional variation of the “souls-like” formula, with influences from Hidetaka Miyazaki and from the metroidvania genre. If you like a challenging, punishing yet rewarding experience, you should definitely give it a try.

60

A tribute to Dark Souls done with a deep understanding of the original game, but ugly and derivative as hell. [06/2016, p.61]

CD-Action

60

Salt & Sanctuary can be brilliant, but it’s held back by undersized visual design, both in UI and open play, making playing it from distance a pain. [June 2016, p.122]

Edge Magazine

Summary

If you want a 2D Dark Souls it’s hard to imagine From Software doing much better than this, even if it has too few original ideas of its own.
8.4

Great

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