Salt And Sacrifice review: 2D metroidvania with surprising depth

Salt And Sacrifice is a 2D metroidvania lov-a-thon that portrays you as a doomed prisoner in an endangered kingdom. Magic corrupts the earth, giving birth to monstrous creatures and predatory undead, and the source of all this destruction, the Magi, must be hunted down and their hearts devoured if the Kingdom is to survive. Like the previous Ska Studios trip, the game features tough combat, extensive equipment options and huge killing bosses. But while the range has increased, and the combat and visuals are as smooth as ever, there are some growing torments that only manage to keep the game from its full potential.

After starting the game, it is immediately clear that a visual treat awaits you. The design and details are always so lovely: from the way the light of the fire gives a faint glow to its surroundings at dusk, to the way the fog lazily spreads the cobbled stairs in the moldy dungeon, it’s all so utterly wonderful to look at. Ska Studios has always had a distinctive artistic style – imposing architecture and grunge moppets – but here it is clear that they have improved their game in the best possible way. According to the Developers, every material is created from scratch, and that concern is seen in every frame.

Once you’ve chosen your character class (and when your body overpowers your boss monster in a true soul-like way) wake up in Pardoner’s Vale. This is a base camp where you can raise the level, build or improve equipment, buy or sell items, pet your lovely cat, exhibit trophies obtained from hunting and talk to the various NPCs you meet around the world. Here you will also find Mirrorgate, a portal that allows you to travel to different regions while unlocking them. You will have to go through these regions and collect clues to start the hunt for mages, which are fights with bosses that serve as the main activity in the game.

In Salt And Sacrifice you can pet deer.

As in Salt And Sanctuary, you will continue to line up light attacks, heavy attacks, dodges, parries and blocks, but attacks and moves this time are much faster and faster. The weapons you will use now are more similar to the hunting equipment from Monster Hunter, since each type of weapon has its own set of movements, and paired weapons like swords and shields are inseparable. This may initially give the impression that there is less diversity in the way a player can arm himself, but in practice it allows each weapon to have a unique identity as opposed to feeling superfluous. The fire pole and the lightning rod have the same basic pattern of attack, but have completely different runic arts (special abilities unique to certain weapons) that fulfill different combat roles.

However, there are some problems with the fight in which I wondered why certain mechanics worked the way they worked. Endurance regeneration is stopped when damage is done incredibly it is easy to be stunned to death in case he runs out in battle. Similarly, if he accidentally throws you into the sky (and the magicians will absolutely do so in their claustrophobic arenas for the final fight), there are no i-frames that prevent you from literally juggling to death. I had a few deaths where I got hit while I was completely healthy, and yet I ended up dying because I never had a chance to get up and defend myself. This problem gets worse exponentially when you consider that some magicians routinely wander into areas that are already full of other enemies, usually while you are trying to fight these enemies.

The enemies you will fight are diverse, ranging from your standard mushrooms and skellingtons all the way to evil popes and guys with human bodies, but, like, the head of a housefly. Again, the artistic direction here really shines and I can’t overestimate how interesting and creative the hostile designs are. It seemed as if the dev team knew they were going to get him out of the park, as he thought it appropriate to include a lovely bestiary in the break menu, cataloging each skellington scuppered and gobbo ganked. Each region has unique enemies that match the regional theme, and even the weakest enemies can bring you down if you are not careful. When they weren’t chasing me like a rag doll, I had a lot of fun stabbing them, cutting them, and magic them to death.

Once you find a clue and start hunting for mages, a subtle trail of particles will take you to your quarry (the particles themselves change to reflect the element of the mage you are following; a neat and impressive touch). You have to fight the magicians several times on the level before you can kill them in the right way, and during this phase of wandering they will spawn themed mafias before they escape to the new arena. Each region not only has a number of Named Mages, who must be defeated to break the magic seals that prevent access to certain locations in the region, but also wandering Nameless Mages who occasionally run to shake things up. Nameless mages are mostly useful for growing parts and experience, with some dropping of unique equipment.

Speaking of parts, the build system at Salt And Sacrifice, as well as the style of the weapon, will be very familiar to all Monster Hunter fans. Magicians and their mobsters drop parts that can be used to make themed equipment, giving elemental damage, resistance, and runic art that mimics those magicians they are made of. It may be a little painstaking to try to find a certain type of magician to get the parts you need, but you will only get enough material by playing a game that, if you are specifically attached to a weapon or piece of armor, you can continuously upgrade to keep up. , more difficult levels.

The areas are quite large, broken up into underground areas and dungeons and the like. As in any metrovanie valuable salt [pause for pity laughs] you will catch short areas out of reach that you can return to after you get the necessary items to cross. You will also unlock shortcuts, set up a platform and run into so many traps. Traps in particular are some of the meanest I’ve encountered so far in the game, and many of them are almost invisible if you don’t know how to expect them. I guess they wouldn’t be very good traps if they were marked with bright neon, but I rarely felt like I stepped on a hidden one out of negligence as opposed to cunning with darkness, color palettes or foreground objects that obscure my view of them.

Still, despite all its unusual features, Ska Studios has a solid entrance here. I don’t think there were many problems I encountered that couldn’t be solved, and I had a lot of fun in the game despite some interference. If Salt And Sanctuary was Ska Studios shyly mimicking a more successful formula, then Salt And Sacrifice is the one who confidently finds his step. For a heartbreaking game, obviously a lot of heart has been invested in it, and Monster Hunter fans in particular shouldn’t miss this one. Just don’t expect perfection.

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