Zack Webster had the chance to check out Ska Studios' Salt and Sanctuary. Not much information has been shared about this particular title, but Zack shares his first-impressions of this indie platformer RPG.
I'm quite a big fan of Dark Souls and a single look at Kickstarter will tell you that I'm not the only one. But for all the ones citing it as an influence, none seem to do better than at emulating its style than Salt and Sanctuary, though in this case a 2D version. With my time with the demo, I took away two things: It's a dark, atmospheric, title that is the most accurate interpretation of the Souls formula, and it is quite difficult.
Combat consists of two buttons, a quick slash attack and a slow, heavy attack, and each can be held for a slightly more powerful version of said attack. Items are all listed in a row and can be cycled through and used with the Circle button. Players can jump and pull themselves up onto ledges, as well as opening up new attacks in the air. One thing that is different in this two-dimension take is the combat is quite a bit quicker. Players can block and roll to dodge, and the stamina bar that dictates all of it also arrives intact.
The demo for Salt and Sanctuary was a rather short one, but definitely gave a firm idea of how the game played out. Many of the game's RPG elements seemed to have been stripped out for the show, but will probably play a larger role in the full game. In the demo I was trying to reach the top of a decrepit tower, with several branching paths along the way up. At the top of the tower was the Sodden Knight, a miniboss that was far bigger than any other enemy thus far. I may have been a bit disingenuous earlier when I said that the demo was difficult, it was more that the Sodden Knight was difficult. The enemy displayed a surprising amount speed in his attacks and resilience to my own. Whether it was my unfamiliarity with the control scheme or just general inability to figure our the bosses' patterns, but he defeated me missing only half a health bar. However, it was the kind of fight that made me want to play more.
On the whole, Salt and Sanctuary was a fun action RPG that I will definitely be looking forward to seeing more of in the future. It had all the trappings of a Metroidvania title but felt like a deliberately slower one, putting emphasis on every single action taken. The demo was still missing a good deal of content, such as magic, but the lacking content made me more excited for the eventual release, which is set for sometime this year.