Top Critic Average
Not only is Salt and Sanctuary a fantastic distillation of the Dark Souls formula to 2D, it is also one of the best Metroidvania games I've ever played. Either one of those would make the game an easy recommendation but both turns it into a must play.
Salt and Sanctuary is an amazing game that is well paced and has layers of gameplay that slowly unfold the more you play. This game is recommended even if you are shy of the difficulty of the Souls series and is throughly rewarding.
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.
With over 20 hours spent in game and the prospect of taking on New Game+ in the future, I think Salt and Sanctuary is one of the greater indie titles available on the PS4. An amazing achievement for a development team of just 2 people.
The folks at Ska Studios have crafted something stellar here, though. Despite how much the Souls series has inspired this title, it still stands on its own two feet without feeling derivative.
There's a lot in Salt and Sanctuary to love, and I would argue that applies to non-Souls fans also. While it's certainly challenging, the 2D nature makes that challenge quite a lot different from Dark Souls. It can be extremely difficult at times, but fans of platformers may find something here they didn't in the Souls games.
An intimate, exciting and discovery-fueled experience, rich in content and secrets, will have players exploring and lorecrafting for months to come. The pricepoint sweetens the deal for any souls, rpg or castlevania fan looking for a new and satisfying experience.
This little platformer wears its influences loudly and proudly. Salt and Sanctuary is a tribute act of the finest kind, distilling the essential Dark Souls experience in 2D.
In conclusion, does Salt and Sanctuary borrow a lot from the From Software games? Yes it does but it doesn't try to hide that fact and Ska Studios has put their own stamp on these kind of games in my opinion. Salt and Sanctuary nails the atmosphere and the combat and I highly recommend it if you enjoy 2D RPG's or if you are a fan of any of the From Software games. The game doesn't hold your hand and will deliver that same brutally hard experience that you loved about those other games. I can already say that Salt and Sanctuary is going to be in the running for my personal pick for game of the year in 2016.
In size and scale, Salt and Sanctuary has a lot to offer for a 2D platformer -- but it is the attention to the small things that really gives the game its awesome stature. An amazing feat of imagination.
Salt and Sanctuary is the result of a perfect combination of the metroidvania and "souls" elements in order to create a unique, hard and satisfying 2D adventure that knows how to reward players' skill. The Nintendo Switch version is indeed a great one.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
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).
Review in Italian | Read full review
You could call Salt and Sanctuary a 2D mashup of Dark Souls and Castlevania, and you'd be right. But such a simple pronouncement would be a disservice to the tremendous amount of thought that's gone into Salt and Sanctuary, whether it's in the graphic style that evokes horror through the style of comic strips or in the intricate web of dungeons and castles serves as it map.
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. I already spent about 25 hours with it, and I'm salivating, eager to go through New Game +. Now be proud that I didn't make a "salty" joke like every other outlet will in their review.
Salt and Sanctuary is a great action RPG that will definitely satisfy hardcore gamers. It's very similar to the Souls series and combined with favorable price tag, it's a must have video game.
Review in Czech | Read full review
Salt and Sanctuary isn't the most original game in the world, but Ska Studio's take on a 2D Souls game has enough going for it to stand on its own two legs. It's held back somewhat by occasionally cheap difficulty spikes, but that shouldn't deter you from picking the game up if you're looking for a game that will kick your ass.
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.
Salt and Sanctuary wears its obvious inspiration on its sleeve. It takes the magic ingredients from the Souls franchise and makes something of its own on a 2D plane. All of its individual aspects gel well to create an ultra-hard side-scrolling adventure through the dark and dreary. The Switch port is well done and makes it the perfect way to die horribly wherever it is convenient.
Salt and Sanctuary is purely a Dark Souls clone for the 2D style of gaming. It's not a carbon copy, but it offers rewarding combat and exploration. With an open-ended world and varied enemies & bosses, a decent character progression system, secrets to find, numerous weapon types and a grim atmosphere, it's easy to be sucked in and master being a better fight than you were since your last death. This isn't a game about impossibility, but rather adapting and honing your skills. For that alone, Salt and Sanctuary is one of the best 2D action-RPG's available.
This game went a lot quicker than I would have expected and did feel easier than the Souls and Bloodborne games. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. For people who are maybe less interested or more wary of the Souls series, this game might be an option to try out. For those who love those series already this game is a fun time spent that could be less grueling than running through the Souls game for another New Game+.
Ska Studios smartly transformed the core concepts of a Souls game and turned it into a side-scrolling action game with an ample amount of Metroidvania influence. The result is tough as nails, but doable with perseverance and gumption. Salt and Sanctuary is not for the faint of heart, but it's a journey worth suffering through for those who think they are worthy.
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.
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.
If you're going to pilfer game concepts and ideas, the Souls series is up there as one of the best franchises to take from. 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. Sure, it would have been nice to see Ska Studios put a bit more of their own flavor and identity into the project, but let's be honest — effectively bringing the gorgeous aesthetic and brutal challenge of From Software's work together with classic 2D side-scrolling is quite an accomplishment of its own, and players will relish the way that marriage instills a sense of retro nostalgia like never before.
Salt and Sanctuary is about as far from original as you could possibly imagine. It apes the Souls series almost beat-for-beat, from its core design down to very minor things like the health and stamina bars in the HUD.
If Dark Souls and Castlevania had a 2D child, it would probably be called Salt and Sanctuary. It may not be the most innovative game out there, but Ska Studios has managed to merge elements from both series to give birth to a truly great experience that we won't put down easily.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
It is not easy to mix and mash different genres and end up with a solid result. Salt and Sanctuary looks like a weird fusion of different games from the outside, but it actually manages to work perfectly fine and ends up creating its own sub-genre. It has a beautiful dose of side-scrolling combat mixed with metroidvania exploration and a robust character class system on top of it, offering an endless amount of fun.
Salt and Sanctuary for the Switch is a great port. Everything is smooth and it works just as I had expected it to be. There are no slowdowns, the graphics look just as good, the audio is just as chilling as ever, and the adventure is still an awesome one to be had. If you haven't already had the chance to dive into this comber, and woeful tale, you should. It's worth it.
Salt and Sanctuary is dark. It's just how it is. And being honest, it's all the better for it. On the Switch's small screen though, the darkness of most of the environments coupled with the zoomed out camera makes it hard to see certain enemies and their attacks.
When the game first released, it came out around the time of Dark Souls 3 so it shared some of that same space with a game that already has an established base. With the Switch port of Salt and Sanctuary, I feel like this is as good a time as any to pick this one up and give it a shot. If you enjoy these styles of games you can’t do much better in 2D than Salt and Sanctuary.
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.
Salt and Sanctuary is a solid homage to its blatant source of inspiration. It doesn't supplant its predecessors, but it does an admirable job nonetheless, and offers players a moody, intricate, and fundamentally enjoyable dark fantasy experience. [OpenCritic note: Matt Sainsbury separately reviewed the PS4 (4.5 stars) and Switch (3.5 stars) versions. The scores have been averaged.]
As derivative as it may sound, Salt and Sanctuary is an enjoyable romp on the Nintendo Switch thanks to its entertaining combat. It's good enough to warrant checking it out despite some concerns. With Dark Souls for the Nintendo Switch missing in action, Salt and Sanctuary is an enjoyable way to get your Souls fix.
While Salt and Sanctuary is truly its own game, with themes and elements appealing to fans of the genre, there were moments when it was too similar to its predecessors, and some unnecessary mechanics were added in an attempt to separate itself from the pack. Sometimes, paying homage to something can get caught up in the fine line of copying. However, it is a title that fits well with a "pick up/put down" pace and gives players a lot of choice in how they wish to play. Salt and Sanctuary provides ample replay value in a fun title that is fast-paced and challenging enough for anyone seeking a "Souls-like" game.
Salt and Sanctuary not only manages to encapsulate the games in which it took liberal inspiration from, but then confidently build upon them, ensuring a complete, unique package that demands your attention at all times.
Recommending Salt and Sanctuary comes with a hefty amount of baggage. It is not just an action-combat RPG, it takes some of the best parts of a number of different series and combines them to create what could be called a 2D Dark Souls equivalent. However, that is a discredit to all of the smart design and punishing challenge the the developers have implemented in order to make that oppressive feeling work without an additional dimension. A patient video game enthusiast with some experience with this kind of game may get the most mileage out of it, but even newcomers will appreciate the crash course of mechanics and difficulty that Salt and Sanctuary features, especially with the fabled Dark Souls remaster eventually coming to Switch. If you’re looking to get your teeth kicked in by a well-made title, this is definitely the one for you, otherwise you might end up grappling with your Switch a bit too much.
Instead of surviving Salt and Sanctuary's horrors by obsessively dissecting them, liberation comes as a result of being able to execute ever more deft acrobatics with a few simple twitches. In this way, the game helps us learn to shed the burden of realism by flattening it, reducing its physical and emotional details into obstacles that can be overcome with the flick of a button.
Salt and Sanctuary is the most similar game in the market to a 2D Dark Souls. It's a very enjoyable metroidvania, with a journey with a lot of platforms in which we can found a demanding combat, but not unfair. Probably you die a lot of times, but, if you can win, the victory taste could be really nice.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Salt and Sanctuary takes the Souls-like formula to 2D and almost perfectly executes upon it. While it may not win points for originality, Ska Studios has done a fantastic job of transitioning the Souls style of combat into 2D while simultaneously mixing in elements of platforming and level design found in Metroidvania games. If you still haven't given one of these kinds of games a shot yet, Salt and Sanctuary is a great starting point for novices of the genre.
Salt & Sanctuary comes to the PlayStation Vita. Maybe not quite intact in comparison to the PlayStation 4 version, but it still manages to be fun for those looking for an experience that was still unseen for the portable.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
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.
Salt and Sanctuary is an excellent love-letter to the Dark Souls franchise while still managing to provide a distinctly unique experience. As far as game design goes, this is a splendidly polished example of the Soulsborne mechanics appropriated correctly, and I eagerly anticipate playing all the way through NG+7 and beyond, just not on the Switch. Unfortunately, the dark screen and glaring performance issues in this port detract from the overall experience, docking points. On steam, however, I'd likely give this an 8 or a 9.
Salt and Sanctuary may be inspired by the Dark Souls series, but that doesn't necessarily mean every Dark Souls fan is going to love this game. The big problem with creating an entire game inspired by a well-loved franchise is that people's expectations are going to be sky high. As someone that loves Dark Souls, I can say I enjoyed aspects of Salt and Sanctuary, but comparing the two games side by side seems incredibly unfair. Similarly to the Souls games, Salt and Sanctuary requires time and patience for players to reap its true rewards. While that may be attractive to some, it doesn't quite have the same level of depth and finesse that would warrant it as a worthy substitute for one of the greatest RPGs ever created.
All told, Salt and Sanctuary is just about what you'd expect it to be: it's more or less a 2D Dark Souls, but with a little more emphasis on less. Salt and Sanctuary does an admirable job of hitting all the right beats that it needs to provide a challenging and fun action adventure that will no doubt provide a solid bang for your buck, but it doesn't do a whole lot to stand on its own two legs; this is a game that can only thrive on the scraps generated by the overwhelming popularity of a much better game series. We'd give this one a recommendation to any Dark Souls fans - this is a decent way of capturing that game's spirit - but those who've never been interested won't find much new here to entice them.