Salt and Sanctuary, a PS4 and Vita title from the two-person powerhouse Ska Studios, will be hitting 2015 like a storm. From the same indie masterminds that brought us the Dishwasher titles, and one of my personal favorite 360 Arcade titles I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1.
I got to mess around with a PS4 build at the show, as well as talk with the devs James and Michelle, and came away only wanting more. A nice vertical slice with several class options, the controls were easy to pick up, and soon I was carefully making my way through a castle tower of creatures and the undead.
While the controls are easy to understand, the gameplay is a blast to master. A mix of old-school influences like Metroid and Castlevania, and new influence from games like Dark Souls, enemies are quick to punish poorly-timed dodge rolls or a recovery frame too long. The boss of the area was a true test of skill, and after getting beat up on by him, I was quick to say “I got him this time” and speed my way back to his area.
Luckily, recovering your resources (called “salts”) after death isn’t too difficult; you just have to do enough damage to the enemy that killed you before the bar on your screen hits zero. In some cases, this just means making up for a bad mistake made previously. In other cases, you’ll be slamming your head against a boss or difficult enemy repeatedly, until you learn to read tells and fight less carelessly. It’s sometimes brutal, but a fun experience that makes it feel like you’re constantly improving on learned skills.
Set on a strange island where the player character has washed ashore, players will be able to slay enemies, master multiple styles of combat and establish their creed. Creeds are a chosen religion reflected in each taken sanctuary, which serves as both a respawn point and a home base for NPCs and shopkeepers of your creed. Some creeds may benefit magic-based characters, while others might be better off pursuing a sect more suited to other styles of combat.
Salt and Sanctuary is set to arrive in 2015 for both PS4 and Vita.