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Good game marred by a few serious design flaws

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    Schwepps01
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    Salt and Sanctuary

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Good game marred by a few serious design flaws

    Salt & Sanctuary has its heart in the right place. It tries to be a 2D Dark Souls, but sadly does not attempt to work out the flaws that come with translating the genre to 2D. Let’s start with the good. The game has a nice variety of weapons that you can use, in addition to magic spells. Combat is slow and everything you do has a certain weight to it. The environments are as varied as the enemies, and they’re all difficult and need to be approached with a plan.

    Now for the bad: while there isn’t much, what is here unfortunately completely mars the game’s playability. The fact that this game is very nonlinear does not suit the game’s playstyle at all. Indeed, you will often be backtracking throughout the environments, but sadly with the game’s slow pace in defeating enemies and just walking in general means this is a slow, drawn out practice. The whole fun of exploring a game like Metroid or Castlevania is the ability to run around quickly and kill enemies easily. Salt and Sanctuary begs to differ, and you’ll often be killing the same enemies which gets very tiring, very fast, but the dreary pace never picks up. This game begs to be a linear 2D side-scroller.

    The other serious flaw is this game doesn’t come with a map system. At all. Nothing. Are you kidding me? How am I supposed to navigate my way through the game? It’s huge. It’s true that Dark Souls doesn’t have a map, but it doesn’t really need one: it’s quasi-linear enough and getting your bearings in 3D is a lot easier than in 2D. In a game like this where every platform looks the same as the last and each level is maze-like, a map system is almost required. Oh, I hear you say. Just make your own! Just get a map from online! Neither of those should need to be a thing in this generation of gaming. This isn’t the NES. Give me a map in-game for Christ’s sake. It makes the game virtually impossible to even play. How did the developers miss such a huge oversight like this?

    Overall, Salt & Sanctuary is fun and well-designed, but the combat will start to get on your nerves and the lack of a map system kills it for me. It’s like they tried really hard to capture what made Dark
    Souls good in 2D, and while they succeed to some degree, they don’t seem to find the need to take any of the cues from Metroidvanias of the past 20 years. For this reason, I cannot recommend to anyone except hardcore gamers.

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