Back in March 2016, Salt & Sanctuary released a mere nine days before Dark Souls 3. For a Ska Studios fan and Dark Souls-lover like myself, this was enough time that I still sing the game’s praises today. For many, that timing probably caused Salt & Sanctuary to fly under their radar. Now, with the game’s arrival on Switch, and the Dark Souls Remastered release still well over a month away, it may be the perfect time to give this game another look.
Ska Studios have mastered the art of the lovingly crafted 2D homage. A previous game of theirs, The Dishwasher, was a brilliant interpretation of Ninja Gaiden Black on a 2D plane. Salt & Sanctuary, meanwhile, splits the difference between the fast action of Bloodborne and the slow and steady pace of Dark Souls. It adapts the combat of both games and applies them to a massive 2D adventure reminiscent of Symphony of the Night. All throughout, Ska Studios maintains their house style — hand-drawn sprites, inky blacks, and a droning metal soundtrack.
The game is brilliant, and if you haven’t played it yet, the Switch port seems to be a straightforward and solid adaptation. While the Vita port zoomed the camera way in, compressed the art down to blurry sludge, and moved buttons to the touchscreen, the Switch version is very nearly on par with what I played on PS4. The Vita version was an admirable attempt considering the hardware, but if you really want to play Salt & Sanctuary portably, there is no comparison. The Switch version is a bit softer than PS4, and it has the odd framerate hitch here and there, but considering how minor these issues are and what a benefit portability can be, I’d have to say Salt & Sanctuary is best played on the Switch.
Just don’t take this game outside on a sunny day. It’s a little too dark for that.
Salt and Sanctuary is fantastic. I’ve been recommending this game on Twitter since I first played it on PC back in 2016 and I even considered placing it above Dark Souls III on my top 10 games of 2016.
If I didn’t consider Dark Souls III my favorite in the series (outside of Bloodborne), I’d probably be right there with you. Either way, Salt and Sanctuary is an easy recommendation and I wish more people played it. Thanks for reading!