I once had a friend who introduced me to Dark Souls. An endlessly exhaustive game on humanity and what it means to live and die, FromSoftware’s modern classic was instead introduced to me as “look at this hard as shit game, bet you can’t even beat the first boss.” They weren’t wrong, I couldn’t even beat the Asylum Demon, as it grabbed my panic-struck character from a ledge and splattered them all over the ground below.
Salt and Sacrifice is like that friend. A 2D, side-scrolling hack-and-slash adventure set in the ruins of a decaying world, Ska Studios’ sequel to 2016’s Salt and Sanctuary throws your pitiful adventurer against monsters of towering, hulking shapes and sizes, asking you to venture forth into the wider world and literally eat mages alive to restore balance throughout the land.
Ska Studios’ sequel is like that friend because it’s a mostly surface-level study of the type of game it’s riffing on. Gone is any nuance in storytelling and dialogue, as NPCs and other side characters are nearly entirely one-note in their purpose of serving the player character and advancing your quest to restore the world. What remains is a tough-as-nails combat system that acts as the foundation for everything.