Salt And Sacrifice Review - Mage Hunter
After the success of 2016's Salt and Sanctuary, indie developer Ska Studios could've rested on its laurels when designing a sequel to the 2D Souls-like. Instead, the two-person studio has done the opposite, pulling from an amalgamation of influences to create a game that differs vastly from its predecessor. Salt and Sacrifice isn't just another 2D Souls-like; it still retains many of the genre's fundamentals, yet its allusions to Metroidvania and, crucially, Monster Hunter, are much more pronounced. While it does feature satisfying combat and progression, many of its risks don't always pay off and this curious concoction falls just short of realizing its full potential.
Salt and Sacrifice casts you as a condemned prisoner in a kingdom corrupted by malignant magic. Monstrous creatures now roam the lands, with the source of all this defilement tracing back to the nefarious Mages who now stalk each region. Given the option of either execution or a life of Mage-hunting, you choose the latter, becoming a Marked Inquisitor sent to track down these dangerous Mages and devour their hearts to ensure the kingdom survives. After creating a character and getting routinely demolished by an overpowered boss in true Souls-like fashion, you awaken in Pardoner's Vale, a hub area where you can converse with various NPCs, level up your character class, craft and upgrade new weapons and armor, and pet an adorable cat with antlers.
It's also here where you'll find the Mirrorgate--an enchanted portal that allows you to teleport to different regions across the kingdom. Each one is home to numerous Mages that must be hunted down and killed, serving as Salt and Sacrifice's core gameplay loop. By exploring a region, you'll discover evidence that will kick off a Mage Hunt, creating a particle trail for you to follow directly to your prey. Much like Monster Hunter's beasties, Mages aren't confined to a single boss arena. You need to fight them a handful of times as they roam across the region, summoning themed mobs to slow you down as they go. After dealing enough damage, you'll eventually trigger a final showdown and transition into a traditional boss battle where you can finally finish the Mage off for good.
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