Sacrifice your cultists to summon huge beasts and defeat the disgusting masses of innocent humans.
As a connoisseur of things Lovecraftian, and as an aficionado of pixel graphics, I couldn’t pass up Sea Salt, now available on Switch, XBox One, Steam and Good Old Games. It looked good enough for me to stalk the developer (@YCJY Games) and beg for a review key. They graciously agreed, and now I’m the proud owner of Sea Salt. Praise Dagon!
What initially drew me to Sea Salt was the great pixel art. The character sprites in Sea Salt are small, and the emphasis is on the large, dank environments. Lovecraft fans know about his obsession with the depths of the sea, and Sea Salt masterfully embodies that with rotten docks and salt-swept alleys.
The game play in Sea Salt is different from anything I’ve played before. The concept is very simple: You play as Dagon, an evil sea deity directing his hordes on the land from is kingdom below the depths. In other words, you move a cursor around the screen while your ever-growing horde of horrors chases it. Press a button to initiate attack, and individual creatures will attack the most convenient target.
It sounds almost too simple. But it’s not. As you continue to play, you’ll unlock new minions with specific powers and weaknesses. For example, your crab creatures have tough shells to absorb damage, but weak attacks. Cultists have powerful ranged attacks and can even sacrifice themselves to summon eldritch beasts. Woms will rot wooden structures (like guard towers and barriers) but are extremely slow. The Black Cats will pounce on their prey from around corners and at a distance. The list goes on.
I found the combination of crabs and cultists to be particularly effective. Let the crabs run in and tank damage while the cultists wittle the enemy down.
Some enemies have area attacks that can wipe out your whole horde in a single blow if you’re not careful. But by paying attention and anticipating your enemies’ moves, you can avoid damage and live to fight again.
Each stage is separated into smaller, easy-to-clear areas. Once all threats are eliminated you can move on. Bosses are pretty cool, too.
For such a simple combat mechanic, there is surprising depth to both the physical technique of targeting and attacking, and the strategic role of horde selection. By choosing a great team, and learning how to play them, you can do very well.
The action in Sea Salt is fast-paced, and it can be easy to lose a few hours without even realizing it. It’s a fun game with lots of interesting things to unlock. It’s true to Lovecraft’s mythos and it’s just generally a ton of fun.
You’re also able to navigate the overworld map and choose a few different routes. But once you choose, there’s no going back till you start a new game.
What’s Less Great
Given Sea Salt’s relatively small price tag, it’s hard to get picky. At times the environments can be hard to distinguish, and I find myself in the heat of battle running my horde into a wall because it blends in with a busy environment.
There are times when the game is extremely unforgiving, and I’m not sure how to restart a particular stage. If your horde gets knocked down to just a few weaker minions and you move to the next map, you’re stuck with those few minions. You can’t go back and restart. I don’t think? It’s not clear, at any rate.
Other than my few gripes, I definitely enjoy Sea Salt. Lovecraft fans will definitely get it, and if you want a fast-paced top-down action game that isn’t a twin-stick shooter, this is definitely a break from the ordinary. I like it and you should, too.
Sea Salt is ghetto approved!–GG