This is an unusual dark game developed and published by YCJY Games. This is an action game with massive lean on some strategy elements. With its dark scores and 16-bit style sprites and graphics, you are not sure what to expect with this game. You play as an old god who has been betrayed by the cowardly head of the religion that worships you and you must seek vengeance. You command a group of summoned beings that are selected from tarot style cards and you set out to punish those who have betrayed you.
The dark church style music really sets the theme for this game. Your actions invoke some horror style growls and the screams of your enemies, making you feel like the vengeful god that you are playing as. Before you start on your quest you need to select the Apostle you want to use which grants certain perks, but to start off with you only get one that is available. You have to meet requirements to unlock the other apostles which have different perks. When you start playing you notice you don’t actually move your summoned beings. You more guide them to where you want them to go. This is where the action and strategy elements come into play as you move a symbol around the screen and the creatures follow that symbol. But you cannot queue up specific actions or place your creatures in groups so it’s not fully a strategy game, but you don’t actually move your creatures so it’s not fully an action game either.
But on each map, you have enemies which you need to take down before you can move to the next area of the map. You move your symbol to the enemy preferably surrounding them with your creatures, hold the right trigger and your creatures will start attacking your enemy. The game could be seen as simple as that but there are more strategic elements you will need to take into consideration. Your creatures have different speeds, attack strength, attack range, defence and health. This means as you move your symbol some creatures will move faster than others and when you attack some of your creatures will sit back and attack from range. If you hold the left trigger you slow all your creatures down to the slowest in your group, that way you move as a collective instead of leaving the slow creatures behind. If you don’t move together you can see the slower creatures being picked off or your faster creatures will charge in with no support and could be cut down quickly.
The game has a nice flow to it as you progress from map to map and the areas get harder, so you have to consider your tactics before diving in. Each area usually has a summoning circle which you stand on to summon more creatures from one of the tarot cards you have available. You can also collect money from some fallen enemies, when you collect enough you can also perform a summon to gain more allies. But you have to choose wisely as your group doesn’t re-spawn and sometimes in battles you could lose a lot of your group leaving you with 1 or 2 creatures to take to the next area which will almost surely see you finished.
But once you have made it through enough areas you eventually will fight a boss who will have a fight pattern that you will need to work out. Upon defeating the bosses, you gain a new creature card to summon with. The creatures you summon are quite fun and charming in their own way. You have your standard bat-like creature which helps surround enemies as they are quick but they don’t do much damage, you have your worms which are strong but very slow to move, you have your cultists which do big range damage but have little health and you have your crabs which have high defence but very little attack strength. There are many more creatures to unlock and you can select different paths on the map to add some replay value.
With all the apostles, creatures and different paths you can take the game also tries to add some other replay value with an arena mode which uses certain maps which you unlock as you play through the main game. In the arena mode you have to take on waves of enemies and at the end of each wave or when you gain enough money you can summon one of the creatures you have unlocked in the main game. I tried the arena after only unlocking about 7 creatures and I only made it up to wave 8 on the first arena level so I imagine some of the creatures unlocked later in the game may help balance the difficulty of arena out.
Sea Salt is refreshing in its gaming style. Combining action and strategy in a simple based setup works great here. The dark artistic style and music serve the evil cult theme well. It has enough difficulty to make the game a challenge and enough variation to make you consider different tactics and replay the game in a different way. Although the graphics are in an 16-bit style, there is something charming about the sprites making the game an interesting play through.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.