• Pirate, exploration, crafting, hunting, ship building

  • Unique graphical style
*Note 11/2019*

Salt is no longer in Early Access, so some of the content of this post may have changed. One thing is that it now contains a multiplayer option.

I've been regularly watching a favorite YouTube channel by Paul Soares, Jr. Months ago, I noticed an interesting new game on his Indie Game Test Drive playlist called "Salt." I didn't really get into it at first, but recently, I thought I'd check it out a bit more and watched the rest of his videos on this game. While I installed the demo months ago, I didn't start playing it until recently and after catching up on his Salt videos. (See links at the end of this post.)

That's right, here is an Early Access game that has a free demo! The demo doesn't seem to be very limited, but by purchasing the full version of the game, you will have access to a much larger world and more content. One interesting aspect of that is that if you play the demo and then buy the full game, you can continue with your saved game. While Early Access gaming can be risky, I believe Salt is worth it.

Salt is an open world sandbox game with "procedural generation." This means that the world is randomly generated. It seems this is done with seeds as the default settings seem to give the player the default (same) seed, so it's the same world unless you change the seed. Changing the seed in the settings can get you different randomly generated worlds, which I decided to try out after restarting with a new world a few times. This is because I died and wanted to start out again with a fresh new world. That can also be done by selecting the "Hardcore" option when selecting to create a new game.

The world of Salt is composed of very many islands. Many of them have similarities, but there are also many that are very different. Traveling around the world pretty much requires crafting some kind of boat. At the beginning, you'll start with a small raft that has a sail and rudder. You could probably swim across islands, but that will drain your stamina and you might drown (I haven't tested that).

Starting out: When you create a new game, you will spawn on an island that contains trees, grass, a chest, a pickaxe, and boulders. The game will tell you to press "H" (for Help menu) which will show you the game's controls and give you a little bit of information. From there, you're free to do whatever you want. However, you're going to need some supplies. A chest can be found on the island, which contains some materials such as wood, cloth, and a couple of books. One of the books shows you some of the basic crafting recipes. Another book contains the first bit of the game's lore. Much of what you'll need to craft your first transportation will be located in the chest, but you're going to want to explore the island for more.

Crafting and materials: Once you craft your first weapon, a club, you can start smacking trees. This is how you obtain some food as they can drop green or red fruit. In order to collect wood, you don't chop down trees, instead you will find some lying on the ground. Also lying on the ground some where on your spawn island is a pickaxe. Spend some time to find it, so you won't waste materials trying to craft one. Even if you don't have a pickaxe, you can still mine most boulders with your weapon by hitting them. These little mounds of rock are distinct and you will notice them. They can contain many things such as stone, flint, coal, gems, and more.

Hunting: Another way to get food and materials is to hunt deer. While you might not find any on your spawn island, you're very likely to encounter some on another. One of the best ways to hunt deer is to craft a bow and some arrows. You can also crouch and sneak up on them and smack them with your club. This can be funny and time consuming, but seeing as how you're on an island, they won't be able to run away too far. This may be how you hunt at first, but it's worth it since you can loot them for meat, antlers, and hide. Collecting deer hide will give you a good source for your first set of armor.

Pirates: Before you encounter pirates, you're probably going to want some armor and maybe a better weapon. Although, you can survive against them, especially if you understand how to block (right-click usually) and dodge (jump and directional key). I haven't dodged, yet, but I found that blocking right as they swing their weapon is very effective. You'll find basic pirates in white shirts, but there are others such as Pirate Battlemasters (in dark red shirts) and Pirate Captains. Captains usually wear black shirts and are the toughest of the pirates. They also have names and things that can be looted only from them. There are four of them, each that contains one of four books necessary to craft a larger ship.

The graphical style of the game is very artistic and reminds me a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. They look similar, but definitely different. You'll also notice that most of the game lacks music. This was done on purpose, it seems from reading the developer's blog. While exploring, you'll hear ambient sounds like birds, but there are times when you will encounter music, such as when traveling through deep sea.

There are different kinds of boats that can be crafted. You can also find an old pirate ship and repair it with certain materials. These abandoned ships also contain a chest, which is locked. You can unlock these chests by finding keys, usually looted from pirates. After repairing the ship, it will be in your boat menu. The boat menu, "B," contains all of your boats. You press "B" near water, right-click on the boat you want to use and then left-click when you get it aligned on the water. Once you leave your boat, you can access it again the same way. In one of the videos of Paul's, he jumped out of a large boat, but forgot to take down the sails and it sailed away from him into the horizon. However, he didn't lose it as it was still accessible via the boat menu.

There are many more aspects of the game including spiders, quests, fishing, and more. I think the game is very good and I highly recommend that you at least try out the demo. The full game is only $15 and can be purchased at the game's website or on Steam.

Paul Soares, Jr.'s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP6f9x4iXk3LH8Q1sqJmYPQ
Paul Soares, Jr.'s Indie Game Test Drive playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYYRxOqgU2g&list=PLE359C2CC11F91811
Paul Soares, Jr.'s Salt playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh_rwn8rs-Y&list=PLEbtIY4p_ltoCe4VXSMipJtb78gtYuW84

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 02/20/2015 at 10:10pm

Along with playing the game, I've decided to read the developer's blog. I just found a great post about the graphical style of the game (see link below). While I noticed that the game looked similar to Wind Waker, it is mentioned as an inspiration to Salt in the post I just read. That's pretty cool. I remember when WW came out, it seemed to catch a lot of negativity from players, although i thought it was beautiful. When it came to Salt, I thought it was cool looking, but my first impression of the character model (pirates) wasn't a great one. However, now I really love it. The game is simplistic and artistically beautiful. I also really like the realistic looking water and lighting (such as the sun and moon).

I'm still very happy with the game and I'm looking forward to seeing what is added or changed in the future. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year. There are some questions that come to mind while playing the game. One of them is if things respawn, which they seem to do. I've seen islands with pirates back on them when I had previously killed them all. It seems that respawning takes place when exiting the game and opening it again. I think other things (like boulders) respawn, too. I also think some things despawn. For instance, once I was chasing a black deer at night towards the shore. It disappeared right in front of me into the sea. This occurred right when the night changed to day (you can tell because the chirping crickets sound change into birds).

I've spent a LOT of time on an island looking for things that I know are there, like the pickaxe on the spawn island. There are quests in the game and it seems as though I've only run into the one where a guy asks you to help him locate buried treasure on an island. There have been at least a couple of times where I spent a LOT of time on an island trying to find it. I always do find it, though. Still, I'm some what disappointed that this is the only quest I've come across and it's been given to me plenty of times. While these quest givers are "merchants," they didn't seem able to participate in the buying or selling of goods. I still haven't found any real merchants on my randomized seed.

Anyway, I hope some of you at least check out the demo. I think this game is worth getting and really cool to play and I'd love to discuss it with you.

Developer's blog about Salt's graphical style: http://saltthegameblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/friday-dev-update-closer-look-at.html

JaBo wrote on 02/26/2015 at 06:44pm

I just checked it out...looks sweet and thanks for the review. I am definitely going to try the demo. This might be a game I hook up to the TV if it's as cool as it sounds.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 02/26/2015 at 09:36pm

Thanks, JaBo! It is a cool game. I've spent 61 hours playing it so far. Some of the harder pirates (such as Pirate Battlemaster and Captains) seem a bit over-powered. There is an exploit that can be used to defeat them though as they won't chase you into the sea and you can therefore "kite" them. However, Bandages and White Flower Potions are greatly beneficial when fighting them, along with blocking (right-click w/ weapon). You can dodge, but that mechanic is a bit tricky to master, so I almost never do it. Dodging requires you keep your mouse focused on the enemy and jump with a directional button (WASD). However, you can jump backwards, which is a bit easier.

The game is all about exploration and doing so you will be able to find more things that will help in the tougher battles. I managed to buy a good sword from a merchant and I'm still using it. I also found some good armor at a ruins site, but then along the way I found better armor.

There are two different types of the compass in the game. The first one always points to the north (the red line), but on the face of the compass, "N" always is in front of you, so it can be a little confusing. I saw on Reddit that someone mentioned how the compass could be better, the developer saw that and created a Mariner's Compass in the game. I found one in the game and it is much better at showing you the direction your facing.

I should have included a video in my post, but check out the trailer on Steam's app store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/327860/

This is a game I definitely recommend, enjoy, and am looking forward to seeing how its development progresses. It's supposed to be finished by the end of the year.

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