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... Read All As I mentioned in a post on the forum, 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 though 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 truly 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. Travelling 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).
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.
Once you craft your first weapon, a club, you can start smacking trees. This is how you obtain some food as they can drop 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.
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.
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 travelling 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.
This may be a two-part post as I have another "Early Access Archipelago Sandbox Adventure" to write about when I play it.
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