Salt: Rum Not Included

Hey fellow videogamers! Today, I am reviewing Salt. Salt is an indie game from Lavaboots LLC, an Alabama, USA based company. In Salt, you wake up stranded on an island with nothing but a note from a stranger who kicked you a few times and wandered off and a chest with enough material to make a small raft. From here, you gather materials and fight pirates while trying to piece together what wild party brought you to those sandy shores. This is a game with three main elements: exploration, fighting pirates, and gathering resources.

Mining by Moonlight... sounds like a song!
Mining by Moonlight… sounds like a song!

In general, I have been very pleased with Salt. Starting with a small raft and wooden club, I have gotten a shiny scimitar, hardwood bow, and luxurious pirate ship within 4-5 hours of gameplay. Exploration is vastly rewarding; you find resources which can be used to craft better armor, better ships, and better weaponry. The graphics are simple, but elegant. The islands feel different, with some covered in jungle while others are plain with rocky outcroppings. The sailing is beautiful; you have to hold the steering wheel with a key, and turn the mouse to turn the wheel. This is an immensely immersive experience, and I tip my tricorne (three pointed hat) to the developers for capturing this feeling. Sailing at night is especially beautiful, as is dawn and dusk. The graphics style allows the player’s mind to fill in the gaps with their imagination, and one can get lost marveling at the world around them and run aground.

Avast! What be these lights yonder?
Avast! What be these lights yonder?
A pirate outpost, it be!
A pirate outpost, it be!
Lovely parking service.
Lovely parking service.

 Currently, the combat is fairly simplistic, but has great promise. Swords have the ability to parry, which reduces damage, and daggers deal more damage from behind. Bows work well, though aiming is difficult; the crosshair moves and is barely visible, and it is hard to lead targets as the duck and weave after your first shot. The only change I would make to the graphics is the enemies; they look like stuffed dolls, which ruins the combat, as you only fight these pirates.

He was like that when I found him, I swear!
He was like that when I found him, I swear!
Now for a little shuteye, in the dark, surrounded by pirates. *whimper*
Now for a little shuteye, in the dark, surrounded by pirates. *whimper*
A local hive, with both scum and villainy! And loot!
A local hive, with both scum and villainy! And loot!
Thank you for your generous donation.
Thank you for your generous donation.
It's a brand new day with my shiny pirate ship!
It’s a brand new day with my shiny pirate ship!

The only real complaint I have is the Minecraft-like introduction into the world of Salt; while you are told much more than in Minecraft through a survival guide found in the starting chest, there are many things which are hard to understand. For example, there are food items which increase your max hp, but you need to be almost starving to eat them. These items would be better if they did not have a hunger requirement so they could be used to increase your health as soon as you find them. Also, the different clothing you find can give you a bonus if you are wearing a set of that clothing, but it is hard to figure out whether that means shirts, leggings and boots, or if you need a certain hat as well. It is also difficult to tell what you are wearing (because the game is in first person) so the clothing serves more as modifiers for combat versus exploration; some helps you sail faster, while other clothing protects you.

So far, this game is already intriguing, and has the potential to be truly excellent. The sailing and exploration are amazing, and the combat only needs minor tweaks to be fun. The system works well, and I heartily await more updates to my favorite swashbuckling simulator!

Personal Game Scoring System:

(Scale of 1-5, one being a hot mess and 5 being amazingly well done)

Fun:5

Polish:3.5

Update Schedule: 4

Swashbuckling: 5

Hi! I am Eugene Shenderov, and I am a starting game designer. You can find my website at www.thisandthatgames.com. Send me a message if you have any questions!

Have a great day!

Eugene Shenderov

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