“Oh? Another open world exploration game? That genre totally hasn’t been beaten to death.” This was my line of thinking whenever I would see Salt The Game on sale. It was a low-poly game that I toyed with buying because it reminded me of games I played in the past. That feeling alone wasn’t enough to make me purchase something. That said, the moment I finally did decide to splurge on it, I regretted having not done so sooner.
Salt bills itself as “an ocean based adventure and exploration game set in a infinite procedurally generated world.” Sounds harmless enough right? The game starts by dropping your character off on an island and then provides you with just enough instructions to get you going. First order of business? Building a boat. Why a boat? Because this is ocean based adventure and you can’t have the ocean bit without a trustworthy boat. When I say trustworthy boat I actually mean a dingy raft with a cloth as a sail because that’s how it would go down in real life.
Map? ….Where is my mini map?
It quickly became apparent that Salt was going to make me work for everything. In order to figure out where I was going – I needed to find a sextant. To find a sextant, I needed to kill a pirate that had one. Oh? I need to get a sword to kill a pirate and of course to get a sword I need to mine the materials to make the thing to begin with. Fantastic – after much fanfare I finally acquired a sextant only to realize that a sextant is useless without a compass to tell you which direction you are going in.
Sailing is in real time and done manually. Board your boat, cast the sails, and man the helm. There is no fast travel.
In order to make my time in Salt much easier, I grabbed a piece of printer paper, drew a grid, and then began mapping out the game’s latitude and longitude in correlation with special islands I found. Halfway through completing this map I thought to myself: Holy crap – a video game has me engaging with a physical space so I can continue interacting with a digital one. Well played Lavaboots Studios – well played.
Despite the manual work that Salt makes you put into it, the game is fantastically intuitive when it comes to figuring things out. Whatever you think you need to build an item – those are probably the things that you need. Fishing requires a pole and a pole requires string and a hook. Boats require wood, cloth, and metal, etc. Once you have acquired all of these things – you are ready to explore! You are also ready to die at the hands of pirates, starvation, and spiders. The last one I have no idea if they even exist but according to screenshots from other players – they are waiting for me in a forest somewhere in the dark. I spend my nights on my boat by the fire and find it foolish to attempt to explore uncharted islands at night. It’s this kind of mental stretching that Salt requires which I find fascinating. Salt wants you to be bold and it wants you to be cautious and most of all, Salt wants you to feel something.
That notion of getting a “feeling” from a game is exactly what Lavaboots was after it seems:
Lavaboots Studios is a company that is founded based on a purpose rather than a product. Have you ever played a game that gave you a feeling? If you have, then you know exactly what we are talking about. It’s something that sticks with you for the rest of your life. It’s funny how something like a game can imprint itself on you. It is our mission to create worlds in which, woven within their threads, is the magic that will enchant and improve your life forever more.
Buy the game. Build a boat. Create your own adventure and reflect on the feeling the game leaves you with when you hit the exit button.
Salt The Game Information
Experience pure freedom to play the way you want as you sail across a vast ocean and explore huge islands in your search for adventure. During your travels you will fight pirates, bosses and other creatures, complete quests, customize your ships, hunt wildlife, sail huge waves, loot and craft items and resources, and discover mysterious places and secrets throughout the world.