Salt Review: A Sweet High Seas Adventure

Salt is an open world adventure and survival game published by Lavaboots Studios and saw a full release on February 6th, 2018. I can’t get enough of adventure games, so I had to try this one out.
Salt drops you on a random island in the middle of nowhere, forcing you to figure out how to survive. On the island you spawn on top of, there will be a man who will give you all the information you need to get started. From there you collect some resources, fix a raft and start your very own pirate adventure!
Salt does not hold your hand. It’s left to the player to figure most mechanics out, something you don’t find too often in video games today. I really appreciate Salt for this because it really adds to the sense of adventure when you’re exploring the vast open world.

Each island you find offers its own set of challenges and resources, and sailing from island to island is really an exciting time. The sailing controls beautifully and is very fluid feeling, both with the small and large ships. You can also respawn your boat when you need it – a very appreciated feature. The large ships tend to be a bit hard to man by yourself, so playing online with your fellow pirate buddies can be a big help and lots of fun.
The open world of Salt can occasionally look stunning, however, it looks like a low-poly mess at others. The environments and water usually look amazing and the foliage really stood out to me with the staggering amount of thick grass on-screen.
Graphically, my biggest issue with Salt is the character models are hideous, sticking out like a sore thumb compared to other creatures you find. Humans look much more cartoony than the rest of the game, which irked me. I played with all of my settings on ultra and the game runs smoothly for most situations, though it could use some optimization for the frame dips that come around on the larger islands. Even so, the graphics get the job done.

Salt really grabbed that audiophile deep inside me. The music is melodic and soft and I couldn’t get enough of it from the second I heard the first piano chord. In fact, the soundtrack is great all around. All sound effects in Salt popped out at me. Hitting an unsuspecting pirate with a sword or shooting an arrow into a startled deer really carried some weight through the audio. Lavaboots nailed this soundtrack. It’s perfectly made for this game and to get you immersed in a deep open world.

This game does have some issues that stand out to me, however. The UI in this game isn’t the best, and could really use some polish to buff out how clunky and awkward it is. Same goes for the combat, you have two options while fighting – attack and block. This combined with the enemy AI who will relentlessly charge you with no regard for their own safety makes for a fight that boils down to “smack it till its dead.”

Being a survival game, Salt has a lot of resources that are just waiting to be collected and crafted. Sometimes, however, collecting resources can become tedious after you’ve cleaned four or five islands out. Even after clearing multiple islands, you still might not have everything you need. My biggest nitpick for this game is wood. You collect logs from the ground and that is the only way to obtain wood. Why can’t I just chop down the trees on these islands that literally have dozens of trees?
Lavaboots Studios created a real diamond in the rough with this game. Salt will be a game I will come back to in the future to play with my friends, even with its few glaring issues. And with a developer like Lavaboots, I am sure the game will only get better from here. The game continues to be updated after its full release, and more updates and fixes are planned. I had a great time with Salt and it is definitely worth your time if you love adventure games.

DISCLAIMER: The product, Salt, was given to us by developer Lavaboots Studios. This does not affect the outcome or final score of the review.
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