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Salt and Sanctuary is the Best Couch Co-op Experience I’ve Had in Two Decades

Content of the article: "Salt and Sanctuary is the Best Couch Co-op Experience I’ve Had in Two Decades"

I’ve been aware of S&S since I played my first Souls game back in 2017. I tore through the Fromsoft titles and anything else available on the PS3/PS4 that had even a shred of similarity to the Souls series.

But when it came to S&S, my initial thought was that the art style was amateur and janky, like an early 2000’s newgrounds game, and that I couldn’t take it seriously. I figured people going on about how S&S captured the Souls “feel” in 2D were delusional.

I sort of formed this dogmatic opinion that the Souls formula couldn’t be translated to 2D, that 2D worlds couldn’t be immersive. I’m not a huge fan of platforming or bullet dodging in these kinds of games, and it just seems like so many of the 2D “souls-likes” were just button-mashey platformers that drop your currency on death; a Souls “coat of paint”.

But yeah WOW I was wrong about Salt and Sanctuary, this game is quite different than anything else I’ve tried so far.

During the pandemic, my wife and I have been trying to find a couch co-op game for some fun, something we’ve never successfully done. A few of the souls-likes have this feature, but it’s always hard because two people need to have entirely developed characters on separate profiles… it just doesn’t quite work like I feel like it should. These games are long and detailed, and require a lot of time and effort, and we have one TV.

Why can’t co-op just be easy? Why can’t we just run the whole game together, our first time through? Isn’t that the most fun way to do it???

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Well Salt and Sanctuary is 100% what we’ve been looking for. Thanks to this subreddit, we picked up the game late last week, and were immediately hooked. I went from being a bit pretentious about the “janky” art style to finding it absolutely charming. The fact that this game was made by a single person (and his two cats) is extremely impressive, and I cannot stress enough what a great deal this game is.

If you’re a fan of metroidvanias and love smashing Greatswords in the Souls series, of course this game is for you. The weight of the weapons and the intensity of the combat is perfectly captured, without a heavy emphasis on platforming or bullet dodging. There’s challenging boss fights, well hidden secrets, and tons of build variety, and the same subtle storytelling and dark setting that will immediately hook any fan of the Souls games.

Most importantly, something I’ve NEVER heard, is that Salt and Sanctuary has extremely competent couch co-op, that you can (mostly) play though entirely with a friend/spouse/roommate. I feel like I would’ve tried this sooner had I known. So, let this serve as a PSA to any fans of Metroidvanias or Souls games that want to experience couch co-op like it’s 1999 – Salt and Sanctuary is amazing.


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