Sea Salt – Play as a Cthulhu Cultist

I had no idea what Sea Salt was before I played it. I simply saw it was going to be leaving the Xbox Game Pass library soon, and was motivated to give it a try.

What is Sea Salt? The game describes itself as:

Sea Salt is an action strategy hybrid, in which you are an Old God summoning unfathomable horrors to blight the human lands. You will have your sacrifice, and humanity will pay for denying you what you are owed.

I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

First, the game is oozing atmosphere and dark character. Even with the pixel graphic style – with the implied violence of the game, I don’t know how else they could have done it – you still can feel the dark, gritty aesthetics through and through.

This game is violent, as I just noted. You are a cultist who summons up hordes of creatures from the deep. The whole goal is to hunt down and tear apart humans to appease your dark god. While the art style can only imply the violence happening, trust me when I say, drawing and quartering a defeated boss enemy in pixels is still pretty gruesome. I guess my imagination filled in the blanks.

Which is the point of the game. It does what it’s meant to do.

As you beat bosses, move through the story and earn achievements, you unlock more types of creatures with different abilities to add to your horde. You can also unlock new cultist, it seems.

Looking at the reviews, I can see that eventually, this game has a few criticism in the later levels, mostly having to do with its simplicity. The controls are very simple – you move your mouse cursor and your horde follows (for the most part) where you’re pointing. You hold Space bar and they attack.

So really, the strategy of the game is to direct your horde to tear apart enemies while taking as little damage as you can. Each boss fight I ran across had a different strategy to overcome. Though I didn’t play super far into the game, just observing the boss provides a pretty intuitive idea of what you need to avoid and when you need to attack.

The problem, I hear, comes is in the later-stage strategy. You have tanky minions that can take damage but do very little damage of their own, glass cannon casters who die if an enemy so much as looks their way, and others in between.

Unlike standard RTS games, you can’t separate minions in your horde and move them individually. So, you can’t send in your tanks first and make a strategy where they actually protect your casters, etc. Also, sometimes the AI has a mind of its own and goes wandering off or taking the long road. Stragglers to the horde get killed pretty easily.

So all of that means that while the concept of the game is meant to be gruesome fun, in later stages, I read it can get frustrating. I only played a few scenarios in before I decided I had a good enough feel for what this game was trying to do.

There’s a kind of dark satisfaction in rampaging through town as a horde from the deep, but I couldn’t get past the knowledge I was participating in so much senseless slaughter. After a few stages, I decided it really isn’t my kind of game.

Despite my feelings on it, is this something you’d enjoy?