Don’t mess around with unmentionable Elder Gods From Beyond Time and Space. You’d think that it would be easy to not pray to the unnameable Old Ones. But, no. There’s always some cult leader willing to worship Chthulhu or Hastur or Dick Cheney* or something. It never ends well. Best case scenario is that the dark god manifests squamous tentacles and pulls you into the stygian abyss beyond the stars to be tortured in unblinking wakefulness as the universe decays into to chaos and once universal heat death comes after billions upon billions of years you will remain always wakeful and ever aware of your failure, alone in your cosmic madness. Worst case scenario… is worse than that, I suppose.
In Sea Salt by YCJY you play as one of the indescribable great old ones bringing hideous punishment down upon your gibbering followers. See, the people of this town have been worshiping you, but now their High Priest has refused to sacrifice himself. And for his loathsome cowardice you must punish all the people of the town. Even the babies.
To properly punish these fools you summon a swarm of various hidious Lovecraftian horrors. Tenebrous acidic worms. Fish people summoned from the cyclopean depths. Cultists shrieking with madness. Eldritch skittering horrors of all sorts. You have some control over your swarm, but you can only control their general actions. You point at a towns-person and your swarm will attempt to do the rest. It’s not an entirely unique mechanic, I know I’ve seen it used a few times before**, but it makes a nice change of pace from the usual top down adventure game. And, it’s satisfying to send a swarm of crabs to tear about some poor soul. The drawback is that your control lacks nuance. You critters will sometimes not attack the enemy you want and will have occasional path-finding issues. These imprecise controls force you to think differently about how you handle a situation.
The graphics are your standard 16-Bit Indie Tribute with a fun Lovecraftian twist. Pixelated gore is always funny. The backgrounds and cut scenes are lovely and evocative of a misty night in a New England town when a monstrosity crawls up from the moldering depths to prey on the unwitting townsfolk. My only complaint is that sometimes the mist and darkness make it hard to read the screen, which can on occasion make it difficult to properly rend your prey.
Overall, I found Sea Salt an enjoyable game. It’s not without it’s flaws, but if you are a fan of the Mythos and cool non-Euclidean Indie games then you could do worse than spend some time with this one. Go on. Buy it. I command it. Don’t make me come up there and rend you.
*So much for unnameable.
**There was this Roman Centurion themed game a few years back that I cannot remember the name of. Great Old Ones like myself grow forgetful.