Vigil: The Longest Night Preview: Salt & Sanctuary Meets Castlevania

In this Fextralife Preview, we’re going to be taking a look at Vigil: The Longest Night, which is a 2D Action-RPG that is being developed by Glass Heart Games and published by Another Indie. Vigil reminds me a lot of Salt & Sanctuary in some ways, and Castlevania in others, but let’s get into it and discuss a game that is flying under many peoples’ radars (and really shouldn’t be).

Vigil: The Longest Night Preview: Salt & Sanctuary Meets Castlevania

  • Name: Vigil: The Longest Night
  • Platforms: PC/Switch
  • Developer: Glass Heart Games
  • Publisher: Another Indie
  • Release Date: October 14th
  • Genre: Action-RPG

In Vigil The Longest Night you play as a Vigilant, a character trained in combat to fight the forces of evil. A darkness has spread over the town of Maye, and you must find what is causing it, rescue your sister, and put an end to the Longest Night.

Story & Setting

The Story of Vigil The Longest Night is not particularly original, but it fits perfectly with the theme of the game. As a Vigilant you’ll be attempting to uncover the mystery of what is plaguing the town of Maye and nearby areas, while you attempt to find out where your missing Sister has gone. Along the way you’ll be tasked with other side quests that will reward you with loot, as well as give you more insight into the story and lore of  Vigil.

Probably my biggest complaint here so far, is that a large portion of the story is told via dialogues with the game’s many NPCs. There don’t seem to be any cutscenes whatsoever that explain what is going on, or give you much background whatsoever, and instead you must discern most of it via conversations. Making this worse, is the fact that at least in the version I played, no dialogue in the game is voiced at all, which means you have to read everything…and there is a LOT to read!

However, when it comes to the setting of the game, it is absolutely stunning to look at. The game has a visual style that is similar to Salt & Sanctuary in the sense that it is extremely artistic, and most of the environments look hand drawn. That’s not to say it looks the same as S&S, because it doesn’t. Vigil very much has it’s own unique design and feel, but you get that same sense of pleasure exploring and looking at it that you did when playing S&S. This might be the best aspect of the game, and really makes it stand out from the crowd in my opinion.

Gameplay, Combat & Customization

Much of Vigil’s gameplay is focused around exploring the game world for secrets, treasure, and for lore that explains just what is happening in the game. There is almost always something hidden in every area, and sometimes there are multiple things. And, just like Salt & Sanctuary (and other Metroidvania games), often times you will need to come back to open doors or to get to places that you can see but can’t reach due to a lack of ability that has not yet been learned. This rewards you for going back to places you’ve already been, and adds a nice touch.

When you aren’t exploring you’ll be speaking to the many NPCs in the game, discovering what is happening in their lives and assisting them with their own trials and tribulations. This part of the game, the town of Maye in particular, really reminded me of Zelda 2, and is absolutely dripping with nostalgia. It feels like a throwback to games I haven’t played in nearly 30 years, and it does it in a fantastic way!

One thing I’d like to note here is that the game doesn’t auto save the way Souls games and Salt & Sanctuary does, and you must manually save it at Owl Statues or use and item called Fledgling’s Blood Soul. This takes a bit of getting used to, as it’s easy to die and lose a lot of progress. However, the healing items of the game don’t replenish when you die, so this is a decent way to combat that issue. If you die while fighting a boss, you’ll reload at the last Owl Statue you saved at with all your healing items still intact.

Combat

The combat of Vigil feels a bit like Salt and Sanctuary, without as much focus on the Dark Souls mechanics, and with less variety of Weapons. Players have Health and a Stamina Bar, but they gain experience as they defeat enemies and can use the Skill Points they gain from this to unlock Skills in one of 5 Skill Trees. There are no shields that I have seen, but players can block with their Weapon, as well as dodge roll and parry attacks. There are also magic spells in the game, so players can use these as well to compliment their style of play.

Players can stun enemies if they deal enough Poise damage, enabling them to do powerful executions with the right setup. A lot of Vigil’s focus in combat, is learning the enemy attack patterns and baiting attacks for easy Parries, or just mashing attack and burning them down quickly. Since Blocking doesn’t mitigate 100% of damage in most cases, you’ll be doing a lot of rolling to avoid enemies, or Parrying once you unlock it.

Boss battles are particularly epic, as you would expect them to be. Not only are the designs phenomenal, but they are amazingly rendered, and you really enjoy fighting them. I don’t know how many boss fights there are in total in the game, but I’ve seen a good amount already, as well as what we can see in the trailers. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed with this aspect of the game.

Customization

Customization is a large part of what makes Vigil so much fun to play, and while it doesn’t feature as much as Salt & Sanctuary, there is still a lot to be found here. Not only will players get to decide just where to spend their Skill Points, which already commits them to a certain style of play, but they will have to decide what Weapons, Armor and Rings to use.

Players can equip up to 3 Weapons at once, which they can swap between at any time without returning to their inventory. They can equip 5 pieces of Armor, and each piece of Armor has its own stats, some of which are unique to that piece of Armor. For instance, Sauna’s Boots give you a 5% Cooldown Reduction on top of their Poise and Defense. Mixing and matching these pieces of Armor further takes your Build in the direction it is heading.

There are 4 Ring slots and players will need to decide just which to equip here, as each have their own effects. Some are obvious, and you can see the stat change when you equip them, but others like the Rose Ring are more obscure, leaving the player to figure out just what it is used for. Anyone who is a fan of Souls games will likely love this aspect.

Weapons and Armor can also be Upgraded at the Smithy using Shimmer Stones, and these upgrades work nearly identically to the Souls games, with breakpoints at +3, +6, +9 and so on, using a different type of Shimmer Stone at each tier. You can also Enchant equipment with Shards, that look similar to Gems from Bloodborne, adding effects to Weapons and Armor depending on the type of Shard you are using.

You can also slot consumables to your quickslot, and change these on the fly. This is actually how you setup your spells for use, much like Salt & Sanctuary. While in game you can press RB to cycle through these, or hold RB and use your analog stick to move to the exact item you want. It’s a fairly easy to use design, and doesn’t take long to get the hang of.

Audio & Visual

On the Audio side of things Vigil excels in the music department, which creates great ambience and reminds me a lot of Castlevania. The moody melodramatic score really makes things seem dark and grim, and elevates the gameplay of Vigil. Even though the visuals are outstanding, I don’t think the game would be quite the same without this aspect.

Otherwise there is nothing really to note about the audio. The sound effects of the game are not particularly good or bad, and there is no voice acting, or there wasn’t any in the version I’ve been playing. It’s almost jarring actually, because just about every RPG you play these days is voiced over, and this is something I really wished had been added. However, it’s probably forgivable given the size of the studio making the game.

Visually the game is a feast for your eyes, and if the loot alone doesn’t motivate you to get out and explore the world, the aesthetics of Vigil surely will. Every time you encounter a new area you’ll slow down and take everything in, simply because you can. Whereas with some games you just want to move on to get back to the action as quickly as possible, in Vigil you play more slowly taking your time, really enjoying the experience for what it is. The combat, while fun is not better than this facet of the game, which makes for a good marriage of exploration and combat that really brings the game together.

Final Thoughts

Vigil The Longest Night is a game we’ve been following for sometime now, and honestly I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. At first glance it had the things I was certainly looking for in a 2D Action RPG: customization, challenge and breathtaking art work, but I didn’t know to what degree it would continue. I’m about 4 hours or so into it now, and Vigil shows no signs of slowing down. In fact I’m more compelled to play, as things start to open up and your Build really starts to take shape, you can’t help but want to press on and find out what’s around the next bend.

Vigil The Longest Night will be releasing for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch on October 14th for a retail price of 21.99 USD. We’ll be streaming it on Twitch around then, and we’re already working on the Wiki for the game as well. We’ll also be giving away about 20 codes for the game, so stay tuned for that as well. If you’ve been looking for a game like Salt & Sanctuary, but haven’t been able to find one, I highly recommend you check out Vigil The Longest Night. From everything I’ve seen so far, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Now if the game only had co op…


If you enjoyed this preview be sure to check out more in The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon Preview and Scarlet Nexus Gameplay Preview: More Nier Automata Than Code Vein.

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Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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