It’s been a while since I’ve played a hack-and-slash game. Yeah, I even missed Castle Crashers. Coming out to fill some narrative space between the relatively obscure Sacred role-playing games, Citadel doesn’t require a study session to figure out what’s going on. Instead, all you need is a few friends (or not, if you’re one of those people) to fill in for some cooperative action as you beat, punch, and twirl your way through the game’s five acts.
If you can’t remember what a hack-and-slash game is like, let me paint you a picture: attack attack attack attack attack. As a genre hallmark, I found my thumbs suffering after a number of levels pounding the X and Y buttons of my controller. As you progress, the game layers in more complex maneuvers and combos to dispatch enemies, including some light air juggling and a ‘burst mode’ once your meter tops off. Your character, serving in one of four classes, will level up and pick up new gear as you tear through levels. Loot harvest Diablo this isn’t, but it adds a cool layer of depth to an otherwise bare-bones mode of play. Naturally, the more people you get in with you, the better.
The game’s polygonal art direction is charming, but you’ll quickly find some repetition in the level structures and feel. Enemies are creative looking, but the game, far too often, has them standing still. (Don’t worry, the game gets plenty difficult later on.) Speaking of later on, there’s plenty if you’re up for it: Sacred Citadel is a ten-hour frolic with plenty of reason to go back and replay levels for better scores with higher level characters. Bosses and mini-bosses are the landmarks of your journey and you’ll find them plenty challenging enough if you (as you’ll see Cody and I below) forget base game mechanics.
Sacred Citadel does well with the style of play it resurrected, but the bashing and slashing gets pretty tiresome. At $15, it’s a hard recommend, but if you’re up for it, there’s plenty to enjoy.