Commentary

04/25/2013

Sacred Citadel Review

Our official look at the side-scrolling beat-'em-up.

By: Alexandra Geraets

Filed Under: Action Indie Review

SacredCitadel

Sacred Citadel is a side-scrolling beat-‘em-up adventure that looks and plays like a Saturday morning cartoon from the 1990s, but it is still an entertaining experience, good for a few hours of play. Solo campaigning is entertaining and a decent enough challenge, but the game is best when played with a few friends.

Selecting one of four heroes – warrior, ranger, mage, and shaman – sets the game off after a brief narrative introduction. Each class sports a unique appearance, though they all possess roughly the same type of melee and ranged attacks, plus additional skills that unlock as players complete levels. Solo campaigners will find the dodge button and area attacks advantageous during these encounters, while groups of players should have no trouble using their respective strengths to keep the battles largely in their favor.

There is a familiar fantasy story behind this game – the Citadel, the seat of learning and power, is in danger; you have to save it – though it only shows itself between acts with a dramatic narration that feels straight out of a cartoon. Characters are designed in tune with the animated fantasy style, complete with swords, staves, magic, and plenty of ugly critters to fight. There’s even the odd animal you can ride, and it’s a nice change up in the gameplay.

The world is colorful and varied, with environments ranging from towns and swamps to outposts and mountains, making sure that while the same types of enemies are being thrown at the player repeatedly, the levels are never completely repeated. Environmental hazards add some variety, especially in mines where nimble players can let the mining carts take care of enemies, while avoiding damage themselves. Co-op and multiplayer can allow for some interesting maneuvering of these hazards.

This is a competent game, and really the only misstep is in the music, which is heavily digitized, and just doesn’t fit. While not every fantasy game can have a Skyrim-esque score, Sacred Citadel would have benefitted from better music, especially considering that the minimal voice acting is professional and perfectly fits the Saturday morning cartoon tone of the game (this is a good thing).

Sacred Citadel is an enjoyable enough experience, and with a few friends in tow it might remind some players of classic arcade games like Gauntlet. Solo players will find a moderate challenge, but the game is intended to be multiplayer, and is best appreciated when played as such. It’s a good way to spend a few hours if you and some friends are looking for a visually appealing, nostalgic button mashing experience.

***

 6

Sacred Citadel is praiseworthy and flawed

This review based on an Xbox 360 copy of the game provided by the publisher

Filed Under: Action Indie Review

About the Author:
Alexandra Geraets is an fan of story-driven video games. She's an even more avid fan of exploring how and why they resonate with all of us. Her essays have been found on Village Voice Media.

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