The story is barebones and quite simple and straightforward at best, with some help from the presentation and art style. There are four characters to choose from and then you go out and kill things and loot. It’s a game very much like the old school TMNT/Simpsons beat em up side scrollers you used to play in the arcade. There really isn’t much to talk about story wise. There’s characters to play as and there are bosses to kill along with many, many lesser enemies. The fantasy setting is nice but overall nothing stands out.
Here the art style is probably the best part about Sacred Citadel. The game looks great, and has a cartoonish feel to it. The game runs smoothly and the character design is fantastic. Each of the four characters carries their own style to it, so there is never any chance of losing track of your character doing a 4 player brawl. The environments look bold and unique and the soundtrack accompanies the setting fantastically.
It’s a side scroller. You run to the right, you attack things, you pick up loot and you attack bigger things. You level up and spend skill points on trees like Attack, Defense, Dexterity or Power. The attack styles, while all different, all do similar damage to enemies so you’re not really disadvantaged OR advantaged from picking one class over the other. The controls on keyboard are a little unwieldy, so if you have a gamepad, go for your life.
You can also visit a town to buy and upgrade equipment or some boosts along with choosing to engage in an optional bonus mission where you opt to clear stages in various restrictions for extra cash. It’s like a cross between Golden Axe and Torchlight. It’s not very deep, but it is serviceable. For the price, Sacred Citadel does the job. With a partner in two, it’s more fun. Co op (when you can find a damn game of course) is twice as fun, bringing back old memories of putting coins in the arcade machine and trying to speed run to the end on Mountain Dew and Doritos (that brings back a less pleasant memory…), the experience alone in the early 21st century was enough to satisfy.
The art style is fantastic along with character designs and environments, but the gameplay is lackluster at best and only gets fun with an online partner in the mix. Maybe the game was built for a co-op experience, despite the incredible difficulty it is to find a partner. But it is fun and cheap and if you have a friend or two that you want to bond with, you could do a lot worse than Sacred Citadel.
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