Citadel: Forged with Fire is an online Sandbox RPG from Blue Isle Studios and Virtual Basement LLC. In Citadel, players assume the role of magical beings who are quite literally born in fire. As with most RPGs, there is a leveling system that grants players access to new spells and abilities, but the interesting thing about this game is how you use them.
Citadel is still in early access, which means there is currently only one map to play on. That being said, it’s a great map that gives the player an excellent backdrop to play against. After some exploration, I discovered that this map is filled with caves full of loot and resources, buff-granting landmarks, and even a few fast travel points. If that’s not enough, you can always find a nice piece of land to start building a castle or fortress of your own (I’m partial to building in natural acid pools, myself.)
While exploring, you’ll find yourself with plenty of NPCs to interact with (read: nuke and loot) by way of your arcane abilities. Nothing feels quite as badass as flying your Battle Mage over an Orc village and raining down fireballs on the way back to your home base. If you’re not content with simply annihilating the creatures of the realm, Citadel lets you tame and give direction to anything that’s within 10 levels of your character. This allows you to create a stable of anything ranging from bunnies and orcs, or to really have fun and explore your inner “Daenerys Targaryen,” by way of riding massive dragons and wyverns.
The only thing better than taming magical beasts, is taming them without worrying about how hungry your magical ass is. Citadel waves goodbye to survival bars; allowing players to focus on enjoying their arcane ways, rather than managing their epic thirst.
Lastly, I would encourage anyone who picks this up to play online with others. Nothing will alleviate the grind of resource gathering and help to building a better house than playing with others. It’ll also give novice players a little bit of leeway when spending skill points, so one person doesn’t have to spec into crafting every damned structure. Remember it’s important to spread the responsibility, so you don’t compromise the ability to learn the next sweet skill.
Did that last statement sound like kind of a down note? Great! Because that was a segue into…
No use in sugar-coating it, this game can be slow. Slow to load (up to 3 minutes, mind you I was playing on a standard hard drive), slow to start a new character, slow to level, and (when you’re just starting out) slow to enjoy. Especially if you’re playing alone; Remember how I mentioned you should play with others? At one point, I felt the need to set experience gain to five times the normal level in order to expedite my play through for this review in a solo game.
The grind is real. Expect to spend a lot of time staring at the ground and mashing ‘E’ as you forage for whatever you can find for the first five levels, before finally unlocking the “Extract” spell, so you can gather resources from trees and stone deposits. Player progression could definitely use some work; having to grind to unlock the ability to make something, only to then have to seek out the materials to make said thing, feels like progression speed bump overkill.
At it’s core, Citadel is a solid sandbox RPG in the making. The rough edges are enough to put off some newcomers to the game, but if you can get some friends together (or find some online) you’ll find a fun sandbox for living out some fantastic wizard fantasies.
The game is definitely in Early Access, but Blue Isle Studios seems to be pushing regular updates, and have made their Trello open to their playerbase, allowing for them to vote on upcoming tasks, which is huge. Hopefully, they will keep pushing regular content updates and maintain a good level of community involvement – which so far, they very much have. I have faith that this could turn out to be a really great game, but for now, Citadel: Forged with Fire still needs some time in the furnace.