Well, delving into Citizens of Earth, a new turn-based RPG from Eden Industries and Atlus, I was only expecting it to be a short, basic, easy game that may or may not be fun. It turns out to be a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. What is seemingly a small digital title hides what easily could have been a full retail release, yet it only costs a quarter of the price. Citizens of Earth offers much more than your average AAA games released today.
Within the first few minutes of starting the game I was already hooked on its charm. Even more so after the next few minutes when a clever parody of a well known coffee chain surfaces, Moonbucks. The first few groups of enemies including Cappuccinerds and Decaffinators already had me laughing to myself, even further as the story continued, with more zany enemies and characters to be discovered. The game is definitely not short on witty puns and references to other fabled video game franchises that will have you cracking up whilst playing. There is no rigidly set way for how you choose to continue on, with many side quests and challenges to complete. One must also pay careful attention to detail, including what is revealed as clues, many times only being revealed once and could leave you wandering the world aimlessly in hopes of finding what is required. Although there is a HUD available for the current section of the map there is no overall world map. Combined with the default zoom level, the intricate and specific ways that many areas need to be accessed add to the overall challenge. There were some minor bugs that made it a bit more confusing, like part of Chapter 3 was showing it still needed to be completed, while chapter 4 had already been finished. The game itself crashed a couple of times but the auto save is very liberal, leaving little to no progress lost.
As the Vice President of the World, your quest begins with investigating all the strange on goings in your hometown. As you progress, you recruit more citizens to help on your journey. They also are responsible for not getting your hands dirty, as the VP, they will fight all you turn based battles while you cheer them on (no the battles aren’t automatic, the VP just becomes an NPC cheerleader during them). In total, there are 40 citizens that offer varying degrees of quests to recruit. Not only does each one have a level that increases with XP earned in battle, they also have unique talents that also increase with talent XP. Some of these talents are required to progress while others are very helpful, such as fast travel, difficulty slider (which offers differing bonuses base on setting), and removing obstacles on the map. Combat is basic turned based, with 3 citizens of your choosing, partaking in battles. As with their talents, each have unique combat skills, an unlock more through experience, the depth and variation of which can greatly alter the outcome. The voice acting is intentionally cheesy, yet puts shame to some other big name video game appearances of late that were rather lackluster. The VP especially, left me constantly reminded of an Adam West type performance.
Overall, Citizens of Earth is an intricate, detailed, fun filled experience. Those that may scoff at it for its appearance of a small or indie game are truly missing out. Some have said it’s a knock off or a lower version of games of old, yet it is nothing of the sort. Of course there are similarities based upon the game’s inspiration, but it has enough merit to stand on its own. I enjoyed all 43 hours and 3 minutes that it took to achieve 100% completion and now that I have a full idea on the layout and progression, I look forward to a second play through. Those looking for a throwback, turn based RPG cannot go wrong with Citizens of Earth, especially at $15.99 (or less with PS Plus and Steam sales). So hop to it and save the world today.