Posted on January 20, 2015, Mitchell Saltzman Citizens of Earth Review – Gotta Recruit ‘em All
It’s crazy to think that the Kickstarter for Citizens of Earth was not a huge success, because on paper, this is a game that JRPG fans — and specifically fans of Earthbound — have wanted for a long time. A tongue-in-cheek comedy RPG that is unabashedly inspired by the Mother series, incorporates the addictive recruitment/capture mechanics from great RPG series like Suikoden and Pokemon, and meshes them all together in a modernized HD package.
Despite an unsuccessful Kickstarter though, indie developer Eden Industries continued on with the game until Atlus swooped in and offered to publish it, giving the developers the opportunity to deliver upon nearly all of their intended stretch goals.
The result is a game that is absolutely brimming with personality, charm, and creativity, but at the same time, is also held back by some frustrating design decisions, a lack of interesting characters, and some substantial technical issues on the PC version.
Citizens of Earth
Platform: PC (Reviewed), PS4, PSV, Wii U, 3DS
Developer: Eden Industries
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Citizens of Earth places players in the shoes of the newly elected “Vice President of the World” who wakes up the day after his election to a world that has gone crazy. The streets are filled with angry protesters that are for some reason rallying against him, there are honey bears that are literally made of honey hanging out in the forest, and everything seems to be tied to a shady coffee shop named Moonbucks that’s selling people on their “Special Blend.”
It all reeks of a conspiracy, and its up to you and your army of everyday civilians — including an appropriately named “Conspiracy Guy” — to get to the bottom of it.
Recruiting new citizens is as easy as running into them and simply asking them if they’d like to join your cause. Of course, in typical RPG fashion, they’ll have you first perform some sort of favor for them, whether it be completing a pop quiz for the Teacher, finding evidence for the Cop, or completing a number of achievements for the Camp Counselor. It’s always exciting when you come across a new citizen and get to see not only what you have to do for them, but what they’ll be able to do for you once you recruit them.
Each citizen has a unique talent that can be ranked up the more you use that citizen in combat. For example, the Vice President’s brother works for FedUPS, so his talent is giving you access to an item shop that will ship purchased items to you after a certain amount of time has passed for the delivery. The more you level it up, the more items you can purchase. Other talents include the Used Car Salesman’s ability to call upon his car to quickly drive down the roads, the Cop’s ability to offer you bounties on tough enemies, and the Homeless Guy’s ability to search through trash cans, just to name a few.
But what’s truly impressive about the recruitable citizens is how unique they feel in combat, and also how well their playstyles suit their occupations.
In order to explain that though, we need to first talk about the actual battle system. Just like in Earthbound and Super Mario RPG, there are no random battles in Citizens of Earth. Enemies walk around in clear view and battles can be avoided if the player can manage to maneuver around them without getting touched. This can at times be tough to do since you constantly have a party of three following the Vice President, and if any of them get touched by an enemy, the battle will commence.