Game Reviewed: Citizens of Earth
Date Released: January 20th, 2015
Developer: Eden Industries
Platform [Reviewed: PC], 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Rated: E10+ for Everyone Ages 10 and Up
The RPG genre has been around for a long time and has gone through a steady evolution. The turn-based RPGs of yesteryear have been replaced with today’s Elder Scrolls, Fallout, or Dragon Age, but perhaps none would come to be without the foundation that is the retro turn-based RPG. With that said, Citizens of Earth is a good homage to early predecessors like EarthBound while giving it a nice modern style.
You are the Vice President of the World! Back in your hometown to relax from a successful campaign, you notice that something is strangely afoot. Angry protesters outside your door isn’t too out of the ordinary, but once you stumble upon traffic cone crabs, tele-deers, bubble bees, and other strange anomalies running amok, it’s up to you to get to the bottom of things (with a legion of followers to do the dirty work for you of course, you are the Vice President after all)!
Even as the Vice President, you really don’t seem to have any influence in politics, or in any form whatsoever, but with your charismatic ways you can sway people into fighting your battles for you. Recruiting your new followers is easy enough – see what needs doing and complete the side mission – and once you complete said side mission you’ll have an eager follower, each with skills useful inside and out of battle. You can recruit up to 40 citizens, and honestly, mixing and matching their abilities is probably the most fun you’ll have in-game.
This chapter-based tale takes you across different locations where you can explore and discover items, new potential recruits, and a vicious honey jar bear (one of those honey jars that is shaped like a bear, but wonders around causing havoc). Completing each chapter not only progresses the plot, but allows you to go to new places. The only problem is that to explore all of the nooks and crannies you’ll need to go through a lot of baddies along the way. This becomes such a hindrance that you’ll be less likely to take the time to deviate from the beaten path.
Unlike the titles that Citizens of Earth draws its influence, enemies are visible and can be engaged whether you feel like battling or not. You can engage enemies by simply running into them or having your team of three rush your enemy. You can get a preemptive strike when your target is facing away from you, and if successful, you can take your target out and get instant experience points. However, if your enemy gets the drop on you instead, each of your party members will lose one energy bar that is used to activate abilities in a fight.
When tussling with some rabid protester or bald eagles with toupees, you enter a battle mode with pretty trippy background visuals and from there you can select one move for each party member. The right hand side of the screen will show you the order in which your party will make their moves, so plan accordingly to make the most of your party’s strengths. The previously mentioned energy bar is represented by blue circles are necessary to unleash your strongest attacks and can be replenished by using basic attacks to gain one on the next turn or using items.
The traditional gameplay mechanics, mixed with the various enemy types and team customization, help keep things interesting, but where those traditional mechanics fall short is when you enter a part in the game where the area is so over-populated with enemies – you’ll tire quickly and try to avoid a fight at all costs. I don’t know how fondly you are with grinding in a game, and if it was intentional or not, it just becomes a bit tedious when you go into a battle for the 20th time in the last 10 minutes.
From its colorful hand-drawn style to its bouncy, and in some cases, incredibly catchy tunes (especially the “Boss Battle” track), Citizens of Earth’s presentation is a charming and cleverly written game. Loads of quirky characters to interact with brings on the laughs with some witty dialog with a few gaming references for good measure. The voice actors do a remarkable job in bringing these citizens come to life with diverse and very distinct personalities that it’s no wonder why I thoroughly enjoyed talking with and recruiting these outstanding citizens!
Combat is what is holding Citizens of Earth from being a great game – still good, but not great. The pros and cons of combat kind of even out, but add all of the other fantastic features and you’ve got yourself an amusing 20 hr. trek to set to world back to normal.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5