In the recent past, I have talked about how some indie-developed RPGs are starting to feel more like other popular RPGs than just riding on the nostalgia of games like Final Fantasy VI. There was the failed Kickstarter Americana Dawn that was inspired by the likes of Suikoden. On a side note, Americana Dawn will come back onto Kickstarter in the future, so be on the lookout for it! You also have the upcoming Y2K, which is taking inspirations more from games like Lost Odyssey, and from what I have seen, Persona. Today’s review will tackle the Earthbound-inspired Citizens of Earth. So far, this game has gotten a mixed, but mostly positive reception. I am in the group that really likes this game. In terms of new IPs that is not a re-release, Citizens of Earth is my first good game of 2014. Let’s dive into the world of special-blend coffees and deer with telephones on their head and review Citizens of Earth!
You play as the vice-president of the world. I am not kidding; you are the vice-president of the entire world. I guess no other governments or any ruler of royalty exist in this world. After a huge election campaign, you wake up one morning in your hometown to find that some odd incidences are happening. It is up to you and, well, the citizens of earth to go around the world and find out exactly what is going on around here?! The story itself is very silly, and while it might have moments where it gets a little more mature-themed, like with the psychiatrist’s side quest, you will be laughing more at the hilarious/cringe-worthy puns more so than feeling like you are something smaller in a much bigger plan. Or you know something philosophical like that.
Citizens of Earth is a turn-based RPG. You will go around as the vice-president, and recruit some very interesting characters. Who are these characters? Well, they are your citizens of the earth! Instead of Vikings, mages, warriors, and thieves, you instead recruit people like a car salesman, police officer, bartender, a repairman, a yoga instructor, a photographer, baker, and you get the idea. I mean, you should know that the vice-president himself will not fight his own fights, but will recruit up to three citizens to fight for him! You fight stuff like police officers, bees in bubbles, evil coffeemakers, snails with the need for speed, rioters, secret agents, bugs, birds that look like they swallowed anchors, and so on. Battles take place in a very similar way to Earthbound, where they are somewhat in the first-person, but you see the back of the citizens, so like I said, it is kind of like RPGs that take place in the first-person. A lot of your attacks and “spells” run on a system called energy. Some attacks and “spells” will require one or more energy orbs, and some abilities will give you back energy. You can also get an advantage against the baddies by pressing the attack button on your controller to tell the citizens to charge at the enemy. If you do get this advantage, you can gain some energy to use on your first turn. However, if an enemy comes from behind you and initiates a battle, you will lose energy. Each of your citizens that you can recruit has his/her own special abilities, like the car salesman will let you drive from area to area, the conspiracy guy will let you collect data on the enemies/bosses, the teacher can train your recruits to be stronger, your brother can order items from the FedEx parody, FedUp, and need I say more? Just like Earthbound, you can also get an instant win by being of a higher level and telling the citizens to charge at the lower level enemies. As a result, you will get some experience points for your trouble. So, how do you recruit these citizens? Well, you have to complete certain tasks to get them to fight for you. These side quests range from a race against the car salesman, to having to take care of a giant squid for the lifeguard. You can also find items that you can equip to the individual recruits. Overall, this game has a lot of content for $15, and it took me about 20 or so hours to complete the entire game with almost every single recruit.
The graphics and art-style of the game are very appealing to look at. Bright colors, good animation, and everyone has personality with their individual voices and designs. I also like the touch that everyone is of a diverse ethnicity. Not everyone is just Caucasian Americans. That might have been intentional from the get-go, but I like it. The cartoony visuals are also a welcome change, since it isn’t just another pixel-style RPG. The music is also upbeat and charming. It might not be as memorable as the game it’s inspired by, but I think none of the songs felt out of place. I love the characters. The vice-president is extremely goofy in terms of his personality. He is a bit ignorant and maybe a bit of a jerk, but he is positive, loves his job, and wants to save the world. The voice work is top-notch. Everyone sounds like they should. You can tell they got some pretty good voice talent, including Grey DeLise and Cassandra Morris.
So, what is wrong with this game? While everyone is complaining about the energy system, that is what I am not going to complain about. I didn’t find the system to be so terrible like everyone else is making it out to be. I was able to get through battles and use all the attacks I needed to without any hassle. What I will complain about are the bugs. While playing this awesome game on my Wii U, I kept running into points where the game would freeze. It’s not consistent, but I always got nervous about running into another freeze-glitch. I also found some of the recruitment challenges tedious, especially the ones with the exterminator and the bartender of the soda shop. I think it’s because some of the challenges are not as clear as they should be. I also wish I could have brought up the map so I could look at it and see where I need to go.
In the end, I really liked Citizens of Earth. It’s my first good game of the year, and I am happy to have invested my time in it. Like I said above, it’s $15, and I would highly recommend you pick up this game. You get a lot of content for that amount. If you love Earthbound and indie games inspired by Earthbound, definitely give this game your vote!
This game gets an 8 out of 10