Citizens of Earth is the new RPG from Eden Industries. It’s a colorful and hilarious romp in a world that mimics our own through stereotypes, caricatures, and over-the-top fun. It’s easy to see inspirations from classic SNES and NES era JRPG’s, especially EarthBound, but the smart writing, funny dialogue and addictive gameplay really do help this title stand on its own. At first glance it may not seem like much, but I promise that after you’ve spent some time with this clever title you’ll find yourself more than pleasantly surprised.
Citizens of Earth has the player assume the role of the recently elected Vice President of Earth. Not all is well in the politician’s camp though as the game opens with protestors and your opposing party attempting to shut down your every step. It seems that maybe this VP wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. In fact, it becomes apparent very quickly as to how much of a vain coward this character truly is. Assuming the role of a character such as this would normally be a turn off, but I found that his witty one-liners and undeniable charm overpowered the bravado, and kept me going.
"At first glance it may not seem like much, but I promise that after you’ve spent some time with this clever title you’ll find yourself more than pleasantly surprised."
The Vice President never sees any combat himself, instead he puts himself in the role of a delegator directing his citizens to protect him. Through the course of the game approximately 50 citizens can be recruited. Of course, this comes at a price, and each citizen comes with his or her own quest that must be completed in order to win their favor. I found these quests to be very well designed. They were consistently fun romps that lead me to explore and interact with a lot the world that I normally wouldn’t have.
This kind of recruiting element added a ‘Pokémon’ effect to the game, challenging me to find and collect them all, not just because I’m a completionist but also because each recruited character adds their own dynamic to your party. You can recruit everything from family members to townspeople, each with their own abilities and unique traits that boost your party’s strength. For instance: if you keep the baker recruited in your party you’ll never need to visit a shop for health items, he can just bake them for you (for a price); or if you have a barista she can whip up coffee that will boost your party’s energy giving them access to fierce attacks much more quickly.
"This kind of recruiting element added a Pokémon effect to the game, challenging me to find and collect them all."
Combat is simple and intuitive, but still has a fair amount of depth due to the sheer number of party combinations that are available. You can only have three members in your party at once, so strategy is key. This can lead to a bit of trial and error, but for the most part the game does a great job at preparing you for what’s to come. Upon each victory citizens are rewarded a certain amount of EXP making them better at their day jobs, essentially giving them access to more powerful abilities. The formula is familiar, but never comes across as tired.
"Eden Industries has created a very special indie RPG and if it wasn’t on your radar before it should be now."
Citizens of Earth does a wonderful job of never forcing the player to grind or partake in the world. If you’re just interested in the main story, you can easily plow through it in a matter of hours, but should you fancy side quests and citizen recruiting the title gleefully allows you to explore to your heart’s content. It’s an approach that can easily appeal to casual audiences and hardcore RPG players alike, and its implementation is impressive to say the least. There are other options that help to cut down on the grind as well. For example: I really loved the game’s instant-win mechanic, which is directly adopted from EarthBound. If your party runs into a group of significantly weaker enemies, your party will instantly win the fight gaining small amounts of EXP as a result. Little things like this helped to propel the story along and kept the brilliant dialogue and character interactions at the forefront of the entire experience.
Citizens of Earth may not appeal to everyone. It borrows liberally from past titles, but its humor and charm ought to win over most doubters. Eden Industries has created a very special indie RPG and if it wasn’t on your radar before it should be now. It’s a hilarious and fun demonstration of the classic kid-friendly RPG content of old, but its smart writing and genuine humor will keep older audiences just as occupied. In short, Citizens of Earth is without a doubt the best title I’ve played so far this year.
Review by: Palmer Sturman | Reviewed on: Playstation Vita