Citizens of Earth | Review

Citizens of Earth proves that Vice Presidents are actually important people.

Citizens of Earth for PC

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An already colorful world is changing. An seemingly perfect society is being slowly corrupted by a coffee shop with almost out of this world flavors. From a small chain store, this Moonbucks store chain has spread to every nook and cranny of Earth (sound familiar?). Weird and wonderful creatures are popping up everywhere to hamper the daily lives of people the world over. It’s up to you, the Vice President of Earth, and the trusty Citizens of Earth to halt these strange goings on.

Right from the get go, Citizens of Earth makes no promises to be a serious tale of one mans struggle to save the world. You play as the Vice President of the World: an egotistical and often unintentionally stupid fellow who epitomizes every political caricature ever drawn. He symbolizes capitalism along with everything that’s perceived to be wrong in the political system, yet becomes a loveable character who simply doesn’t seem to know any better. His lack of capability in the world of politics actually forms the basis of a mesmerizing experience.

As the Vice President, you gather a party of increasingly strange companions and make your way through the world. At the beginning of proceedings your mother and brother (because of course, the VP lives at home) make up the group. During the runtime of this lengthy tale new friends can join the group. Bodybuilders and pilots can go into battle alongside a computer programmer or barista. The cast of weird characters never feels like it’s there just for comic relief however. Citizens of Earth creates a simply beautiful world in which anything can be a powerful adversary or ally within the narrative.

Gathering a diverse party is incredibly important when playing Citizens of Earth. Players of Earthbound-esque RPGs will be right at home with this game’s systems. You go into battle with three chosen colleagues, using their abilities against those of your opponents in turn-based combat. That isn’t three comrades and you; after all, you’re the Vice President. You don’t do any of the dirty work. You instead direct those who you select to battle on your behalf in the abilities they should be using. Sounds pretty simple right? Actually it isn’t. Far from it.

You see, beneath Citizens of Earth‘s friendly exterior is a surprisingly deep RPG. Battling enemies initially is a simple task where basic attacks are using to charge up on energy to then unleash slightly more powerful abilities. Within a matter of hours, you’re going up against basic enemies to save up this energy to dish out effective abilities on villains who are vulnerable to special attacks. The way these effective abilities work is different to that often seen in other RPGs.

Rather than just a slightly higher level of damage, effective abilities are refunded of the energy spent upon them. By the same notion, if an enemy is strong against a certain type of attack it will absorb a further energy point. It might seem rather simple but the amount of depth this brings when you’re heading into further areas is so that if scientists were to investigate, they’d need deep sea diving robots to truly appreciate it.

From here is where your party’s importance is paramount. If you use a group which specializes in verbal attacks, creatures which are strong against them will tear apart your offenses and leave you much weaker than usual after battle. The trick is to have a trio on your side which is able to deal a swathe of different types of damage. The School Mascot is a fine example of this variety of skill types. His attacks are fairly strong but almost completely verbal. This means that against most enemies he will be capable, but when coming up against some like the Fear-Crows of Greenlands he is almost useless.

Unless you make fine use of his secondary abilities that is. He’s able to funnel energy points from one party member to use them for his own skills, which include a group heal or experience boosts. With numerous abilities available to each of the Citizens of Earth, forming the perfect party is both rewarding and oddly infectious. Citizens are also able to utilize talents which make your life as Vice President much easier. Using the School Mascot as an example once again, his talent is to offer the ability to change Citizens of Earth’s difficulty on the fly.

The talents of every character make the idea of recruiting every single one of the Citizens of Earth a tempting prospect.  Most of them have talents which can be leveled up too, adding to their desirability. There’s 40 of these collectible Citizen’s to find too. Whether this is a simple way to provide the player with plenty to do, or a scathing satirical commentary on western political process as nothing more than a supporter-measuring contest between two sides who actually do nothing to help the world, it’s an awesome aspect that gives Citizens of Earth tonnes of longevity.

Not that it needed this boost. Citizens of Earth is already a game with the arresting power of a small police force. It invades your dreams and infects your daily life like an illness – a good one that makes everything shiny and more fun. As far as content goes, you can easily pump over 24 hours solid into Citizens of Earth‘s main storyline and still not see the end of the tunnel. If you want to delve into every recruitment session, challenge, sight-seeing venture, and minigame, Citizens of Earth can in theory provide somewhere in the 40 hour range of content. At $14.99, that’s pretty good in itself.

Why would you buy it, though? So it’s got an interesting combat system and loads to do. Other games have offered more and still not been recommended purchases. The writing and presentation are enough to give you that satisfying surge when you’ve dipped into a game you just bought. That feeling of reverse buyer’s remorse. Buyer’s joy? Nah, that sounds more like a bad economics joke. Either way, they’re fantastic.

The aesthetic of Citizens of Earth is almost unnervingly colorful. When put alongside the many fathoms in the game, it can seem to be at odds with the political undertones and thought-provoking battle system. It’s a refreshing change, though. Most games in the recent world of development feel an almost unnecessary need to give everything a gritty, realistic feel. Eden Industries, developer of Citizens of Earth, thankfully seem to have decided this wasn’t fitting of the story they wanted to tell, preferring to create an inviting, cartoonish world in which to have players explore.

To put it into other words, playing Citizens of Earth is like watching a Teletubbies special on the finer points of Quantum Mechanics, only to come out actually understanding what the heck it’s all about.

This visual style helps to make Citizens of Earth‘s already stellar writing and voice acting deal an even greater impact than alone. When grouped up with the fact you’ll be battling against coffee beans given life, motorized snails, and gigantic bears full of honey (call him Winnie, we dare you), the often laugh-out-loud delivery of some lines just endears you to Citizens of Earth even more.

It’s all a powerful case study in synergy. The wacky characters or satirical humor of Citizens of Earth alone are clever in their own right, but not enough upon which to hinge the success or failure of a game. By combining all of these aspects, Eden Industries have achieved something remarkable in creating a game which can appeal to everyone while also providing just enough focused content to keep those looking for certain things happy. If anything, the only problem Citizens of Earth presents is one of a rare time where you aren’t entirely clear of where to go or what to do.

This year so far, having only just started, has been a little dry. No small hits have really dragged their way out of the pit that is January. Citizens of Earth bucks this trend, making it a must buy for any fan of RPGs, games to make you smile, or just a downright fun experience at a fraction of the cost most AAA titles are sold at.

Citizens of Earth is available on PC, PS4, PS Vita, WiiU, and 3DS. There’s even a discount if you buy it during the first week of release on any platform.

About the author

Chris Jecks

Chris Jecks has been covering the games industry for over eight years. He typically covers new releases, FIFA, Fortnite, any good shooters, and loves nothing more than a good Pro Clubs session with the lads. Chris has a History degree from the University of Central Lancashire. He spends his days eagerly awaiting the release of BioShock 4.