There are few things in life as difficult or confusing as politics. Anybody can try to better his or her government, sure, but what about looking good while doing it? How do you make your opponents look like incompetent jerks in a way that is both socially acceptable, and enough to win the adoring publics vote? What happens when aliens begin to disrupt your citizen’s very way of life while at the same time threatening to destroy your good standing in the polls? These are the types of problems you must face in Citizen’s of Earth, a new RPG developed by Eden Industries and published by Atlus.
As Vice President of Earth, you are fresh off the heels of a successful campaign. While enjoying some much deserved R&R in your hometown, (don’t worry, the interns can handle the paperwork. Keeping up a public image is exhausting!) You awaken to find your sore loser of a competitor for the vice presidency has staged a protest against your election. While this may seem par for the course, you begin to notice it’s not just the protestors who are violent, but rather every living thing wants a piece of you. Stranger still, the new coffee franchise, Moonbucks has people practically addicted to a new coffee known as the “special blend”. Even the peaceful campers of Camp Koo Koo are in an uproar thanks to the new cookie factory that was built next to the camp to increase production. Sensing something might be amiss and not wanting to miss an opportunity to get some good publicity, it’s up to you, the VP of the world to discover the truth about these strange occurrences.
It’s not your typical story for an RPG, but the writing is just one of the many charms of Citizens of Earth. Filled with plenty of puns and easy to digest political humor, you’ll find yourself chuckling quite a bit as you progress through the story. Sprinkle in plenty of references to pop culture ranging from books to movies, and you have a recipe for success. Plenty of the dialogue features voice acting as well, and the quality of the acting is quite excellent. Without spoiling too much, the game’s main storyline should have you both laughing and engaged with the plight of your citizens as you play.
It should go without saying, but as VP of the world, you are naturally against violence of any kind. So when you’re faced off against angry hippies, sugar-crazed children, and all manner of bizarre wildlife, what’s a VP to do? Get your citizens to do the fighting for you of course! As you progress through the game, you will meet a variety of citizens who will join you in your fight, provided you do some favors for them of course. This is where the game play gets its depth, as there are about 40 unique citizens for you to recruit, each with their own special play style. This level of customization allows you to pick citizens that fit with your style of play. Do you want an all out attack team? How about some support characters that can heal your team or debuff the enemy? You’ve got options to spare, and the way some of your citizens function in your team will truly surprise you.
The combat in the game itself is pretty straightforward. You can attack and weaken your enemy with debuffs, as well as heal and strengthen your party with buffs. Each action will either give or take away energy orbs, which are needed to pull off your team’s more powerful attacks. It’s a simple but effective battle system that flows well. Instead of having random encounters, enemies roam the over world, and you have the option to engage or flee from the potential battles. Sneaking up on an enemy from behind grants you additional energy at the beginning of a battle, and vice versa if you’re the one caught off guard. You also have the ability to send your citizens charging forward into battle, which makes getting the advantage a little easier. Even better, if you’re sufficiently stronger than an enemy, charging at them from behind results in an instant victory, a feature more RPG’s need to include.
While being able to defend yourself is all well and good, your recruited citizens serve another purpose. Each one has their own special ability that can help you along your journey. Need to get to a far away town? The used car salesmen’s perk will let you cruise around in his car. The farmer can combine items you collect to create useful healing and attacking items, and the lifeguard will allow you to explore underwater. With each citizen providing some useful ability outside of combat, it really makes it worth your while to explore the world to find and recruit as many citizens as possible. You even gain experience from examining things in the over world in addition to completing the citizen’s side quests, so it’s just as engaging and rewarding to slow down and explore, as it is to go through the main story.
As you explore the world, you’ll be treated to some nice visuals along the way. The music is pleasant, and it pairs well with the game’s art style. Colors are bright, and animations are smooth, but the enemy designs will truly take the cake, as the game has plenty of unique enemies that you haven’t seen before. If you’re familiar with the SNES classic, Earthbound, you’ll be right at home with the bizarre enemies in a modern world setting.
When all is said and done and the votes are tallied, Citizen’s of Earth is a solid RPG experience that you can take with you on the go with your 3DS. While the Wii U version is graphically superior, the 3DS port still manages to deliver a smooth experience. The game’s battle mechanics and unique citizen recruitment game play offers plenty of fun that rewards both progressing through the story and exploration of the world around you equally. The writing and voice acting are great, and this is sure to be a game you’ll want to play from start to finish.
Citizen’s of Earth isn’t without its faults though, as navigation through the game’s world can be daunting until you recruit the right citizen, and at times you can be bogged down with tons of enemies in some of the shorter dungeons. These faults can be lessened, however, by changing the game’s difficulty. It’s also worth noting that I encountered a couple of glitches during the game, but these were only cosmetic things, such as losing the battle music, or having a speech bubble labeled with the wrong character’s name. It’s easily fixed with a save and a reset, but I’m sure it’ll be addressed by the developer. Despite these minor complaints, if you’re intrigued by Citizens of Earth’s game play and charming humor; give the game your vote of confidence. It’s a solid and unique game you’ll be happy to have played.
PN Review: Citizens of Earth (3DS)
Solid RPG Experience
Great humor and fun game play that rewards progression and exploration awaits. Despite some minor cosmetic glitches, the game proves to be a smooth and great hand held experience. If you want to enjoy the game’s art to the fullest though, stick with the Wii U version.