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Citizens of Earth (PS Vita) Review

/ Jan 20th, 2015 No Comments

Citizens of Earth

Homages are a tough line to walk. There are many considerations to take into account. How obvious should the references be? Should it appeal only to those with intimate knowledge of your source inspiration? Where do you find the balance between tribute and an original voice?

Citizens of Earth manages to strike a balance between the clear inspirations it takes from SNES era RPGs and a voice all its own. It blends humor, addictive gameplay, and charm adeptly to create a great modern RPG with retro flair.

People Are Strange

What do you do when you win the Vice Presidency of Earth? Head back to your mother’s house to do laundry, of course. However, what meant to be a simple act of mooching off the kindness of family leads to a series of events that becomes progressively more peculiar. Disagreeing with politicians is the cornerstone of civil participation, but it is a bit much to walk outside your door to a full blown protest. It is up to the vice president, his mother and brother to maneuver through angry protesters and figure out the cause of the protest.
 

Citizens of Earth

This has an A-Team scenario written all over it.

Even after putting an end to the protest, things don’t go back to status quo. No, it is just the start of strange happenstances for the vice president. Bizarre and angry creatures — deer with telephones for antlers, bears made out of honey, demonic hippies, robotic toasters, tanks with pot bellies — start showing up around Home Town and the surrounding areas. Things get bonkers, and the only person willing to figure out why it is happening is the vice president of Earth and an army of concerned citizens.
 

Citizens of Earth

Heart of Thin Mints

One of the biggest charms of Citizens of Earth is its humor. From the jump, it treats players to funny dialogue that helps build characters and move the plot along at a quick clip. Whether it is a concerned police officer warning the veep about Camp Koo-Koo going to hell thanks to child labor and sugary cookies or the veep commenting on a family portrait that he still has boyish good looks, the game nails its humor well. The writing maintains a voice, tone and style perfectly in line with the slick cartoon graphics, and brought to life by stellar voice acting.

Help a Vice President Out

The battle system in Citizens of Earth is a clever take on turn-based RPG combat. Combat is a push and pull between various buffs and debuffs, so knowing when to use them is important. For instance, blinding or inflicting Stop on a strong enemy can turn the tide in battle, allowing you to avoid costly death. A variety of beneficial and detrimental buffs add variety to combat. The major part of battle, however, is the energy system.

High-powered combat moves, whether they be attack, healing or buff related, take a certain amount of energy. Each character has a set limit of energy available to gain. Characters have a number of basic moves that store energy when used (energy carries over each battle), and energy-depleting attacks usually allow a character to take advantage of an enemy’s weakness. Attacks that target a weakness restore one energy for every successful attack, and attacks targeting a strength depletes energy. Knowing when to store energy, use it and how to take advantage of weaknesses to keep up energy gives the game a deceptive depth.
 

Citizens of Earth

This is not right. Not right at all.

Every citizen you recruit can level up and gain new abilities to help improve their acumen in battle. The more you fight (grind), the better your team becomes. Citizen also posses a unique talent that is useful outside of combat. These talents can be improved to “rank 3,” which allows the citizen to pull off much more effective moves. For example, the Scientist character can fast forward or rewind time a few hours with a rank 1 talent, but can fast forward or rewind it an insanely long time at rank 3.

The veep’s brother can order items, part of the perk of being a FEDUps employee, for an inflated fee, and with every improved rank, he can order even more. Most shop-based citizens allow you to purchase better equipment when their talent reaches rank 3, so there is plenty of incentive to rotate citizens in battle to max their rank and enjoy all perks.
 

Citizens of Earth

A diverse group of citizens joins the vice president.

The most addictive aspect of the game is recruiting citizens. In the game, players can recruit an insanely high number of citizens to use in combat. Some citizens join easily — like your mother and brother. However, most citizens take a bit of coaxing to bring them to your cause. These recruitment tasks act as part of the side quests in the game.

While fighting could help players recruit new citizens, another way involves mini games (that are a bit broken). These mini games can be difficult and some involve situation-based aspects. Regardless of what it takes to gain a citizen, it is worth it.

Overall

Citizens of Earth is a great way to start off the year. It brings old school RPG aesthetics up to date with its unique battle system, sense of humor, and unique style. The game also has one of the most diverse groups of fighters in any RPG or game in general, which is a delight.

Not many games allow you to make a team out of a pregnant yoga instructor, a wheelchair bound superfan, and a degenerate gambler (OK, maybe some allow for that one).

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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CITIZENS OF EARTH (PS VITA) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall86%

GAMEPLAY9

The combat in Citizens of Earth utilizes a system of buffs/debuffs and strengths/weaknesses to create deep turn-based gameplay. What becomes most addictive about the game is recruiting citizens.

GRAPHICS8

Citizens of Earth has a gorgeous, stylized art style that bristles with charm. Character and enemy design is top notch. The are some minor performance issues with framerate hitches.

SOUND8.5

While the dialogue in the game is humorous on its own, the voice acting really sells the jokes when present. Voice acting for the vice president is pitch perfect for the character.

STORY9

One of the biggest strengths in Citizens of Earth is the hilarious dialogue. It manages to blend reference and character-based humor well. The story itself is highly intriguing, and sucks you in.

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