'Citizens of Earth' Elects A New Formula For RPGs

January 23, 2015

Role playing games have been around since the advent of the video game. There has always been something appealing about stepping into the shoes of a character in a foreign land, and taking them on an adventure, while you watch them grow as the story progresses. It's one of gaming's deepest, and most beloved genres, with titles that span all kinds of different players. The latest RPG to give turn-based combat a go is Eden Industries' Citizens of Earth; a game that offers a fresh take on narrative, art style, and gameplay, while evoking pangs of nostalgia at every turn.

Developer: Eden Industries
Publisher: Atlus

One quick glance at Citizens of Earth, and it's clear that this release is unlike any other RPG that you've ever played. That unique feeling that C.O.E. elicits is partially because it's from a developer that you've (likely) never encountered before. Eden Industries only has one other title under their belt, Waveform, an action-puzzle game that's nowhere near the RPG genre. However, the team behind Citizens of Earth has no shame about showing their love of classic RPGs, and even though this is only their second game, they clearly have something special on their hands. In support of this new studio, one of the most respected publishers in the industry, Atlus, came on board to help bring this little title to the people. Hopefully their vote of confidence will bode well for this small studio, and give them the break that they need to go up against the big boys.

Citizens of Earth gives players a chance to take on the role of the newly elected Vice President of Earth, on his first day in office (and the beginning of his vacation). While spending some quality time with his mom and brother, the VP stumbles on to a sinister plot, and he must take charge to keep the Earth safe. In order to combat a wide variety of baddies throughout the world, the VP must recruit as many folks as possible to join his team, and use their unique skills to battle whatever stands in his way. Now, the Vice President of the Earth can't put himself directly in the line of danger, so each of the citizens that you recruit fights on behalf of the VP, who directs each of their moves in turn-based battles.

Citizens has a rich world, presented with a cartoony art style, that could give players the misconception of it being a children's game. It's not. The battle gameplay alone is surprisingly deep and increasingly more complex as your team expands, and the characters level up. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on the kind of game you're looking for), the game is very forgiving, and lets you play on with minimal losses, even if your entire team is exhausted. This makes Citizens of Earth a very accessible game that most players should be able to pick up easily, but it may turn off more hardcore RPG fans.

If you have what it takes to be Vice President of Earth you can pick up Citizens of Earth on your PlayStation 4, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita, or PC (with Steam). That's enough platforms to get just about anyone taking their turn in battle in no time.

Citizens of Earth has a lot of things going on. First and foremost, it's a competent RPG that clearly pulls inspiration from gaming royalty like Earthbound and Suikoden. Fans of those games should give Citizens a shot right out of the gate for a fun trip down memory lane with some interesting twists along the way. At the other end of the spectrum, Citizens of Earth attempts to overcome one of the biggest challenges in all of the games industry - making a funny game. Citizens does everything it can to lampoon a wide swath of topics, from politics to baristas, and, for the most part, succeeds. Certain aspects of the humor and gameplay can get a little grating, but overall, for a second game, Citizens of Earth offers a unique experience that most RPG fans should enjoy. While the game may not offer the depth of some other RPG franchises, it makes up for it with its sense of humor, and oddball cast. If you're looking for something a little different that still feels familiar, and you can deal with a corny joke every now and then, Citizens of Earth is sure to make for a memorable adventure.