Title: Citizens of Space
Developer: Eden Industries
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Reviewed On: PS4
Games that focus on humor can be a hit or a miss. When the humor is done well, the game obviously keeps you laughing but also simply lets you continue to enjoy the adventure you’re on from beginning to end. On the flip side, if the humor isn’t done well at all, you’ll end up becoming tired and annoyed with it altogether — to the point that moving on to a different game sounds like a better option.
The Eden Industries developed and Sega published tongue-in-cheek humor, zany RPG Citizens of Space — which is a follow-up of 2015 released Citizens of Earth — thankfully does humor the right way. It doesn’t feel like it’s repetitive and forced by any means, making the intergalactic adventure relatively enjoyable. As someone who didn’t have a chance to play Citizens of Earth, I can’t share how much of an improvement Citizens of Space is when compared to Citizens of Earth, however, I can say that while the game manages to make you have a pretty good time.
Citizens of Space has you step into the shoes of the newly-elected Ambassador of Earth. This is a momentous occasion for the happy-go-lucky main character, and on the first day on the job, his mission is to deliver a resounding speech. Sadly, however, he finds that things go awry as, during his speech, he discovers that the Earth has just vanished out of thin air. It’s from here that you go on a vast quest to uncover what exactly caused this major problem, all the while taking on a mix of missions and recruiting folks to help out along the way.
The main plot is quite whacky, I mean just imagine what it would be like if Earth did actually vanish. That said, it doesn’t become an actual sprawling story full of twists and turns, but it does have a good chunk of humor sprinkled in — thanks to hilarious writing that’s paired up well with enjoyable voice acting — to keep you entertained. Regardless of this, the likable albeit odd characters you meet not only keep things interesting but they also serve as support characters in battle. The roster of characters you can recruit is deep and diverse, and not every character is the same at all. Just to give you an idea, you can have a powerhouse robot cowboy that wields two pistols, and even a robot pizza delivery guy join your party. All of these characters are recruited by completing a series of tasks, which, unfortunately, basically are repetitive fetch quests, however, they are at least related to the character you’re trying to recruit.
While the quests are lackluster, the battles you take on in Citizens of Space are nicely similar to that of battles in the Paper Mario series as the turn-based combat system focuses on pinpoint timing-based actions. What’s particularly neat about how its implemented is that when using one of a character’s abilities, there’s a quick-time mini-game that occurs — some of them have you doing a single press of a button at the right time once the ability bar is completely full, whereas other ones require multiple button presses. This unique element alone is what keeps battles so engaging, making every single battle you take on to be so rewarding.
What’s more, is that there’s a wide range of actions to choose from that require you to be a bit more tactical in battles. Rather than choosing to attack every single turn, you need to decide whether to deal out a massive attack, de-buff opponents, or use items at the right time. Even when not on the offensive, you still need to be quick to act fast as every attack from an opponent can, if your timing is just right, either be blocked to decrease damage or even avoided entirely.
There are only a few problems with battles, however, that could make some players find them to be a little repetitive. The main culprit behind this is that battles happen randomly. Yes, that’s right, random battles are a thing in Citizens of Space. Now, I happen to like random battles, I think it makes grinding easier, but for this game, I think it would’ve been best to not have random battles. It’s a pretty easy game to get through, so having battles be optional would’ve let players decide to grind or not to grind (that is the RPG dilemma we all run into, right?). That said, there is a way to decrease the chance of random battles occurring, so really it’s not too big of a deal. What may also grind your gears, though, is that there isn’t an auto-battle option to help speed up the pacing of battles, so you end up having to sink a ton of time in battles, which of course, hurts how the game is paced overall.
Outside of battles, there are plenty of planets to explore. Unfortunately, as aforementioned, most of the quests you take on aren’t all that exciting. Also, all planets you set foot in are massive, which for some players, could make going from point A to point B to be more tedious than it needs to be. With all that said, at least the cast of characters you have can help make exploring a little more enjoyable as some characters have support abilities, like one that lets you smash objects to access new areas, that does add a nice dash of variety for the exploration gameplay.
Visually speaking, Citizens of Space has a charming cartoon-like art style to the point for it reminds you of the good old days of Saturday morning cartoons. Character animations are expressive, and purposefully, over-exaggerated to make the game even more silly. That said, there are visual issues that are bound to throw you off, such as character model glitches. Speaking of issues, there are loading screens that come up every time you enter or exit a building, which is a little annoying. Thankfully, the soundtrack does well to capture all the zany spirit of the game.
Citizens of Space isn’t going to blow your mind and it never really turns into that large of an epic adventure. However, with its entertaining combat system, fun humor, and unique cast of characters, it’s definitely worth exploring. The overall package does come with some rough spots, but if you can look past them, you’ll end up enjoying some fun time with the Ambassador and all of his friends.
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