Citizens of Space (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 21.07.2019

Review for Citizens of Space on PlayStation 4

2015's Citizens of Earth was an obscure turn-based indie RPG that was rife with technical issues. In spite of its short-comings, it had a solid foundation that made for a quirky and amusing adventure about a Mayor who brings together the people to save the day. With an art style that conjures memories of Saturday morning cartoons and full voice-acting, anyone who made it to the end would find a satisfying and quirky game with Paper Mario-style combat mechanics. Out of the blue comes Citizens of Space, a sequel that has snuck up on everyone, and promises to be an even more galactic quest for Earth's greatest politician. Is Citizens of Space more of the same, or is this candidate worthy of Cubed3's vote?

When Citizens of Earth came out, it was pitched as "inspired by Earthbound." At the time, this was not as big of a cliché as it is today, since now every indie dev will basically ride the Earthbound nostalgia train as a cheap and easy way to entice fans to buy their game. Citizens of Space shows some respect and drops the "inspired by Earthbound" angle, and actually does try to be original in its story, style and tone. The humour is still a cheeky Saturday morning cartoon style tone where the protagonist is an utter naïve buffoon with delusions of grandeur. In fact it is vague if the Ambassador and the Mayor of the previous title are the same guy. They are designed differently, but they have the exact same demeanour and personality. Perhaps this is the designer's statement on the sameness of politicians in general. The Ambassador won't ever get his hands dirty, and naturally depends on everyone else to carry his hide to the end as he comes off like a sleazy snake-oil salesman or narcissistic weatherman.

Like its predecessor, Citizens of Space is a turn-based RPG centred on building a party. There is a large cast of personalities that have specific roles in and out of battle. As Earth's Ambassador in the Galactic Federation, players will find themselves taking on many side-quests in order to get some of these characters to join his cause in finding Earth itself. From a cybernetic sportswoman to alien chefs, expect a wide gamut of weirdos to join the party. Story-wise, Citizens of Space is as to the point as can be. Recruits can be combatants that fight in encounters or will function as passive upgrades to the Ambassador's options while navigating the universe, while some citizens will serve as this game's version of Final Fantasy-style summons. It is an effective system that makes exploration satisfying since finding new citizens to recruit while exploring is always going to expand the user's options whether it is during a confrontation with aliens or simply blowing up a rock that blocks the way.

Screenshot for Citizens of Space on PlayStation 4

The turn-based combat is very tightly balanced with low enough figures to do calculations mentally. This won't be too challenging to most RPG aficionados who grew up with the genre, as this is definitely aimed for a younger generation just getting into strategic games. Even the gameplay takes cues from successful examples of RPGs aimed for kids like the Mario & Luigi series on the Gameboy Advance. Expect mini-game style inputs for moves with varying degrees of effectiveness... when they work. Sadly, Citizens of Space also retrains the same amount of roughness that plagued the original as well.

A combination of bugginess and the obvious corner cutting for the visuals give this RPG a very low-quality presentation. Music can cut out entirely, leaving the game in an eerie state of constant silence. While the character designs are imaginative, they have almost no expressions beyond their default one. If it wasn't for their walk-cycle or samey combat moves, it would be easy to mistake most of the cast as cardboard cutouts since there is so little in terms of animation. The original Citizens of Earth had the same issue, but this is a sequel and sequels should improve on the original's ideas.

Aesthetically, Citizens of Space does the Saturday morning cartoon look very well. The previously mentioned animation for characters is woefully limited to almost being non-existent at times. The artists lean heavily on a method that stretches what is effectively a still drawing; a lazy way to suggest an idle animation. The scant amount of angles characters can be seen becomes quite noticeable and the copying and pasting of the assets throughout could not be more distracting. There is some interesting game design and ideas to be enjoyed here, but all of it is frustratingly trapped under a very lazy art pipe-line and a mess of code that causes some nasty bugs and long load times. This could have been forgiven in Citizens of Earth since it was the first and was made from a failed Kickstarter. This is a spiritual sequel that should have had been polished and had more effort put into making it look amazing.

Screenshot for Citizens of Space on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Citizens of Space is an amusing comedic RPG that is very rough due to technical issues. Perhaps after the bugs get ironed out it can be recommended, but in its current state it just has too many flaws that will distract. The side-quests are amusing as varied enough to break up the completely linear main plot and one could easy find these optional diversions to be the most entertaining piece to this package. Anyone who enjoyed Citizens of Earth is certain to get a lot of enjoyment from Citizens of Space.

Developer

Eden Industries

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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