Originally posted February 15th 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Title: Citizens of Earth
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 01/20/2015
The main game/story
Inspired by older RPGs such as the Mother series and Dragon Quest, Citizens of Earth tries to be unique in its own way by putting you in the role of the Vice President of the World as he attempts to find the cause of mysterious events happening all over town. Revived by Atlus USA after the failed kickstarter, was it worth being resurrected with extra support?
This game uses a very charming art style similar to the colorful natures of comic books and cartoons, and it fits the game’s humor well, as the art style allows the game to not take itself seriously without any consequences on the story or gameplay, thanks to the great designs of the characters and backgrounds. The Wii U Gamepad is also used in a clever fashion here, with the display of the in-game tablet showing up on the Gamepad, fitting the game nicely. This also leads to the menus being easy to navigate on the Wii U Gamepad, since anything you want to do to check on a citizen’s special traits or your inventory can be done by selecting it on the gamepad.
Music and sound effects:
Citizens of Earth may seem like it’s going to be yet another simple RPG with the usual “Epic music, little voice acting, just get stuff done already” routine, but it stands on its own merits thanks to the cheerful music that plays throughout the adventure. Since the game takes place in a world similar to our own, it wouldn’t really make sense to include the stereotypical epic adventure music common in a ton of other RPGs, so what’s here really fits the game’s aesthetics quite well, especially considering how it’s inspired off of the Mother series.
By far the best part of this category is the voice acting. For an indie game, you’d likely only expect minor pieces of voice acting every once in a while, and even then they would all be done by the same few voice actors. Not in Citizens of Earth! No doubt thanks to the support from Atlus, there is a lot of voice acting in this game, for all of the numerous citizens and NPCs. While not every single line is spoken dialogue (Examining minor objects for example doesn’t usually have voice acting for obvious reasons), there is a lot of it, and the humor is brilliant as well. Each citizen you recruit has their own unique personality, and the voice acting just makes it that much better!
Despite the fact that you take control of the VP in the overworld, you actually don’t use him to fight in battle. Instead, your trusty Citizens will be sent into battle as the VP observes their actions. The battle system is pretty simple, reminiscent of games like Lufia and the Fortress of Doom among other titles, where you enter a first person perspective and attack the enemies on screen in a turn based battle, as you use energy to perform more powerful attacks. Each character has their own form of a basic attack, some of which are very amusing (Such as the VP’s mother yelling “You’re GROUNDED!” at the enemy), and these tend to do very little. The key to success in this game is managing your energy wisely in order to use more powerful attacks, to either increase an ally’s attack points, lower the enemies defense points or heal your fellow citizens, which becomes very important especially in some boss battles.
Speaking of citizens, as mentioned earlier they each have their own personality, which also can have an effect on how they perform in and out of battle. For example, the VP’s brother can use lots of strong physical attacks in battle while also allowing you to order items from FedUPS outside of battle, and the School Mascot allows you to change the difficulty if the game becomes either too easy or too difficult. With 40 different citizens to discover and recruit, it allows for quite a lot of variety if you get tired of your current team.
Unfortunately, the Wii U version of the game has quite a few fatal bugs that can cause numerous problems, some minor, some much worse. The ones I encountered were mostly weird glitches that softlocked the game (in other words crashing the game without it making that irritating buzzing noise), along with glitches that simply produced minor oddities such as cutscenes not activating, entering a battle while talking to a NPC (This crashes the game), the dreamworld being invisible, ETC. Luckily Eden Industries is almost done with a patch to fix these problems, but as of right now it’s quite buggy and if you aren’t careful and don’t save often, you may end up being quite frustrated with this game. The long loading times whenever you enter or exit a building aren’t that great either, as they tend to drag out the game whenever you simply want to enter a building to investigate something.
In conclusion, Citizens of Earth is a rather unique game, taking some inspirations from the Mother series and building upon them, while having its own sense of character thanks to the high quality voice acting and the well designed characters. The writing is good, the cast of characters are memorable and each citizen does different things that makes them unique. However, the numerous glitches that can softlock the game and cause other problems makes this game tough to recommend for now, especially at its $15 price. But if you can look past the glitches, you will find that this game is an enjoyable adventure. I give Citizens of Earth a 7 out of 10, and recommend it to any Earthbound fans willing to look past the glitches and long loading times, as there is still a solid game to be found here.
Thanks to Atlus USA for the review code.