Citizens of Space
Developed By: Eden Industries
Published By: Sega
Category: Comedy RPG
Release Date: 06.18.2019
Citizens of Space is the long-waited sequel to Citizens of Earth, but with an all new art style, and several new mechanics. The game continues its legacy of quirky characters and pun-filled comedy and that is what really makes this game what it is. Obvious comparisons arise to a Rick and Morty, or other sci-fi-based animated comedies like Futurama, and a battle system that has changed from its predecessor to it’s current one that more so mimics one like what you will find in the South Park RPG titles (The Stick of Truth or Fractured but Whole). This RPG takes the genres general mechanics and class takes and covers it in a really fun setting, and with great writing you have an experience that is something to take note of.
You play as the dad joke machine of an ambassador in this comedic take on politics. You are the official Ambassador of Earth in the Galactic Federation. Earth is the newest planet to join the Federation, and has some road bumps at its onset, as somehow the planet is missing. Yes, the whole planet. You get mocked in your opening welcome speech for this, and the pronunciation of the planets name, and must leave before you had planned in order to try to figure out what happened to your home world. From here you must recruit people to your side in order to fight through battles and discover the mystery behind the missing planet.
You will meet an eclectic cast of characters that will join you on this adventure, from the tiny adviser who helps you from the onset, to the pirate who’s ship you use to travel the universe, to the local ice cream shop robot. This game is insane when it comes to the number of characters you can recruit to fight for you. The sheer number is astronomical, and nearly everyone you can have a conversation with can be recruited to your cause if you can help them out with a side quest in the meantime. I have never played a game with this level of RPG recruitment, like I have played a ton of RPGs, and games like Skyrim or the like offer a great number of recruitable sidekicks, but this game takes that idea and injects it with steroids. You really won’t find a lack of interesting characters to add to your portfolio here.
Along with the inclusive nature of this games recruit system you also find no lack of uniqueness between characters. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of drag and drop characters in this game that are there just to take up space, however, the characters that can be recruited and the ones that matter to the story all come with their own flavor. You have some generalizations here and there, and a lot of the comedy the characters present is from a similar vein, but you really have a lot of differing personalities when it comes to actually getting down to the nitty gritty of who the character is. All personality types are present, and they would have to be with the number of interactions you can have that actually have an influence on the game. This is what makes this game what it is and is clearly the bright spot in this title.
The only downside to the story and characters is the repetition of the main character into the end game. You have all the quirkiness and style presented, and they have a very Family Guy style of pun-induced comedic style, but because the protagonist is who you here from the most you have a little bit of repetition that can get old over time. There is a line where the game can’t continue to be wholly unique, and with an RPG that tends to be a longer experience it is no surprise that some of the more used dialogues get run through several times before its all over. Still, the charm of this game overall is where you will find the most you will enjoy throughout the game.
The battle system is generic when it comes to the RPG style where you have a turn-based system of attacks and item usage with variations on how you can attack between characters. You have power attacks, power-boosting attacks, healers, and the like, and a large number of consumables that can either increase power, health, etc. All of this is what you can imagine if you are familiar with the JRPG genre in the slightest. The variation this title takes on comes from games such as the South Park RPG series where each character had a few different attacks, and instead of just choosing an attack and sitting back you have to stay involved through quick time event button mashing activities. You have a defend mechanic where you press a randomly chosen button at a specific time and take less damage then you normally would. On top of that you have attacks that need you to button mash random buttons accurately, or several variations on the QTE mechanics presented in games like this. This is a perfectly usable system, and one that other games have utilized as mentioned, however games like South Park use these and offer really interesting animations to go along with these based on there own series’ humor. This game doesn’t have that backing, and stay pretty kid-friendly, and thus these systems are lacking in a depth that makes them very interesting. You also have a lack of user-friendly options to make the battles more fun. The main mechanic for leveling in JRPGs is the random battles, and this game has them as well, but with a lack of a good way to heal between matches (health maintains as you continue) and there being no sense to the random fights (they just happen as you walk around; no tall grass mechanic) you have an overall battle system that is as tedious as the genres worst. Now I am not trying to completely roast the mechanics, as they are well done with what the developers were going for, however the light-hearted nature the games narrative is going to bring in a group of people who are not going to enjoy how the fighting work, unfortunately.
The arts style comes straight from one of the cartoon makers out there and is really paired well with the humor of the writing. Very unique and detailed character models are used throughout and you will find one of the most diverse casts of playable characters on the planet in this title. You also have a soundtrack that pairs well and does its job but isn’t something that will blow you away.
Overall, this title brings a really fun narrative to a genre that can easily get too serious. There are not enough comedic RPGs and I could easily see a game like this getting a partnering cartoon on one of the various networks that would do very well as the diverse universe building and characters are perfect for that setting. Sadly, the RPG mechanics laid on top of the story really bring this experience back down to Earth (unless it’s still missing, then I don’t know where). The game has a great aesthetic and charm, and I can recommend it for anyone who likes the idea of playing through this comedic story, but there are better RPG examples out there.