Citizens of Earth Preview: Saving the world, EarthBound style!
It's funny to think that a title that used the tagline “this game stinks” has actually gone on to inspire so many modern games. Yes, I'm talking about EarthBound. I mean, duh, it's only the greatest RPG of all time! Well, at least to me it is. In any case, another recent game that proudly wears its EarthBound inspiration is Citizens of Earth, a quirky, comedic, and lighthearted RPG from Eden Industries that still does plenty of things differently to help it stand out from its SNES forefather.
You play as the Vice President of not just the good ol' U.S. of A., but the entire world. Obviously, such a daunting undertaking is suited only for a person who could actually qualify as a world leader, but that's not the case here. No, instead, you're a delightfully lovable oaf of a Vice President ... whose mom still wakes you up in the morning to start your day.
Like most RPGs, you build a party of playable characters in Citizens of Earth. Unlike most RPGs, however, your group of ragtag heroes doesn't consist of mages, knights, and healers. True to its name, you must gather the many citizens (baristas, your brother, etc.) you come across and enlist their aid. Of course, like any true, hard-working politician, you won't be engaging in battles yourself. No, you're putting your loyal citizens to work and having them do your dirty work, all in the name of justice!
Combat will be instantly familiar to anyone who's played EarthBound. Battles are turn-based, enemies are wacky, and the battle screen is filled with strange hallucinogenic colors and patterns. You've got basic attacks that deal damage, but there are also some super powerful attacks that use up points and require cool-down. Then there are also other useful techniques, such as the main character's mom's ability to completely heal another party member while sacrificing herself.
The main quest line in Citizens of Earth spans roughly 10 hours. That said, you can spend roughly between 15 and 20 hours if you attempt all the side missions and seek out all of the citizens. There are a total of 40 party members for you to recruit, and doing so usually requires you to complete specific tasks before they join you.
Eden Industries CEO Ryan Vandendyck explained to me that he didn't want to go in a traditional (and obvious) pixelated direction with the art style. Citizens of Earth has a clean, colorful, cartoony look to it that's actually quite refreshing for this style of comedy RPG. The whole thing has this snazzy retro cartoon look that really helps it stand out from other similar games.
As a longtime fan of EarthBound (as well as a bunch of games that it inspired), I'm stoked to see more of Citizens of Earth. The game has an engaging combat system, fun characters, and great art. Fans of Nintendo's SNES classic should definitely keep a lookout for this game when it launches digitally on the PlayStation 4, Vita, Wii U, and 3DS on October 14.
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