Citizens of Space is the follow-up to the 2015 RPG Citizens of Earth, and features the same tongue-in-cheek humor and goofy art style. While the original game was fun it unfortunately suffered from sluggish pacing and repetitive gameplay. You can definitely tell that this is something the developer, Eden Industries, has tried to address to varying degrees of success.
This time around you’re placed into the narcissist shoes of the Ambassador of Earth. It’s a pretty big day for our bumbling protagonist as our wonderful planet has just been accepted into the Galactic Federation. It’s the Ambassador’s first day on the job and he’s due to deliver an important speech. Unfortunately for him, he finds out midway through his oration that the Earth has mysteriously disappeared.
It’s hard to be an ambassador of a planet that no longer exists and so it’s down to you to travel across the galaxy and investigate. The story is just as zany as you’d expect but the real praise has to go to it’s kooky cast of characters.
To begin with you’ll be travelling around with just your trusty assistant, his dry sarcastic nature is the perfect thing to balance out the Ambassador’s enthusiastic but incredibly simple-minded personality. Saving the Earth won’t just fall on the shoulders of these two and it isn’t long before you’ll start recruiting all kinds of weird and wonderful citizens to your cause.
Every character you meet has it’s own delightfully quirky personality and so it’s great to welcome as many of them as possible into your team. Lots of the conversations are filled with amusing pop culture references and political satire and so it’s really entertaining to watch all the witty banter between them.
People aren’t exactly queuing up to join you though. You’ll first have to complete a side-quest before they’ll even consider working with you. Every recruitment side-quest is different, with activities like helping a park ranger find some lost children, reporting a crime to a judge, and even showing off your musical talent to a pop star.
There’s always something fun to keep you busy and it’s really great that there is such a variety to these tasks and that they aren’t just boring repetitive fetch quests. With so many quests to undertake it does sometimes feel like the main mission of trying to save the Earth gets forgotten.
Whether you’re trying to find out what’s happened to the Earth or trying to tackle one of the recruitment quests you’ll need to explore one of the many numerous labyrinth-like maps. Unfortunately navigation is a big pain in the butt.
While there is a mini-map that you can use to find your way around, it’s unfortunately not particularly clear. There were so many times that I followed what, on the map, looked like a path to the next area only to find that it was actually a dead end. The quest icons on the map are also frequently misleading so you’ll end up spending a lot of time wandering around feeling lost and increasingly frustrated.
Fight, fight, fight!
You’ll frequently be whisked away to do battle with random enemies. These fights are turn-based and are very similar to those in the previous game. You’ll need to build up energy by performing certain abilities and attacks and this energy can then be used to unleash more powerful skills. What makes the combat much more fun this time around is the use of quick-time events and mini-games.
Every time you select an attack you can complete a simple QTE which, if successful, will increase the power of that action. There are quite a few different styles of these games but they mostly involve you pressing a button at precisely the right time, or mashing a button as fast as you can.
If you’re not particularly keen on this new addition to the battle system then there’s a character you recruit early on who can help. The Teacher can completely remove all the mini-games from combat. While this is a really great accessibility feature it also highlights that the combat hasn’t really evolved much from the previous game, remove the mini-games and it’s pretty much the same system.
The combat system gets a little bit repetitive but what does help alleviate this is all of your new recruits. Each of them has very different attacks, many of which are strongly related to who they are. For example you have an angler with many fishing based attacks, or a popstar with musical themed skills. It’s fun to play around with them all and find a party that works well for you.
Your recruits aren’t just useful in battle but can also be essential in helping you explore new areas, like the mole’s ability to destroy boulders or the park rangers ability to help you survive in hazardous environments. There are also characters who can reduce the random battle encounter rate or even show you pretty concept artwork.
Citizens of Space Review - The Earth Needs Your Help (PS4)
You can really see that the developer has tried hard to address the criticisms of the first game. The mini-games are a fun new addition to the combat system but don’t totally eliminate the repetitive nature of the fights. The memorable cast of characters and kooky storyline helps to keep things fresh but ultimately this isn’t too different from the first Citizens game.
Citizens of Space review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.