Developer: Jump Over The Age
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Reviewed For: Nintendo Switch
Also Available On: PC, Xbox
Solid RPGs with heavy inspiration from tabletop RPGs will always be embraced. The game gets bonus points for being a science fiction game focused on choice and narrative. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that Citizen Sleeper from developer Jump Over the Age gets a lot of points.
Citizen Sleeper is a text-driven RPG by Fellow Traveller and Jump Over the Age that is heavily influenced by tabletop RPGs. In this neat little game, players inhabit a space station in rough shape, filled with people just trying to survive. Players take on the role of a Sleeper, an artificial person on this station, who recently fled from a corporation. Now payers need to survive like everyone else, doing jobs, making pals,. And uncovering secrets about themselves and the world around them.
The tabletop influences are immediately clear when players roll dice at the beginning of a cycle that will determine the actions that are available to them. The amount of dice available is determined by how well players take care of their characters. The results of the dice determine how successful their actions are. High rolls increase the likelihood of success when doing a job or making friends with people.
The cycles take time to understand, but eventually players will fit right into a routine. Eventually players won’t just be working during their cycles. There is plenty to interact with in Citizen Sleeper, and players will also need to keep track of how their actions affect their likelihood of being found by the corporation they ran from. Players also will need to avoid negative interactions that come about as a result of their rolls, or they can permanently burn bridges.
Of course, Citizen Sleeper is driven by its narrative, and the story is told especially well. Even if there isn’t too much to the gameplay, the characters and world can easily suck players in. The various quest lines and side objectives are all compelling not because rolling dice is that fun, but because they actually feel like they are worth investing in. The characters are colorful and well written, and the multiple paths and endings give players the opportunity to get acquainted with everyone and everything in the game.
The entire narrative is complemented with a great cyberpunk aesthetic art style and fantastic synthwave OST. The controls aren’t perfect though, and navigating the gorgeous menus can be difficult with a controller. It’s not the worst experience, but it’s obvious that the game was designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind. If players have some patience, this is an otherwise great performing experience on the Switch.
Citizen Sleeper is light on gameplay but heavy on atmosphere and compelling tabletop RPG elements.