We all love Earthbound, right? Well here’s a game that’s attempting to take some of the great ideas from Earthbound and improve on them. Citizens of Earth is a Kickstarter campaign started by some members of the team that created Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (among many other games). And in case you want to know what this game is like, the team has released their Alpha demo. I played it, and here’s what I think.
First off, the main character isn’t used in battle, instead filling the role of someone like the Trainer in the Pokemon games. As the Vice-President of the World (which, oddly for us Americans, is an elected position), you’ll go around collecting recruits Suikoden-style: some will join your party in the course of the story, and some you will need to recruit by fulfilling certain tasks before they will join.
The battle system is turn-based, and (on the PC, at least) uses simple mouse controls (point-and-click) to select battle options. One minor complaint here: even when I set messages to appear instantly, the battle system seemed unbearably slow. I normally like turn-based battle systems, so I’m not sure what about the system makes it feel slow, but it will be something to address later on.
The exploration part of the game is a little different. Rather than a point and left-click system that I was originally expected, movement is handled by a point and right-click system to leave the left mouse button open for interactions and ordering your troops to attack. This seemed awkward to me, so I used the WASD keys for movement instead, which works fine. I wasn’t able to try out the promised gamepad support (or even find out if it exists).
That said, the game is far from perfect at this stage. I stopped playing when I ran into a bug in the battle system that simply froze the game. Incidentally, I only stopped playing because I lost a lot of progress, not because I wasn’t having fun with the game. I encourage you to download the demo to play yourself. If you don’t have the time, you can look at this gameplay video from the developers.
Now this is really an Alpha build, so there are some rough edges (like the bug listed above), but over all, this looks like a really solid foundation to build the rest of the game on. Too bad it’s another Canadian Kickstarter (which as I mentioned before, I’m unable to support). The Kickstarter is only asking for $100,000 CAD. I hope it makes it, because I would really like to play it.
If you wish to support Citizens of Earth, check out the Kickstarter page. Pre-orders for the game begin at $15. There are also stretch goals in place for Wii U ($160,000), 3DS ($170,000), PS4 ($260,000), and Vita ($270,000). Funding ends in two weeks on October 20th at 8:47am EDT.