Citizen Sleeper Review

Citizen Sleeper Review

Citizen Sleeper Review


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What is it? A dice-rolling role-playing game about struggling to survive in a space station city.
Expected payment: $20/£15
release date: come out now
Developer: Across the times
Publisher: fellow traveler
Comment on: Windows 10, Ryzen 9 5900X, 32GB RAM, RTX 3080
multiplayer game? Do not
Association: Official website

Citizen Sleeper is like Blade Runner, but you’re a clone. A synthetic creature that escaped from the company that built you, you take refuge on a space station that has turned into a rogue state – home to gangs of revolutionaries, refugees and pirates. When you worry about whether you will be hunted down and get shot in the back dramatically, you also worry about your day-to-day survival.

Citizen Sleeper is great at encouraging you to live your daily life. In Cyberpunk 2077, I only went to bed when trying to trigger side quests, whereas here I live a day-to-day cycle of sleeping, eating, working, and feeding a stray cat. Some are mechanically necessary, some are purely role-playing.

(Image credit: Travel Companion)

Every morning, your synthetic body wakes up and rolls a pool of dice, each of which can be used to perform an action. The higher the number, the better you will do. I might spend 6 points on a job helping a local mechanic clear a tangled sun sail on a boat, but I’m not rolling anything higher than a 4, so I’ll probably do it in clearing overgrown greenways A mediocre job where I want to start a mushroom farm.

The lower numbers are not useless, as there is another side to the station. In the data cloud, your consciousness is freed from synthetic meat that needs to eat and sleep, and you hack the system by rolling dice — only here it’s about matching numbers rather than high numbers. I can pay a penny to see what this Yatagan gang agent is up to, or I can hide out of the data cloud and take shifts at the noodle shop, and even if I don’t do well, at least I’ll be able to eat a few noodles and get some energy back.

So not all Blade Runner. Citizen Sleeper finally reminds me of Planetes, a series about blue-collar workers collecting trash in space. Like planets, Citizen Sleepers focus on ordinary people. Exploring each section of the station introduces new characters who are depicted in expressive anime portraits superimposed on the station, alongside text blocks that tell their stories through interactive moments of choice and consequence.

Characters include a botanist researching a strange fungus that grows wild in the station, a bar owner who wants to renovate, a shipyard worker trying to leave the station in search of a better life for his daughter, and the stolen mercenary of “The Heart of the Ship”. You never know who is worth being a friend. Some people may abandon you, waste your time, or betray you. Who do you trust?

(Image credit: Travel Companion)

Their stories unfold over time. The UI will tell you how many cycles are before the next chapter starts, so explore the Rotunda or Center and try not to fall apart while you wait for you to get back to work on the bar or farm stack. Thanks to companies with outdated plans, your status stats are declining. You can spend less dice over time. Like a cell phone or a light bulb, you can’t last. Stabilizers needed to replenish the condition are expensive and difficult to source.

Hunters provide more pressure. Companies or their freelancers will eventually track you down, and every hack you perform will make the beast AI patrolling the station’s cyberspace smell you again. Eventually, reckoning will come.

As Citizen Sleeper continues, you’ll make better use of its system and find solutions to these problems. I make money playing a game called tavla in Tambour Tearoom – like many RPG games, gambling is the best way to get rich – and my mushroom farm is well built. I even moved out of the container where I slept.

(Image credit: Travel Companion)

When I discovered the storyline I obviously intended to find out sooner, I started to feel like I was a civic sleeper who broke the sequence, which would assume I didn’t have certain items or haven’t been to certain places. Even before that, I had a mission to build something before I needed it, steal goods that never showed up in my inventory, and still have upgrades available messages after I used up all of my upgrade points.

Although the writing itself is excellent, there are several typos and some punctuation errors that flag the text. All about the mundane, purging, and survival, it feels empowering to catch the occasional glimpse of something profound—perhaps a poetic depiction of the fluid cloud of cyberspace data and the impossible entities that live within it, or the endless spinning of the space station Physical space, and the little people who find hope there.

(Image credit: Travel Companion)

Citizen Sleeper has multiple endings, some of which keep you playing to find other endings. By the time I’m done, I haven’t seen any attack ships on Orion’s shoulders on fire, nor a C-beam gleaming in the dark, but I’ve unleashed an AI from a vending machine, thwarted Several company foothold plans are on the station, and a bar has been renovated. I didn’t want to leave, I found three endings in one playthrough.

This is the best advice I can give Citizen Sleeper: it has allowed me to build the life I want to continue living. When I go, who will collect the mushrooms? Who will feed that stray cat?

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.