Citizen Sleeper - A Dystopian Masterclass (Review)
So I recently finished playing Citizen Sleeper and found myself sitting in a kind of stunned silence as the credits rolled in front of me. This really is one of those games that gets under your skin and starts to make you think some deep questions. I truly hope more people play it, because it raises the kinds of issues that don’t often get covered in video games.
So here’s my review for Gareth Damian Martin’s new RPG Citizen Sleeper which is out on Switch, Xbox and Steam (which is where I reviewed it).
Wake up Sleeper
The game begins with you waking up in an emulated cyborg body which is the property of Essen-Arp corporation. Your consciousness is a copy of someone else’s and all your dreams and memories are a confusing scramble of random thoughts. It’s impossible to define who you really are, which sets the disorienting and dystopian tone that lasts through-out the entire experience.
You soon discover you’re a stow-away on a run-down space station called Erlin’s Eye. After being given an old shipping container to crash in, you end up scraping through the first few days (called cycles) doing odd jobs. One day you’re working at the shipyards salvaging for spare parts, the next you’re hacking data and selling it to corporate unions and street gangsters.
Roll the dice
The bulk of the game is played like a table top RPG, with you being allocated five die at the start of each cycle. Every critical action you take, from hacking terminals to unlocking doors and searching for scrap are all governed by the roll of a dice. If you roll too low, you’ll get a negative outcome and lose health or stamina. If you roll high, you’ll achieve the objective and advance.