[Beyond PlayStation] Citizen Sleeper Review
Citizen Sleeper from Fellow Traveller and Jump Over The Age is an outstanding cyberpunk RPG you have to play on Nintendo Switch. Find out why in our Citizen Sleeper review!
Citizen Sleeper from Fellow Traveller and Jump Over The Age is an outstanding cyberpunk RPG you have to play on Nintendo Switch. You’ll be taking on the role of a worker – the titular robotic Sleeper – who managed to escape from a shady megacorporation, ending up at a lawless station on the edge of interstellar society. Between the game’s gameplay mechanics, the way the story develops, and the choices you can make along the way, this one certainly screams tabletop cyberpunk RPG adventure… which is right up my alley! On top of that, this publisher and developer combo previously gave us In Other Waters on Nintendo Switch, so I was definitely up for checking out Citizen Sleeper!
But before you can begin to dive into everything that Citizen Sleeper has to offer, the first step will be to pick the class for your character. There’s the Operator, who works with drones and high-precision remote machines to get the job done, with a perk to gain Cryo during interface actions. You have The Extractor, who usually works in hard vacuum environments to extract resources, having a higher endurance than others, and with a perk that makes it possible to recover energy at home with the Sunbathe dice action. You could also go with the Machinist, who is handy at repairing and modifying automated systems used in industrial resource extractions, making the most of its chance of gaining random scrap items when performing engineer actions.
As you wake up, you realize that something is wrong. There’s a delay between thinking about what you want to do and being able to do it. Your joints slowly begin to come alive again as you start to feel the warmth of light hitting you. You’ve been dragged out of a container and can’t really remember where you are and why you’re there. It’s then that Dragos greets you, asking if you’re almost ready to go. You’ve escaped from the corporation, and since you’re technically now using their property – a.k.a. the body you inhabit – they won’t stop until they’ve recovered it. You technically can’t survive on your own without the corporation’s support since you require to take a supplement that only they produce. You’re going to have to find a way to get your hands on more of it, and fast, or else your initial effort will go to waste.
Your new life at Erlin’s Eye will be measured by cycles, during which you will get to interact with other characters, explore each location and perform some actions. Once a cycle ends, you will go back home to rest and try to recover a bit. Your artificial body will quickly deteriorate with every passing cycle, and it can also suffer additional damage depending on the actions you participate in. If you want to survive, you’ll have to find a way to collect Cryo, a cryptocurrency stored in memory sticks known as Chits.
There are many activities you can participate in that will reward you with some Cryo, but their success will depend on the roll of your action dice. The number of dice that are rolled will depend on your current condition, and the more dice you have to roll, the better your odds of success. The worse off you are, the fewer dice you’ll be able to roll – catch-22 and all that. Once all dice have been used, you won’t be able to perform any more actions and must go rest to end the current cycle.
While your body might be artificial, you still need to eat to survive in order to keep your energy going. Your energy will deplete by two segments with each cycle that passes, so you’ll have to find some food to counter this. If you run out of energy, then you’ll end up starving. Starving is really, really bad since, instead of losing energy, you will start to lose condition, all while your condition depletes at twice the normal rate for each cycle that is completed.
You’ll have to decide what you’re going to do during each cycle so that you can have a chance of staying alive and away from the corporation’s watchful eye. You could go to the yard for some manual labor, searching between the machinery for parts and sometimes finding some valuable tech. Select the action you’ll perform at the yard, and you’ll then have to assign an action dice to it. Once you roll the dice, the outcome can be positive – with the action going better than expected. It can also be normal – which means the action succeeds – or negative, thus leading to failure and an adverse effect.
Actions can either be critical or repeatable. Critical actions can only be performed once. An action might have a risk for you to consider. The risk can either be safe, risky or danger. For safe, there’s no loss of condition, energy, or Cryo. For risky, a negative outcome for the action will make you lose some Cryo or energy. If the risk is danger, then a negative outcome will make you lose condition, as well as Cryo or energy. Do be aware that you can’t just take on actions as you please since you’ll need to have the skill that said action requires to affect the dice and increase their value.
As you progress through Citizen Sleeper, you will unlock drives. These will give you some info that will send you towards working on specific objectives, leading you down the story path you decide to take. By pressing the L button, you can track the drives you can follow up on and can select them on the map by way of the yellow markers that will be placed. You should also make some time to access the data cloud for the Eye so that you can use your dice to extract valuable data that can prove to be very useful for your survival.
As you progress through Citizen Sleeper, your character will grow and improve, gaining upgrade points that can be spent to further develop its skills and abilities. Say you picked the Operator class for your character. Spend an upgrade point, and you can improve your engineer or intuit skills so that you can be more efficient at extracting random scrap items when performing engineer actions and to be able to approach dice actions with more knowledge on the positive and negative outcomes. You could also spend a pair of upgrade points to unlock the self repair skill, which will allow you to use scrap components at home to repair your condition. Maybe you want to invest in the instant karma skill, which makes it possible to reroll all of your dice once per cycle.
If you’re looking for a cyberpunk tabletop RPG style experience with an interesting art style and a synthwave soundtrack that does a great at hitting all the right notes, then Citizen Sleeper is for you. There’s a lot of replay value in this one. Between the classes you can play as and the different endings to unlock, you’ll be coming back to this one for a while. On top of this, three new DLC episodes for the game will be released at no extra cost, with the first one – Flux – already live on Nintendo Switch! Each episode will introduce new characters and new content, expanding the experience, which is certainly a good thing! Citizen Sleeper is out on Nintendo Switch with a $19.99 asking price, and it’s one a must-play on the console.
This Citizen Sleeper review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Fellow Traveller.