Citizen Sleeper - Review @ RPGamer
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Citizen Sleeper Review
Electric Sheep Indeed?
Those familiar with Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Blade Runner or the Philip K. Dick novel that it draws its inspiration from won’t need much in the way of an introduction to the oppressive dystopian vibe permeating Jump Over the Age’s Citizen Sleeper. Part die-rolling tabletop emulation and part choice-based visual novel, the game asks heavy philosophical questions about the nature of existence and sentience while stacking the odds against players in a brutal battle for survival. It does this via power characterization and thought-provoking prose that shine through the game’s uneven pacing.
Players take on the role of an unnamed Sleeper, a being struggling against the defined role placed upon them by their makers. A Sleeper is what awakens when the memories and consciousness of a human are copied and implanted into an artificial body while their original owner is put into a dreamless sleep. Normally, this means a life of indentured servitude for the newly born Sleeper, working in a corporate-owned colony until such time that its artificial body expires and the original human is reawakened. This time, however, things take a different turn, as this Sleeper stows away aboard a space freighter and escapes into the deepest reaches of Space, hoping to experience true freedom.
Overall, Citizen Sleeper is the kind of game one has to be in the right mood for. The setting is cold and alienating, while the overall mood for much of the game is a desperate struggle for survival against stacked odds. Once the stress of this abates, however, there are some genuinely lovely moments of characterization and storytelling that are absolutely worth it to experience. The challenging dice-based tabletop gaming experience is stressful at first, but loses some of its challenge as situations are dealt with, giving way to lovely and thought-provoking story interludes. With the developer supporting the game further with several pieces of free DLC, there’s a good amount of worthwhile sci-fi to experience here.
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