Citizen Sleeper

released on May 05, 2022

Roleplaying in the ruins of interplanetary capitalism. Live the life of an escaped worker, washed-up on a lawless station at the edge of an interstellar society. Inspired by the flexibility and freedom of TTRPGs, explore the station, choose your friends, escape your past and change your future.

Reviews View More

It's everything I've ever wanted out of a tabletop game. The rolls and skill tree are present enough to feel like I have a real input and customization in the actions of the character. Just enough interactivity to separate it from a visual novel.
Which is all good and gravy, but the main appeal is in the excellent setting and narrative.
Tabletop games like DnD have plagued me for a long time. I love the concept of them. Immersing yourself in a role and telling a group narrative. Unfortunately they never actually play out that way. The sessions I've experienced always turn into a frantic rush to the nearest dungeon or fight and then 5 hours of trap checks and the absolute slog that is tabletop combat. This of course is all dependent on your group and your DM, but for me, these sessions were a nightmare and have completely soured my opinion of games like DnD.
Citizen Sleeper gives me a taste of what I've always wanted out of DnD. I played the game from start to finish playing the role of the sleeper and doing what I thought my character should do and I was rewarded with every step. The world is easy to immerse in, the multiple narratives are all excellent, the rolls of failure and success effectively simulated the failures and successes of real life that tabletop dice rolls are supposed to simulate. My motivations were one to one with my character. I didn't do stuff so I could min/max my engineering stat line. I did stuff because I needed to eat, I wanted to help my friends, I had to pay off a rough customer. When I eventually got to a point of comfort, where I could make a steady income and survive, I felt a weird sense of pride. The Eye, in real time, began to feel like a home.
The creator of this game in a recent interview said he could keep making games and stories in the Citizen Sleeper world for years and if that's the case I'm ready for it.

A beautiful and poignant reflection on the richness of our human life through the lens of impoverished transhumanity.

really nice character writing and worldbuilding, i only wish it was longer so the characters could be fleshed out more. i have yet to play the additional content so it could fix this complaint

Citizen Sleeper has a dense, sometimes even suffocating atmosphere: one full of textures (the Sleeper's synthetic skin, the ink-black color and consistency of space), sensations (the cold floor and the annoying flickering of the lights), colors (in the outlandish outfits of the characters), smells and tastes (the spiciness and rich flavour of Emphir's fungus), sounds (the mechanical whirring and the bleep bloop)...
The world in which these sensations immerse the players is built around the typical cyberpunk premise in which a robot, neglected by the corporation that created them, is forced to live in the edges of an interplanetary society run by capitalism while being chased by bounty hunters. It's a story we've seen before in works such as Blade Runner (adaptation of the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick), but that at least I won't ever get tired of seeing. The writing itself is not bad (it reminds me too much of fanfictions for some reason), sufficient to make the player advance the story and want to experience its development.
Where this game really shines is in the artistic design department, with a beautiful environment design and an even prettier character design that will make you want to hang a poster of the characters high up in your unit where everyone can see it.
The soundtrack is full of ambient music that does its job at providing accompaniment to the story without it being too memorable itself, which is one of its low points for me. I kept expecting for the music to get a little bit more lively, with catchy, drum and bass cyberpunk songs, but maybe VA-11 HALL-A spoiled me too much. Oh well.
Even if the gameplay, addicting at first but stagnant once you get used to it towards the second part of the game, is simple, the writing of the story and the characters along with the atmosphere and the art design make this game a treat to the fans of the cyberpunk genre and a very immersive experience to spend a few days on: either playing or reflecting on the dichotomy between body and mind and the plethora of themes Citizen Sleeper deals with.
Your body isn't yours and it will always betray you

A rare game that seamlessly melds the core game mechanic into a rich world built on layers of narrative (and some killer art and sound). Spend 5 minutes on The Eye and it'll feel like you've lived your whole Sleeper life there. Spend 1 hour on The Eye and, for all it's rusted containers, failing life-support, and crushing spiraling existence, you'll want to call it home.