This is not the kind of game you will have seen a lot of. At least, not on modern console formats. As this Citizen Sleeper review will discuss, this is not an action game by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, the tension is real. As you progress through the game you’ll find that more often than not you’re being lead down a path that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
Citizen Sleeper is a text-based adventure game. It’s not a visual novel, but rather a modernisation of the likes of Zork. By ‘modernisation’, we mean that you don’t just choose how the story develops. Instead, you must interact with the world around you and discover what secrets lie within.
The game begins with a choice of two classes, offering only minimal insight into how each will play differently. You take on the role of a ‘sleeper’. That is, an artificial construct featuring a digital copy of a human’s brain. You begin the game unaware of what you are, awakening in bad shape on a massive space station. A local resident looks kindly upon you, informs you of your situation and aids you with food and work. However, it’s very obvious to everyone else you meet exactly what you are, and your friend soon gets nervous of assisting you further. Soon, you’re on your own. Be careful who you choose to take as friends.
Interaction is done in the form of making choices, which can lead to random results. At the beginning of each turn (dressed up by the game as a ‘cycle’) you are allotted a number of ‘dice’ depending on your condition. These dice can then be used to attempt to perform various actions – gaining money, hacking systems etc. – which in turn can lead you down new story paths. You never know which actions will reveal new characters. Often, your investment in a current plotline can incidentally unravel new threads.
It’s a complex system that goes far beyond the ‘enter dungeon or head for the hills’ options of text-based adventures from yesteryear. Additionally, the story is so well written that you’ll become involved with your favourite characters and plots very easily. As you may have learned from this Citizen Sleeper review, the game isn’t going to throw any dexterity challenges at you, but it will provide a gripping adventure nonetheless. To put it bluntly: if you like text-based adventures, you’d better not sleep on Citizen Sleeper.