Much as I had a lot of complaints about it, I’m also pretty sure that a lot of you will quite enjoy Citizens of Earth, and I suspect a number of you are aiming to pick it up today. It’ll probably seem quite familiar to old-school JRPG fans and it’s certainly not the hardest game in the world, but there are still a few stumbling blocks – who should you recruit first? How do you recruit this guy? What is with that bloody hedge maze?
Don’t worry. If you’re new to the role of Vice-President of the World, this sub-committee approved guide is here to help you find your feet in the murky world of politics, human resources, and battling telephone/deer hybrids.
Brother is one of the first two party members you actually get, and thankfully, he’s also tremendously useful. His basic attacks are all physical, meaning nothing resists them; he has abilities that focus on solo enemies or groups; and he synergises really well with Mom’s ability to lower the defence of everything she attacks. Not much in the way of exploiting elemental weaknesses, but he’s a solid damage-dealer who can take some punishment.
I’m not going to talk too much about synergies in this article because there are way too many, and a lot depends on how you’re levelling your team, but Brother was one fantastic little synergy with himself that might make tricky bosses a bit easier.
One of the earlier pieces of equipment you’re likely to find halves Brother’s attack stats, but lets him perform every action twice. This works staggeringly well once he’s gained a couple of levels up a bit, because he gets access to an ability that buffs his defence. Use that, and rather than gaining two stacks of defence, he gets four. This makes him nigh-unkillable for a few turns.
If you’re in a boss fight, you can use this and then follow it up with a provoke attack to force enemies to aim at him. Rinse and repeat. If the rest of your party dies anyway (due to the taunts failing, or party-wide attacks) then you can forgo the taunting and just focus on dealing damage instead; as long as you keep up the defence buffs every couple of turns, you might well be able to squeak past with just Brother alive.
Fast Travel 1
One of the first Citizens you’re going to want to pick up is the Car Salesman, because using his talent whenever you’re standing on a road gives you a car. This means faster travel, and it also means that you can just drive over enemies to instantly kill them… and get a whopping 1XP. Okay, so he’s not much use if you’re grinding, but in terms of getting around quickly and safely he’s a pretty big help.
You’ll find him on Crystal Beach, just east of Home Town, which – if memory serves – you’ll be able to access at the start of Chapter Two. To recruit him you’ll have to perform a little driving minigame which shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, not least because there’s no penalty for failing. Just ram into enemy cars to build up your energy and you should be fine.
One little tip that I can’t guarantee will work, but should: recruit Yoga Instructor early.
I haven’t managed to recruit her yet because review schedules meant I didn’t have the time to devote to her, but if I understand her requirements correctly, she’s a lot easier to recruit either at the very start of the game or at the very end.
Here’s how she works: to recruit her, you need to have every recruited character at level 20 or above. No, not the characters in the active party – every character you’ve recruited. Which means that this is really easy to do either at the start of the game when you’ve got very few characters, or at the very end of the game when you can easily power-level anyone who’s lagging behind.
Considering her ability is to manually adjust the stats of your characters, I’d say she’s probably worth picking up sooner rather than later if you’re into min-maxing. You can either find her in the gym at Home Town South, or on the lighthouse hill on Crystal Beach. If you want to get her early, it’s probably worth skipping recruiting as many people as you can until you’ve got everyone up to level 20, then pick her up, and then go back and recruit everyone else.
As I said, I can’t guarantee this’ll work, but it should. I found her too late for it to matter to me, but maybe it’ll help you.
If you’re not that fussed about picking up Yoga Instructor early on, then there are a couple of extra Citizens you can pick up as soon as you end the protest at the very start of the game. Teacher, found in the school next to the eastern bridge, is one of these.
He’ll happily sign on if you can ace his quiz, which can either be done by painstaking research over the next couple of chapters, by a bit of guesswork, or by combining the two. Or you can read the answers below. Just don’t tell him you cheated, okay?
- How much does a Bun cost at the Bakery? – $15
- How many exterior doors are there in the Capital? – 18
- How much health does a Bubble Bee have? – 18
- Where does your brother work? – FedUPs
- What island nation is south of the Capital? – Panjama
- Where does the plumber find items that were washed down the pipes? – Flushmoor
Smells Like School Spirit
The school is also where you can pick up the School Mascot, who offers some buffs, some Verbal attacks, and the rather handy ability to adjust the game’s difficulty on the fly.
He’s a bit of a weird one to recruit. Once you pick up his recruitment quest, his spirit will start popping up for a turn in random encounters, buffing the enemies, and then running away. It doesn’t seem to regenerate much (if any) health in between these appearances, though, so the basic idea is to inflict damage when it appears, and then find another random encounter so it’ll appear again. Kill it off, and then return to the school to pick up another Citizen.
There’s a little trick you can abuse as soon as the school is unlocked, actually, and you don’t need Teacher to do it because you can use his talent without recruiting him.
Teacher lets you train your Citizens by enrolling them in school: after a set amount of time, they’ll pop out with a healthy bundle of experience. But if you don’t fancy waiting… just head upstairs to Scientist, and ask her to move time forward an hour. Bingo: instant experience.
This will very, very quickly drain your funds if you rely on it, but it’s a handy alternative to grinding for experience.
Money Makes the World Go ‘Round
Speaking of money: there’s no super-easy way of getting money (not until the very lategame, anyway) but you seem to get way more from completing sidequests than from random battles.
Fast Travel 2, 3, 4, and 5
Car Salesman aside, a lot of the Citizens are geared towards letting you zip around the map with a degree of haste. Pilot can instantly drop you off at set locations, Captain lets you sail the briny seas, Psychologist lets you travel through the dream world, and Hacker can digitise you to travel through the computer networks.
The only one of these whose recruitment might puzzle you is Pilot, so here’s how you pick her up: drive into the screen at the drive-in theater. No, really. Do this once during the day and once at night, and if you successfully complete the pair of minigames, she’s all yours.
Not Very Relaxing At All
I complained quite a lot about the Executive Resort (found to the west of Panjama Island) in the review, so when you actually get there…
Firstly, the hedge maze. You want to get to the centre. You’ll probably also want to explore the locations off each side of the hedge maze to find a few more items, including – if memory serves – one of Cat Lady’s precious missing kitties, but the centre is where you’ll find Gardener. You can make things a little bit easier if you keep an eye out for Beekeeper; she’s hanging out somewhere on the western side of the maze, and her ability to zoom the screen out really comes in handy.
Next, the two relief guards. One can be found on the map to the east of the resort itself – just follow the bridges and check your map to see where the Secondary Objective marker is, and you’ll find him soon enough. The second is located upstairs in the building just to the northwest of the main resort building. The upstairs can either be accessed by hopping along the top of the hedges (by going out onto the upstairs balcony of the main resort building), or by using a Citizen talent to get up from the ground floor. I think you need Handyman and I think he needs to have his talent ranked up to either level two or three, but I honestly can’t remember. I’ve tried to block this entire area out of my mind.
This is getting dangerously close to a glitch, but it’s one you can abuse to make your life a little bit easier. A select few enemies in Citizens of Earth play a little animation before they start chasing you (crabs, in particular). This is helpful enough in itself… but if you open the map or the menu, they’re immediately put back to their “docile” state, so they have to play the animation again before they start moving. Take a few steps, open the map, close the map, repeat.
Backtracking for Fun and Profit
Most enemies in a dungeon tend to run from you when you’ve beaten the boss of that particular dungeon. What this means is that, rather than battling your way through countless fights to find all of the treasures, you can simply beat the boss and then pretty much wander around in total safety, picking up anything you missed and fighting at your leisure.
This won’t work with some – beating the boss in the Moonbucks basement locks you out of that area for quite awhile, for instance – but it’s worth bearing in mind.
Not Backtracking for Fun and Profit
One last little tip: as far as I can tell there are no items like Escape Ropes in Citizens of Earth, and quite regularly, finishing an area will force you to backtrack through the entire dungeon. There are two ways to deal with this.
Firstly, Firefighter’s talent is Rescue, which instantly takes you out of any given dungeon and returns you to the VP’s house. Level this up to its second level and you’ll also get Return, which takes you back to wherever you were Rescued from.
Secondly, loading a game tends to put you back to the entrance of the screen you were on when you saved. If you really can’t face the trek back to the entrance of an area, just save, quit out, and load your game. That’ll help you skip at least a little walking.