Thursday, 13 June 2024

Citizen Sleeper starts out feeling rather small and sterile. You are a digitised human mind in a robot body on a space station that has seen better and worse days. To start off there’s nothing much you can do except earn a little money by helping salvage parts from your ship. But once you get some food and start exploring the station the flow of stories gently swells and begin to envelop you.

I’m still, I think, pretty near the start. I think that because I’m still living in the empty container I started in. Even so I’m currently trying to help a doctor get away from the criminal gang that controls her, collect information about the station to help a hacker/engineer who promises to help me disable the tracking built into my body so I can stop worrying about having enough money to cover the bar tab of the bounty hunter who, after having tracked me down has granted me temporary freedom of the station as long as I pay for his booze every few days.

I’ve also made some friends — the guy who cooks the stir-fries that keep me alive, a fellow labourer on the colony ship under construction on the station and his daughter and, ummm, a sentient vending machine.

More than many other games, I feel like I’m in these stories and actually care about the people and bits of sentient code. They’re kind and helpful, but not selfless, which makes it feel more real.

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