Citizen Sleeper merges the RPG with the visual novel, wrapping it up in a brooding sci-fi blanket. Playing as the titular Sleeper — an android with the emulated mind of a human being — you explore Erlin's Eye, a vast space station run by corrupt corporations and inhabited by people making the best of it. As you progress, you'll meet a great cast of supporting characters, and it's here where the game's strengths lie.
Each day (or cycle), you wake up and roll up to five dice. You then navigate the Eye and spend your dice to perform actions at each location. These vary from working in the shipyard to investigating a conspiracy, and it's up to you what to prioritise. The higher the roll, the better the chance of a good outcome, but low rolls aren't useless, often required for certain hacking-related tasks. Meanwhile, you need to keep on top of your condition — which gradually depletes over time, limiting how many dice you can use — and your energy.
It's a little confusing at first, but the system is a delicately balanced one. For a large percentage of the game, you're kept just about in control, but unlucky rolls may interfere with your ability to make money or progress certain objectives.
Speaking of which, the game is essentially a series of stories that are largely text-based. Fortunately, save for some typos here and there, it's well-written; most of the characters you meet are interesting individuals with varied backgrounds and struggles. Each of them will give you Drives — narrative threads to follow that, when complete, reward you with an upgrade point. Some of the upgrades are incredibly useful, so it's worth finding and finishing Drives, but it helps that the storylines are engaging enough to pull you along.
Unfortunately the game falters somewhat at the end, with multiple conclusions that don't feel particularly fulfilling. However, overall the journey is a worthwhile one. Citizen Sleeper hooks you with its elegant presentation, thoughtful narrative, and memorable characters, and despite one or two small missteps, it's an engrossing, atmospheric experience worth a roll of the dice.