Game Recs

2022’s Most Slept-On Indie Gets a Dazzling Finale in Citizen Sleeper: Purge

Goodbye, Sleeper.

Citizen Sleeper key art
Fellow Traveler

In more ways than one, Citizen Sleepers final DLC is an end. The third episode (Purge) of post-game content for one of 2022’s best indie games quickly makes it clear to players that the primary setting, a space station called the Eye, is no longer sustainable due to a supernatural threat called the Flux. As both the player and the Sleeper’s last moments spent on the Eye, Episode Purge is a perfect sendoff to one of the best games of 2022.

During the two hours that it takes to complete Episode Purge, residents of the Eye as well as the refugee flotilla docked to the station ask you the same question: Will you stay or leave? There is no guarantee that you will be able to stop the Flux. As the player, you need to choose a fate for the Sleeper. Will you risk everything to stay on the station that has become your home or will you pack it up and leave with the flotilla in hopes of a new life somewhere else?

No matter which decision they make, this is the player’s last moment with the Eye and every character they have met and built relationships with over the many months between the base game release and the subsequent release of every post-game episode. What Episode Purge asks the player to do is to choose the best future for their Sleeper — and figure out how to say goodbye.

For me, this was a near-impossible decision until the very final moments of Episode Purge. I had made a Sleeper who found value in the community around them on the Eye. I had grown from being a refugee in need of saving from those around me to a respected member of the community who others come to for aid. Tala, the bartender, had given me a job and a second home so I in turn helped her make the bar self-sufficient by building a distillery. That bar was a haven for me and so many other people on the Eye, almost like a second home.

Yet while I helped the refugee flotilla prepare to leave the Eye, I saw Tala walking onto one of the ships. I stopped her and learned that she was leaving the Eye in hopes of reuniting with her brother who had years ago left the station. The keys to the bar were clutched in her fingers while she told me. Eventually, she acknowledged the elephant in the room. Someone needs to run the bar, and she hopes that person will be me. The bar is part of the Eye, a place of safety. Just like my Sleeper had become. She holds the keys out to me, asking me to take them. Yet at this moment, I found my hand pulling away. I couldn’t.

The Eye has been a place of trials and tribulations for the Sleeper, but also a home full of community.

Fellow Traveller

Thinking back on everyone I had helped, I remember the father-and-daughter duo of Lem and Mina. In hopes of a better life for Mina, I helped the two get passage onto a ship heading for a new planet. Despite the comfort they had found on the Eye, it was not their home. They were each other’s home, as cliche as that sounds.

The same was true of my Sleeper. I had fought tooth and nail to make a place for myself in the community of the Eye. It was the first time my Sleeper had freedom. It was scary to leave this behind, but I had worked so hard for it. The Eye was not home; The community of people was. I could find that amongst the stars on the refugee flotilla. The Sleeper had to let go of the Eye.

In my very last moments with Citizen Sleeper, the text read, “You feel the Eye release you ... and it feels so good.” This was true for my Sleeper and for myself. After so much work and tears spent building a life with these characters, we had left. We had been released from the Eye, and neither would ever be the same.

Episode Purge delivers catharsis and hope in equal measure as part of its endings. You as the player will no longer journey along with the Eye, its inhabitants, or the Sleeper. But they all have lives to be lived after you put down the controller.

Citizen Sleeper releases you, and it feels so good.

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