In the immortal worlds of Forest Gump "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get". Cultist Simulator is a roguelike narrative card game in which your life and narrative plays out like you are trying to pull from the box of chocolates while preventing them to melt, having a hound from hell eating them, making sure you don't eat the one with the poison center, and making sure you replenish said chocolates. In short Cultist Simulator is a maddening and dark journey of resource management that has a sadomasochistic but saccharine taste. Sweet in that its delivery of game play pain is delivered with such gloss and style it conjures up elements of the new wave of goth music and in carves a place for itself as a game for that world. I have added many of the songs I listened to while playing the game to this post.
Cultist Simulator is not an easy game but also not brutal. You start of as the Aspirant, a poor soul who is destined to die in order for the narrative to live. Entering a new city trying to go from the fool to the magician is hard and Cultist Simulator uses the Aspirant as the fool in its storytelling deck. Having to draw such cards as unskilled labor starts a reference point to look back on in remembering the tragedy of this artist who would never be. I thought of Edgar Allen Poe when thinking of the Aspirant, tragic death but remembered. The Aspirant's tale will be referenced in each character you play. Referenced in rumors and case files, the Aspirant's tragedy is the first taste from this box of Occult chocolates.
Never forgetting the Aspirant keeps their bitterness alive when playing as the Bright Young Thing, jealous of there disposable income and world of indulgence. As money and food was a major factor for the fall of the Aspirant, to much too soon gave me struggles with the Bright Young Thing character. This slick way of driving narrative lets feel the role of the character and still feel that you are watching a story through a window of pane and tourment.
Like life the game can easily get frustrating and it can go down many crooked and broken paths just like this one in which my cats broke my laptop screen so I had play a game that requires 100% of screen real estate with a broken one. The game has you micro manage many aspects of the story through timers on cards and card stacks. Its like trying to manage several microwaves going on all serving the balance of life, death, and magick.
In away the broken screen added into the parts of my self I saw in the games narrative. You see when I went to Miami as a young aspirant I worked a crazy graveyard shift job, got connected with the night community, and became an OTO initiate. There were many secret talks and I read the works of Crowley and Manly P. Hall. My life at that time reflects many of the ways I played the game. Even after I left Miami and tried to enter the SF tech world it reflected an aspect of the game in which you can work your day job at Glover and Glover and never tap into the Occult. The choices in the game are very well presented and created by a team with a dark sensibility and a dark sense of humor. This review does seem like the ramblings of a mad man and it is, but a mad man who really loves Cultist Simulator. I highly recommend this game to those who really like dark and stylish things. 9/9 Cat Lives. Also I did say I would leave you with 6.66 songs. This is song .66, a music video I directed for BL▲CK † CEILING that is not safe for work. The others are...if you are Cultist enough.
Play a seeker of unholy mysteries in a 1920s-themed setting of hidden gods and secret histories. In this roguelike narrative card game, what you find may transform you forever. Every choice you make, from moment to moment, doesn't just advance the narrative – it also shapes it. Become a scholar of the unseen arts. Search your dreams for sanity-twisting rituals. Craft tools and summon spirits. Indoctrinate innocents. Seize your place as the herald of a new age.
Humble Store Link: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/cultist-simulator
Steam Store Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/718670/Cultist_Simulator/