21 people found this review helpful
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 31.1 hrs on record
Posted: Jul 16, 2018 @ 1:23pm
Product received for free

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Cultist Simulator is quite unique. It is difficult to place it into any one category. Calling it a Lovecraftian rogue-like deck-building simulation game only really scratches the surface. The game offers an exploration into the unknown with very little hand-holding.

It is not a game for everyone, at the same time, if you have been curious about the game, I would strongly encourage you to try it. I will be honest, when I first started playing, I had no idea what I was doing, and after failing a couple of times early on, I decided to look at couple of gameplay videos to try to get a little bit more insight. Of course I was bored out of my mind watching, so I went back to playing.

The reason to just play this game is because the meta-game of you fumbling around the game cluelessly is similar to your in-game character trying to achieve something that he/she has no idea how to go about doing. There are several goals that you try to achieve in this game, none of them are easy, and certainly none of them meant to be completed in the first few playthroughs. Everything is meant to be a learning process, for you as the player, and for your in-game character. I have not looked up any game furthering information or tried to get any help, because I want to keep digging until I get to the bottom of it on my own. This is just my personality, but it's also how I believe this game should be played.

The best part of this game is opening your mind and allowing the game to occupy and take over your thoughts. The writing is fantastic, and every step of the way, you are introduced to very well-written pieces of lore. If you have very little time to play at a time, this game might not be for you, because you will need to sit down for a few hours just to learn the game in the beginning, through a few trial-and-error runs that end in one of the game-over states. But at the same time, your imagination will run loose with the vivid descriptions, the palpable sensations, the sense of dread, and the joys of accomplishment throughout your time fueled by your most fantastic imagination of what can be. After all, the cards themselves do not speak, your mind does. Every action upon every card yields another piece of lore, and taking your goals and dreams further in this game will reveal more. Of course repeated actions on the same cards will often yield the same result, just like you would not expect an essay to write itself, should you decide to hit the "Z" button on your keyboard over and over again.

Everything in this game is played out on the small table in front of you, in a basic setup that shows actions as tiles that you can then commit your cards to and use them to your advantage, and often, to your disadvantage. There are cards that represent your basic stats, of which there are three: Health, Reason, and Passion, not including their upgraded versions. You also have a number of Funds, that are consumed as the days go on, and also are used for various other purposes.

Some cards have timers and so you need to decide how you can go about using them to the best of your ability while they are still around. At the same time, using these cards will preserve them for a bit longer, but will also remove your ability to perform the same action on another card during that given amount of time.

I would recommend that if you decide to try this game, to go in and just try things. Don't be afraid of failing, play to learn, explore the unknown, follow different paths to achieve greatness and notoriety, through the fundamentally simple task of card management that represents everything in this game. The game is extremely addictive, you will find yourself fumbling around for hours and not notice the time pass.

If you are not the patient type and do not wish to read and use your own imagination, and you depend on in-game graphics to capture your mind, with high-intensity action-filled games, then this game is not for you. But if you play a while, you will realize that the simple actions and cards on the table offer plenty of action in your mind, and is quite intense, indeed.

As I mentioned before, repeated actions of the same kind often do not yield different results. Thus the beginning parts of each game start to feel repetitive and boring if you have played many times. This may lead to you clicking through pieces of lore that you have read many times over in previous in-game lifetimes. But do you have a favorite book that you read from cover to cover, and all you wanted to do is go back to it and read it again. And after another read, you continued? Even though the beginning parts can become rather repetitive and you might find it annoying to have to progress to the later parts, the later parts can almost guaranteed to be different from game to game to maintain your interest. As for me, I keep flipping open this book, only to pay not enough attention to some conditions of failure, or not taking care of them soon enough, that I have not managed to progress too far. I have tried quite a number of times, and have yet to achieve any semblance of victory. Death means the need to start from square one, giving you some time to learn from your experiences and try to do better next time.

Fortunately there are three different time settings in this game: Pause, Normal, and Fast Forward. The space-bar allows you to quickly pause and unpause, and I found myself using that a lot. Because I want to sit down and read everything, sift through every detail, and then when the game is running and I am just waiting for a timer to count down, I am thinking about other potentials and trying to plan ahead. If I am at a part where I have certain expectations, I have the game on Fast Forward, which is a nice function to have. I believe time moves twice as fast.

This review took a long time to write, because it is not a conventional game of any nature. It is an excellent work that deserves your time and attention. If you are patient with this game, this game has so much to offer. It is not for everyone, but again, if you are curious at all about it, I would recommend it in a heart beat.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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