Top Critic Average
A dark, engrossing, and challenging narrative card and crafting game.
A magnificent nightmare, for those with the stamina to master the gruelling card game that houses it.
I was surprised by my experience with Cultist Simulator as it should have been a game that really grabbed me. The mood, the setting, and the pedigree of the writing are all perfectly in line with my interests, but I found the combination of the card playing and having to sit at a PC never truly gelled.
Though I have some minor quibbles about the game's interface, I find myself returning to its world again and again.
While I can appreciate the game's own attempt at experimentation with its indefinite gameplay, tabletop format, and fragmented story, I could not find much enjoyment in constantly wondering what I was doing and asking myself why I was still playing.
If you already enjoyed previous Fallen London escapades like Sunless Seas, there's a good chance you'll enjoy Cultist Simulator as well. It's certainly not the easiest game to break into, but then again it was never really meant to be either. Cultist Simulator isn't afraid to keep its greatest rewards locked away for only the most patient and clever players to find, and there's a lot of potential enjoyment to be had for players who relish the journey as much as the destination.
Cultist Simulator is a posthumanist spiral that, like its endless card combinations, is greater than the sum of its parts.
With so little gameplay and almost no visual flair, the combination of broadly described ideas and impetus on the player to find their own story just don't come together. It's like the bare bones of a game without any of the meat.
Cultist Simulator won't be for everyone as the learning curve is fairly steep and it is a pretty unforgiving game. Anyone who loves puzzles, interesting games and solid narrative will find a lot to love.
Cultist Simulator may have a high learning curve, but the meaningful rewards matter to you, and the variety of choices encourage you to experiment during each game.