Top Critic Average
A magnificent nightmare, for those with the stamina to master the gruelling card game that houses it.
Cultist Simulator is about a world out to get you at every turn through illness, madness, despair, and sacrificial rituals. It’s just a shame the game seems to kill your fun too early.
An interesting card game focused on discovery of the rules as part of the game, however without an easy way to explain the rules, players can quickly find themselves stymied by its impenetrable logic.
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.
There are some solid ideas that carry you fluidly through the first few hours but the more you play, the more you realize that you're being brainwashed to think that menial work is fun
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.
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.
An well-done simulation of a tabletop card-drafting game, Cultist Simulator can draw you in, and without realizing it, minutes or hours will have gone by. Its subject matter and large amount of reading will be a downside for some, but if you enjoy games set in H.P. Lovecraft-ian worlds, you will enjoy this game a lot.
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.
As far as I can tell, the game is deterministic, and if you play correctly, when you learn what playing correctly even IS, then you shall succeed and ascend to your rightful place.