Well, this is going to be a first for me: Instead of reviewing the game in one sitting, I’ve decided to keep this review ongoing until I reach a final verdict. You see, I’ve spent a few hours with “Cultist Simulator” (a game that I requested to review out of my own will), and I’m very, very intrigued by it. But I also don’t know what to make of it. I’ve been surviving for longer, but there’s no cult in sight. I want to keep playing, but I also wanted to have some sort of coverage live, mostly because I think this type of game is something that we don’t encounter very often.
You see, “Cultist Simulator” is, at its core, a card game. Yes, the theme of the whole thing is to, hopefully and eventually, have followers and lead a cult. But this is all wrapped up in a tremendously unforgiving survival mechanic. Imagine having to navigate getting a wager on without a harrahs casino bonus code: it really is much, much harder than it should be. And for me, that’s the issue.
I’ve been trying to think about having my cult in a romantic way… and I long for the opportunity to make sacrifices and focus on the cult at hand, the way I was able to do in, say, “The Shrouded Isle” (which I reviewed recently here for the Nintendo Switch). That game allowed me to jump right into the nitty-gritty of cult managing… and as odd as that sounds, it’s exactly what I wanted.
“Cultist Simulator”, however, is first and foremost a pretty harsh life simulator in the form of a card game. Paying for food and staving off starvation and illness will consume most of your time and energy. There’s no hand-holding, either. Took me a bit to figure out I could speed up, slow down and even pause the in-world timer (most actions are timed and expire/result in a consequence).
What breaks my heart about all this is that I really, really like what I’ve seen so far. The game looks and runs great (though at this point, I must admit, I’ve got a pretty powerful rig). It sounds great, too, with a killer soundtrack and very chilling sound effects. And the gameplay is very engaging and fun. There’s just not been that much of a “cult” anything in it. And that’s my problem with it.
Judging by the reviews on Steam (which, as we know, are the
worst best source of information on any game), I’m not the only one having this issue. While a lot of people knew what they were getting into, quite a few were somewhat put off by having to barely survive for hours on end before the first inkling of a “cult” started to show its head.
So, I’ll keep on playing in my spare time. I’ll put in the time, I’ll get good (or as good as I can) at surviving. And we’ll see where this takes me. This game is so unique, and they’ve taken such a chance on this, that I don’t want to judge it harshly on my (perhaps) unfair expectations. We need more games like this! We need to take chances! So, I’ll update this review below as I progress through the game, and hopefully, eventually… I’ll reign triumphant over a large, beautiful, dutiful cult. Or at the very least, I won’t starve to death.