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The Cultist Simulator is a Great Introduction to Lovecraftian Lore

The Cultist Simulator was offered on Google Play Pass, so I sat down and played it on my Android tablet before writing this. My Play Pass subscription is about to end the trial–I’m still going to keep it–but there are tons of paid indie games for free on there. After some adjustments to my desk for ergonomics (it’s quite nice now), I am ready to go for this style of review. I should probably also add that at the time of this review I was not entirely versed in the the literature of Lovecraft, although I had a minimalist understanding. That said, this review will give you a bit of info–I may return to this post later since I’m a little more into Lovecraft mythos now.

Descriptors of The Cultist Simulator

So, it’s a digital tabletop card role-playing game. Your action is based on moving topic cards into context cards that are timed to interact with your current situation. Everything about it is pretty weird but fun. The game has references to story elements from the cultist themes of Cthulu mythos–this lore as I’ve learned has a strong cultist theme involving the worshippers of the eldritch god. You win over the appreciation of cultists and secret weirdos while, what seemed to have been, possibly escalating the deterioration of your mental state.

The Cultist Simulator is a cross-platform game that was released on PC. Mac, and Linux a couple of years ago. It’s now ported for mobile and Switch, so pretty much everywhere. As far as I can tell, there are no variations from platform to platform. It is an indie title that has become quite popular from a developer called Weather Factory. The Cultist Simulator has no intro or tutorial. In my opinion, this could be an oversight but it really just sets the mood for the game instead, as this is an experience drenched in mystery. Even after playing for a decent play session, I think I was only able to understand the story very minimally. What I did experience was very interesting.

Get the Kool-Aid – The Cultist Simulator

The first round I played was sort of confusing, not as a flaw. I really had no idea what to do, so I just started moving cards around and tried to understand the story. I suggest you start the game that way as well because honestly, it’s the only way to learn it. After a brutal, terrible life as whatever, I shifted the wrong cards around, and game-over. Respawn though. The Cultist Simulator is a good name for this game in traditional Lovecraftian fashion, although “occultist” would have worked too. For starters, the cards look a lot like tarot; they kind of play like tarot too. This is an interesting choice and one I appreciate. There are some pretty spiritual and existential horror themes in the story as well.

Creepy and Captivating

The Cultist Simulator
The Cultist Simulator

My second round was a little more calculated, although not knowing more about the fictional universe it is set in is a major disadvantage. I had a financial advantage (you’re allotted certain bonuses to your upward incarnation like funds and health). In that way, I was able to take my time with the cards and try and create a strategy based on what I had. This second round was more interesting to me, as it had me unraveling a story about investigating her father’s secret history. It didn’t totally make sense, but the interactions seemed to be pretty meaningful, and since Lovecraft stories are often about going crazy it does make sense in a way.

Get Me Outta Here

I’m not sure if this game has an end or scoreboard, but if you like card games this one has a lot to offer. Play this pretty much anywhere, and if you get yourself into a bind in The Cultist Simulator, be careful who you sacrifice. Thanks for reading about this peculiar game at MrDavePizza.com. There are more games at that link and you can also find me on social media up above. This game is also available on the Steam Store: https://store.steampowered.com/app/718670/Cultist_Simulator/

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