Very, very, very early thoughts on “Cultist Simulator”

So, I decided to buy “Cultist Simulator”. While my initial impression of it after reading the description didn’t interest me, I heard later about how the game did good things with narrative and flavour text, and finally read comments on GOG about how the game has things happen and follows the narrative even if you play the game properly — one comment talked about the cultist dying from getting sick not for any real reason other than that sometimes you get sick — and thought that this might be a game that implements my view on there not being bad ends or loss states, but only ends and decided it’d be worth a try just to see. And it would give me something else to talk about on the blog, which is never a bad thing.

Anyway, I bought it, downloaded it, and started playing it just to see what it was like. And I felt overwhelmed with all of the actions and was just placing cards on areas as soon as I could, and mostly was doing that at random and plunking in anything that would work. And then the game crashed. Or, rather, it seems to have made my graphics driver crash. But despite that seeming like a bad thing, it actually improved my view of it, because when I restarted it everything seemed to be frozen when I loaded my save. Was the game screwed up or corrupted? And then I finally noticed that … the game was paused. Which led to another revelation: you can pause the game! I realized, then, that instead of letting it run in real-time what I needed to do was pretty much pause it anytime anything happened. That would let me read the flavour text of the “cards” to get the feel of the narrative that it was building and let me see what each slot on the table was asking for and what each card did so that I wasn’t just trying out everything and seeing what worked, but was instead actually learning how the game worked. This would allow me to not be overwhelmed while still not actually having to fully understand the game to — hopefully — enjoy it.

Given that, this is a game that I need to sit down and spend time analyzing and working with. However, I already have a game that I’m doing that with.. So it’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks at least. But I do think I’ll give the “perma-pause” strategy a try and see if I enjoy the game, and more importantly the semi-random narrative that it can generated.

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