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Cultist Simulator

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Yesterday, 19:25
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
8,180
Great concept, awful implementation.

It's a card game that obviously simulates being a cultist, you play cards to make decisions and various things are on timers so it's a resource management sort of game with a story which is told through text on the cards. As you play you're encouraged to try playing different cards in different places to discover the game's mechanics, indeed this is kind of the point of the whole game, it's meant to be a journey of discovery in which you feel you're learning esoteric secrets by learning how to play the game.

Unfortunately there's a few aspects of the game that make it an awful slow grind.

Your character needs money to live, to buy study materials and to deal with expenses that come up, it makes perfect sense that in a resource management game money would be resource you spend most of your time managing. Unfortunately "work" is performed on a cycle that lasts 60-30 seconds depending upon how fast you're running the game's speed at and after an hour or so this cycle becomes incredibly tedious. The most profitable form of work is making art (once you've developed your character's artistic skills) which basically involves removing and replacing the same 5-6 cards every 60-30 seconds (you can pause the game, which you will be doing every 60-30 seconds) which also makes it the most tedious form of work. You can be a company man and earn a little more than your living expenses, or slightly more once you get a senior position, however if you fail to attend work regularly (every 60-30 seconds) you're put on probation and have to kiss-ass to get your job back so this is only practical while you're doing nothing else with your work tile, but most of the game revolves around the work tile. Finally there's physical labor which is good for your health but barely pays a living wage, it's the least tedious/restrictive but if you need money than you'll need to find a more profitable way to spend your time and you always need money.

So yeah work sucks, despite being a card game it's actually a very accurate simulation the drudgery of real life.

Then there's the whole law enforcement aspect of the game, you could send your cultists out to make money for you using their esoteric skills but you'll never do this because it gives you notoriety which is a resource the police use to make a case against you. Now there's various ways to keep notoriety out of the hands of the law but it all basically boils down to never have more than one notoriety and don't do anything that'll create notoriety until the notoriety you've already got has timed out.

If you send your cultists out to make money for you then you'll never get anything done because you'll always be waiting for the notoriety to time out.

Then there's the actual cult stuff itself, sending your cultists out on expeditions can be incredibly punishing if you don't know what you're doing (and you won't because there's no way you could, short of reading an online guide which defeats the point of the game) and what stuff/cultists you get is random which would be fine except you NEED certain things and certain kinds of cultists to progress through the game.

In fact that's why I gave up in the end, I needed 36 Forge power to complete my ascension ritual and I just can't do it until I get something from the peacock gate which I can only open with a mirror which is broken every time I use it which in turn needs to be repaired using esoteric currency which can only be obtained by writing manuscripts for my patrons.
In other words it's a slot machine that requires 10min of bullshit between lever pulls.

I am so done with this game.
I was on the brink of ascension and I accepted the ending where I dedicate my life to my office job.
This game broke me.
 

Blarraun

straightedgy
Local time
Today, 07:25
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
4,199
Location
someplace windswept
I won't play after your summary, though it gave me a few ideas for making a better game.

RNG outcomes in strategy/management are bs, should rather be used to break up the routine, or worldgen.

Also there should be a mechanic for corrupting the police/politics and lobbying for the occult. With some fanatical holy order being the late game threat. Maybe instead of ascending another ending would have MC's cult becoming legitimate or pulling the strings.

The game should also have a balance between unique quests and repeatable actions, preferably towards the unique for event based decision games. Unique quests could form quest chains linked to specific NPC's and influence the ending.
 

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Yesterday, 19:25
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
8,180
Rimworld is another management style game and I think it works a lot better because it gives you a lot of time to think, and a lot to think about, so you spend more time planning than doing which makes the "doing stuff" more compelling because you're not doing it all the time.

Cultist Simulator is CONSTANTLY throwing shit at you which is engaging at first when you don't know what to do but once you do know what you're doing it's just more shit to shovel and it's shit that never stops coming.
 
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