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Rob Zacny

Episode 440: Cultist Simulator

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Three Moves Ahead 440:

Three Moves Ahead 440

Cultist Simulator
Cultist Simulator is a game - maybe - that revels in its own vagueness. Not knowing what it's about or what you're supposed to be doing at a given time seems to be the point. There's a story in there somewhere, but will you be able to find it? Rob, Cassandra Khaw, James Persaud, and Troy "A hedonist club is a good place to spend money and meet people, but the bookstore is better" Goodfellow dive into the eldritch horrors of neatly arranging cards on a table and wondering what it's all about.

Cultist Simulator, A Dark Room, Candy Box


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I like the writing in those games but there's one problem with them: this writing is hard to process for someone who is not a native English speaker.


I played Fallen London long time ago. It has the usual browser game limit on actions per day. It works nicely because you play to read stuff, grind forces you to scroll through a lot of repeating texts so you don't have too much new stuff to process. But in Sunless Sea I was overwhelmed. You have to grind a lot through gameplay systems and gameplay is not good. I might say it's similar to survival horror/immersive sim Pathologic in that regard, but even that game was kinder. Plus Sunless Sea insists on permadeath. You can get a lot of text and you don't just read it as a story; you have to notice clues for where you can go. Now I can read books in English, even relatively complex one like historical fiction. But with those games I feel like I'm reading some poetry missing context. And I have to find clues in this prose. It overwhelmed me. And of course you can't hope for a translation unless you find a similar-minded visionary who'll rewrite tons of text into other stuff.


Here it seems that you can't see the text for long and you have to be in a hurry and you have to pick up clues on what to do. I suspect it severely limits the audience for this title. 

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