Cultist Simulator: Initiate Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 02.02.2021

Review for Cultist Simulator: Initiate Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cultist Simulator is weird. That's to be expected from something dealing with an alternate, Lovecraftian version of the '90s. The thing is that this takes the whole concept of mystery a bit further, by making the actual gameplay as cryptic as its world is. Experimentation is the key word here. People are expected to find out how this plays, what the goal is, and how to achieve it. Some will fall in love with what's on offer, some will hate it even after they grasp the mechanisms behind Cultist Simulator, this bizarre card game/resource management/RPG.

Everything in here is intentionally ambiguous, which is to be expected from a title dealing with secretive sects and forbidden knowledge, right? Trouble is, this applies to literally everything; not just the concept or narrative, but the actual gameplay itself, whether that's the rules the game, or something as simple as how to use an item or move from menu 'A' to 'B.' In the beginning players are told that this is all about experimentation - like playing with alchemy ingredients. A nice idea? Probably, the execution, however, will leave most people annoyed at the fact that nothing is explained.

Even the tutorial included (a digital pamphlet, honestly) is actually more cryptic than helpful. This becomes extra weird when one realizes (after a couple of hours) that this is actually a pretty simple resource management type of game, which doesn't really need that added layer of complexity, and hard-to-understand user interface. Long story short, Cultist Simulator has every right to be as mysterious as it wants to when it comes to its "story" and concept, but the actual process of playing it should be something that can be understood in less than 15 minutes, a rule that applies to every video game ever, in this critic's not so humble opinion.

Screenshot for Cultist Simulator: Initiate Edition on Nintendo Switch

In essence, this is a card game, where you basically place cards in specific slots, like 'Work,' 'Dream,' 'Research,' and so on, with the purpose of generating some sort of resource (in the form of more cards), and then use said resource, usually in combination with another one, to upgrade cards, get new ones, and so on, with the main goal being to up your cult organization game. It's important to note that there's little to no visual flair here. All you get is some text that accompanies the accumulated cards - short, vague descriptions or pieces of lore that rarely manage to immerse or excite…

Even worse, the whole thing is extremely repetitive. After a long amount of time you'll get the hang of things, but you'll also realize that you are basically on a loop that lasts a really long time. You'll get new cards, "learn" new things, upgrade your deck, and generally progress… but not actually get a sense of progress. At the end, though, it's safe to say that this is probably one of those games that are just not made to be enjoyed by everyone. Opinion on this title is relatively split - although most - Steam - reviews lean on the positive side. Cultist Simulator might actually be a… err, cult classic, and as it's usually the case with those, some people, yours truly included, won't get to realize why. Approach cautiously.

Screenshot for Cultist Simulator: Initiate Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

"Seize forbidden treasures. Summon alien gods. Feed on your disciples. Play as a seeker after unholy mysteries, in a '20s-themed setting, of hidden gods, and secret histories," says Cultist Simulator to potential buyers, but, like in every Lovecraftian tale, the actual truth will drive you mad. What's the truth here? Well, it's that this is basically a tedious, resource management game, where nothing is explained, which will leave a great number of players scratching their heads, even after spending a significant time with it.

Developer

Weather Factory

Publisher

PLAYDIGIOUS

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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