I don’t even really know how to describe Cultist Simulator.
Let’s start with the general theme. In Cultist Simulator you’re in a vaguely Victorian city in a vaguely Victorian time. You have one of four backstories and, depending on your backstory, you start with different uniques traits.
For example, if you play as the physician, you start with a job at the institute. If you play as the constable, you start with a job at the police department. If you start as the “bright young thing”, you begin without a job but you don’t need one because you’re born into a very wealthy family. If you start as a mere aspirant, you start with no special skills at all.
I’m still trying to figure out how to describe the gameplay… it’s like playing with a set of timers and a set of tokens. You have tokens called “funds” or “reason” or passion” or the like. Sometimes you get tokens that have countdowns… like, “contentment” has a countdown and it will disappear after 45 seconds or so. There are multiple different timers but the easiest one to explain is the one called “time passes”. The timer counts down from 60 seconds. If it does not receive a “funds” token in these 60 seconds, it will create a token called “hunger” (this token also has a countdown timer… you don’t want this one to hit zero).
There are different things you can do with the tokens you have… do you want to spend time reading poetry and increasing your passion? Do you want to spend time working out and increase your health? Do you want to walk down dark alleys to find minor cracks in reality?
You have to manage your resources. If you don’t have funds, you won’t be long for this world, but if you pour all of your passion or reason resources elsewhere, you won’t do a good job at your profession and you won’t be able to make funds. Meanwhile, you have to fight off despair on the one hand (contentment helps) and mania on the other (dread helps). Meanwhile, you can wander around shady parts of the city to find decadent clubs dedicated to the flesh, bookstores that sell dangerous books, or auction houses that sell artifacts that might help you unlock a gate (metaphorical or otherwise).
I’m making a mash of describing the game. It’s kind of resource management. It’s kind of Lovecraft. It’s one of the most addictive games I’ve ever played.
If you dig puzzle games *AT ALL*, you need to pick this up. It’s positively brilliant.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))