The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood Review
Magic should be a little mysterious. Tales of the incredible cosmic forces that govern our universe should leave you curious, even hungry for more. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood strikes a delicate balance between mystery and mechanics. For all we learn, much more remains untold. Better still, the story you get is a fantastic one. If you’ve any appetite for witchcraft or complex personal drama, this game will get its hooks in you deep.
You play a witch in the midst of a long exile. After two centuries of crushing isolation, you perform a forbidden spell, one with severe consequences. I won’t get into too many details, but you end up crafting your own deck of divination, one separate from traditional Tarot. Right away, you’re faced with some serious choices. Your decisions will make massive waves throughout reality. Cosmic Wheel takes branching narrative quite seriously, it turns out. Every choice felt weighted with potential. My very first big choice hung over my head like a guillotine the whole playthrough. Truly remarkable stuff.
Tough Choices Abound
Since the whole game is centered around divination, you’d assume a lack of agency would be prevalent. Not so! Every reading comes with its own set of choices. You decide which way to interpret each card. Furthermore, you’re the one crafting said cards in the first place. This means you’re choosing what form your divination tools are taking. And how you craft these cards has (again) far-reaching consequences. It got to the point where I dreaded the appearance of certain cards. I had to give a few people some pretty dark news. You know, things like war, discord, and betrayal. Fun!
Despite their grim portents, crafting cards was distracting fun. I lost several hours putting together perfect predictive works of art. Gotta make sure the flaming whip is sitting at the proper angle, after all. Every card is made of three separate, fully interchangeable, components. This means your deck and my deck won’t have much in common. If you’re less concerned with aesthetics, you can craft cards entirely based on their elemental makeup. So they’ll look weird, but they’ll be mechanically sound. Since different cards give different readings, and your readings open up different narrative pathways, the possibilities are nearly endless. If nothing else, Cosmic Wheel has some serious replayability.
Many Roads To The End
This game also has some terrific aesthetic appeal. Crafting cards wouldn’t be nearly as fun if they didn’t look so good. I love pixel art, and Cosmic Wheel has some excellent pixel art on display. No matter what card configurations you assemble, the artwork will end up looking deliberate and precise. The character models are also highly detailed and well-crafted. While the space you explore is quite limited, the characters and cards make up for this restriction. Fingerspit also does an amazing job with the soundtrack. The music is its own distinct character, one the game couldn’t survive without. Touching, powerful moments are elevated by the music. It feels otherworldly, ethereal, and quite essential.
I can’t ignore the emotional impact of this game, but I’m hard-pressed to properly convey it. You’re not just touched by the isolation, the heartbreak, and the affection. The magical world feels bigger than the sum of its parts. Your character, Fortuna, brushes against a massive cosmic tapestry with every reading. The other witches bring hints of something magical and incredible with their visits. Creatures like the Behemoths suggest the presence of formless chaos and godlike interlopers. Even the cards themselves bring whispers of potential wonder with their flavor text. I was continuously struck by the larger world at play beyond the edges of Cosmic Wheel.
Magic At Your Fingertips
My only grievances relate to information. At different times I was either flooded by, or starved of, precious details. The witch politics? I could do with less of that. A month-long campaign to determine the next coven leader is not as exciting as it sounds. On the other hand, I would have loved more data on proper card configurations. You can tell, based on the artwork, that certain components kind of belong together. But you never get confirmation that you’ve made a better or worse choice with your designs. I love the freedom, don’t get me wrong. There was just this nagging feeling that certain combos would have been optimal, and no way to know for sure.
I loved this game. The story is engrossing, the art is terrific, and the emotional impact is undeniable. I was a little bored by the election arc, but it still had me engaged. Card crafting is somewhat nebulous at times, but this is likely for the best. After all, if it was laid out nice and clean, it wouldn’t feel as mystical. You’re making a brand new form of divination. It’s normal for some elements to feel distant and strange. The game is touching, it hooked me, and creatively energized me. If you’re looking for more magic and mystery in your life, check out The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood. You won’t regret it.
***A Steam key was provided by the publisher***
- Making cards is awesome
- Excellent writing
- Powerful soundtrack
- Lot of witch politics
- Crafting sometimes nebulous