If you’ve lost your pet, or fallen ill with a pox, or even got suspicions about your neighbours, why not check in with local Astrologer Doctor Simon Forman. Astrologaster is a clever narrative title with an interesting, star-reading system to control the story.
Astrologaster, from Nyamyam (Tengami), follows the story of historical figure Doctor Simon Forman — notable for making a living by reading the stars and rejecting traditional sciences, and doing so at a time when people were desperate for any help they could get: The Great Plague. However, with the plague now past, Simon is in a bit of a situation. Public trust in his ways as an astrologer are at an all-time high, but the medical community is out for blood.
Similar to Nyamyam’s previous title, Tengami, Astologaster has a memorable visual style — that of pop-up storybooks and pin-puppets. It’s a really charming design decision, and the storybook style gives it a fairytale aesthetic which actually caused me elation when I realised that each of Simon’s patients were interlinked with one another. I’d previously thought of it as a game where the patients simply nodded towards the main character’s ultimate fate — like tallies toward an ending — when instead they all interlace their stories.
The interlacing stories are fantastic, that said. Characters will actively try to use you as a mediator, or to assure one another of things. You can play to this as much as you wish. One character, I was informed, didn’t partake in drinking — but, even armed with this knowledge, I opted to blame alcohol for their recent state, to a really funny outcome.
While playing through the demo at EGX earlier in the year, it took me some time to understand the way you choose to read the stars. As it turns out, I was overthinking it. Traditional A-B-C selections are replaced with stars and planets within the sky. With the selection comes an interpretation of it and some hints as to what Simon’s prognosis will be.
Astrologaster will be launching on PC and Mac in early 2019.