For all its card-play The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood’s real strength is the story it weaves, which is so much more than the revenge tale it starts out as.
Out now on PC and Nintendo Switch, it initially paints Aedana, the coven leader who banished your protagonist, as the villain. As if exiling you to an asteroid wasn’t enough, she also implements quarterly performance reviews, the monster. But nothing is quite that simple in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.
Sure, getting to design your own divination deck is as much fun as it was when we got our hands on it back in May. But this isn’t a card battler by any stretch of the imagination. The cards you select impact the options available to you but at the end of the day it’s your interpretation that matters.
And believe us, you can go hog wild with the way you dole out your predictions. NPCs turn up at your asteroid home and, at least at first, they welcome your advice. They don’t accuse you of spouting nonsense, they try to take your ‘predictions’ on board.
So if, of the three or so options available to you, you choose to tell a visitor that she’s going to kill another witch, that’s what she thinks fate has in store for her. I chose that option because I thought it’d be funny. Yes, I’m a terrible person. But she, like many of the NPCs, was such a sympathetic character, I felt guilty after.
I can’t say why your predictions have such weight without getting into serious spoiler territory. In our preview, we remarked that there was an ‘ominous note to proceedings’. And as you progress through The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, that element of discomfort never entirely goes away. It may fade out at times but, even within your asteroid home, you rarely feel entirely safe.
In part, it’s due to the danger of being found out. You’ve made a Faustian deal with a cosmic entity and one of your visitors comes to you with a similar situation. We felt thoroughly unsettled, and a bit of a fraud, that we were being asked to advise them.
There is humour to be found in the game, coming mostly from your interactions with your fellow witches. Developer Deconstructeam has crafted some thoroughly believable NPCs. They may have magic at their fingertrips but their problems often aren’t magical in nature. Their motivations, too, aren’t always as straightforward as they initially seem.
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood isn’t quite gloom-heavy as Deconstream’s previous effort, The Red Strings Club. And the magical theme gives it a character all its own. But, like that game, we could never shake the sensation that we might not like where we end up.
Your choices matter but the decision to forge an an alliance with an ancient entity? That’s a done deal and you absolutely know there are consequences. The more you learn about the sisterhood (who may or may not welcome your return), the more you realise this isn’t just your story. Though whether you take that as an opportunity for personal growth is up to you.
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a hugely engaging narrative adventure, even if you have little actual interest in the tarot. Sporting multiple endings, it tells a tale that will stay with you well after you’ve set your virtual deck down. Just don’t make deals with any space lobsters, okay?