There are tons of mind-bendingly strange and confounding computer games available from the Steam community… but the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired, elegantly nightmarish “cult simulator” THE SHROUDED ISLE stands out as kind of brilliant in its doom-filled weirdness.
Designed by Kitfox Games (the team behind MOON HUNTERS and SHATTERED PLANET), the scenario of ISLE is deceptively straightforward: the title locale is home to five noble families, who have managed to maintain an alliance for control of the populace for nearly five hundred years… but there’s a huge catch: You, the player, are the High Priest of a mysterious, all-powerful cult which worships Chernobog — the “sleeping god beneath the waves” — who holds the fate of the entire island in his or her mighty (and as-yet-unseen) talons.
Your cult works together with members of the five noble houses to arrange the sacrifice of one “sinner” among them per season. This practice will supposedly gain favor with the slumbering god, whose return could either bring you ultimate power, the end of all life as we know it, or even a combination of both.
Religious politics, espionage, heretical crimes, shaky alliances, identity-swapping, sadistic punishments, and more devious dealings intertwine as members of the insular community turn on each other… but in the end, it’s up to you to decide who must die to fulfill the ritual of “The Gathering”… and gamble on whether your sacrifice will appease the all-powerful Chernobog.
With graphics styled after Medieval woodcut prints, the game is both mystifying and terrifying, with a cinematic structure that unfolds like a Lovecraftian GAME OF THRONES… with a bit of the Spanish Inquisition thrown in (insert Monty Python joke here).
THE SHROUDED ISLE is available via Steam for PC and Mac.