Was it not Shakespeare who stated: “fie! I’ve the plague, and my armpits do weep with pus-filled boils like mustard from a Large Mac”? Nicely, if you happen to appreciated that quote, you are in wonderful firm with Astrologaster, a bawdy comedy-musical recreation from Nyamyam that mixes the appears of a pop-up e-book with the content material of a rowdy romp via historic drugs.
Astrologaster will not be for everybody. If any of the phrases within the final sentence made you yawn, otherwise you assume musicals are actually what awaits you in Hell, then we’re unhappy to say that Astrologaster will not be your cup of tea. However anybody prepared to present this recreation a strive will discover it to be a beautiful little nugget of writing and a spotlight to element that can coerce a smile out of you, a method or one other.
The way in which to play is thus: You’re Simon Forman, a medical practitioner with no license to observe drugs, based mostly on the very actual, very historic Simon Forman, whose casebooks type the idea of this recreation’s story. It’s the 16th century, and the plague has seized London, however Forman seeks support from the celebrities themselves to find a remedy – and uncover one he does, creating his miraculous ‘strongwater’ in consequence, and garnering fairly the repute as a healer. Now, all he wants is a license, and he’ll lastly be taken critically by his friends.
Quick-forwarding to the early 17th century, you – as Forman – are actually taking purchasers, who come to you looking for cures and fortune-tellings. Since your one job is to learn the celebrities, you may accomplish each with one fell swoop, telling sufferers that they’ve The Diabete on in the future, and recommending sensible investments the following.
The sufferers you get will ask to your assist, however – being a not-quite-doctor within the 1600s – your choices should not fairly as strong as trendy drugs. One affected person might let you know that they’re “chundering”, gaining weight, and lacking their menses, and it will take the participant’s up-to-date data (and studying between the traces) to learn the celebrities as a prognosis of being pregnant.
But it surely’s not that easy for each affected person, as a result of all of them have motives and secrets and techniques. One is making an attempt to journey you up by making you misdiagnose him, so you may have to concentrate to each element he says to get it proper. One other affected person is making an attempt to bump off her husbands, so she actually desires to listen to about what lethal ailments they could should make her job simpler. There is a affected person who retains consuming foodstuffs despatched to her by her husband, who’s off colonising South America, and you need to inform her that potatoes ought to not be eaten uncooked – a incontrovertible fact that Simon Forman himself would not know, however that you simply, the participant, can inform him by studying the celebrities – which is a stand-in to your personal trendy data. It is an exceedingly intelligent approach to have Simon make the right diagnoses, so long as you be certain that to concentrate to the subtext and subtleties of every session.
The sufferers are all larger-than-life characters – there may be very hardly ever a affected person that simply has a illness to diagnose. You will rapidly discover that you’ve favourites, wanting ahead to every time they reappear, and each new introduction brings with it another loopy story that may be guided via the cautious (or intentionally careless) studying of the heavens.
The most effective elements of the sport is the choral interludes that introduce every of those sufferers. A Tudor-style choir will let you know about their character and foibles, getting ready you for what’s in retailer – and the way to deal with them. A brief verse for each affected person will inform you of all it is advisable to know, like this verse for a hypochondriac man who likes to be informed he has probably the most lethal and critical ailments:
Wealthy however not happy? Mayhap you haven’t tried
This one bizarre trick for displaying your wealth:
Purchase herbs and confections to spice up your complexion
And cross idle hours tending to your well being
These verses obtain a number of issues without delay. First, they set the scene fairly properly, placing a historic tone that matches the setting. Secondly, they provide you a good suggestion of what to anticipate from the consumer, and thirdly, they showcase the most effective factor concerning the recreation’s writing: dripping with sarcasm and subtext, the narrative is continually making enjoyable of its topics. Nobody is protected – even Forman will get his personal verses, betraying how insecure and pathetic he’s as an individual.
There’s little to the sport past studying textual content and making selections whereas consulting the celebrities – a course of that is slightly complicated for first-time gamers – so it is price saying that Astrologaster is not a recreation for individuals who aren’t right into a extra visual-novel-style recreation. However for simply £8.99 ($9.99), it is a implausible little story recreation to play over a few evenings, and it is even higher performed with a associate or good friend who might help you with the diagnosing bit. Although many individuals baulk on the considered enjoying a recreation twice, Astrologaster is a kind of that advantages from it, since you may see how totally different selections have an effect on the story, and higher perceive the extra delicate hints from sure sufferers.
General, there’s little or no that we will criticise about Astrologaster, except for it not being for everybody. However, for these of you who’re keen on historical past, raunchy historic drama, Shakespearean comedy, and video games that are not afraid to be slightly goofy, then Astrologaster is greater than price its worth for a number of hours of enjoyable.
Astrologaster is maybe the one time you may ever get to play via a pop-up e-book model of London’s 17th-century medical historical past. It is a particularly particular pitch, however when it hits, it hits properly – and its musical interludes are as pleasant and giggle-worthy as any of Shakespeare’s greatest. Certain, it is not going to be to everybody’s tastes, however if you happen to’re searching for one thing slightly totally different and you are a fan of the basic British historic sitcom Blackadder, then you can do quite a bit worse than give this a spin.