The developers of The Red Strings Club and Gods Will Be Watching are summoning forth another narrative-led adventure full of witty characters beholden to the questionable decisions I make for them. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood starts out with quite the setup for its tangle of choices: A witch exiled to an asteroid and stripped of her tarot deck after foretelling the doom of her coven decides to perform a forbidden ritual to summon a millenia-old Behemoth. Two hundred years of exile got a bit lonely, turns out.
I got the chance to play a demo for The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, which starts off with a bit of banter between Fortuna and her new cosmic partner in mischief Abramar, a six-armed, dragon-tailed eldritch horror with a surprisingly informal vernacular. "I feel you," he says in commiseration with Fortuna's thousand-year sentence. "I had been imprisoned for 5402 years until you summoned me."
As part of their contract, Abramar decides to help Fortuna build a new deck of fortune telling cards to replace her confiscated tarot. Answering Abramar's questions about my plans for the future—"Your answers will affect your fate. Dramatically," he warns—grants me energy for the four elements of air, water, earth, and fire. I spend those energy points by picking a background and symbols for a card in my new deck which I can customise by adjusting, flipping, and sizing each element to build an image to my liking.
That's the majority of the demo I played: building an initial deck of four cards and using them to read Abramar's past, and then the future of a witch arbitration agent who shows up to check in on my exile. One of the cards I design is assigned the name "Transhumanism" with meanings of "introspection, yearning, passion, power," and when I draw it from my deck to read into Abramar's behavior I can either tell him it means he has a need to feel superior or that he's masking his depression.
It's a bit daunting. I regret not having a better head for actual tarot cards, but I bumble Fortuna through her readings as best I can, hoping that I'm bending fate to her benefit.
The implication is that the cards I build, each with unique meanings based on the symbols I've combined, and the way I choose to read them each time I use my deck, will affect the way the story unfolds. Then there's the looming threat of my very forbidden deal with Abramar and the knowledge that I may be able to save or doom the coven that banished me with my newly minted magic deck. I am warned right at the start that the game regularly autosaves over my progress so that I can't save-scum my decisions. I've not gotten to see any of my choices play out yet, of course, so I'll have to wait for the full game to feel the effects of that threat.
From 90 minutes with the game, I'm intrigued. Fortuna and Abramar have a blasé brand of cool as they match wits and pick at one another's emotional scars from exile. The developers' last game, The Red Strings Club, proved they have a knack for conversation. It's wrapped up in a chill purple pixel art palette and an ethereal synth and strings soundtrack that definitely sets the mood.
Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital have just revealed The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood today, calling it "the studio's biggest, most ambitious game yet." It's planned to launch sometime this year and you can wishlist it now over on Steam.