Hear ye, hear ye! Come learn about ye olden tale of Simon Forman. Astrologaster is based around the diaries of Simon Forman, a 16th-century astrologist and unlicensed doctor, who treated patients based on readings from the stars.
The story in Astrologaster is a fascinating one. We play as Simon Forman who, after curing many people of plague in 1592, became popular for his diagnosis and predictions from astrological readings. Unfortunately, the ‘real’ doctors of the College of Physicians weren’t too keen on Forman’s quackery and try to get him jailed or killed. Mostly, it seems like they’re just unhappy to be losing their patients.
The gameplay is fairly simple but quite lovely and plays more like a visual novel than a game. The characters all come to Forman’s consulting rooms for diagnosis or help to make a difficult decision and they are introduced with a theme song that tells us about their character each time they visit. The game is laid out like a pop-up book and you need to change the page to continue onto the next scene however, the main gameplay comes from the readings of the stars. The patient comes in and tells us their problem and we consult the stars to make a decision.
Each patient visits 4 – 7 times and you build (or lose) reputation with them each time depending on the information you give them. The hope is that they’ll give you a recommendation so you can become a licensed doctor. This is harder than you would think because sometimes they don’t want to hear what is correct and they may even lose faith in you for telling them the truth. So, then the question becomes, do you tell them the truth or not? Your answer may come back to bite you.
I am surprised at how much I enjoyed this game and how interested I have become in the characters. It was awesome to find out that they’re all based on real people and I am regularly stopping to google the new patients that come along to learn more about them.
I have found myself having a good little giggle while playing the game throughout the character theme songs, Forman’s conversations with them as well as the suggested solutions to their problems. I didn’t expect there to be quite so much ‘chundering’ and ‘strumpy-humpy’ in the game. As it turns out, Forman wrote about many of his sexual conquests in his diaries and it appears he was quite the lover.
While the story in the game kept me wanting to know more the gameplay may turn people away. It’s quite basic and becomes repetitive after a few hours but if you go into the game expecting a fun, choose your own adventure style story, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
If you love a fun narrative game I would recommend giving this game a try. It’s weird and quirky and I can’t quite believe it’s based on a real person in history.
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Platforms: PC, Switch and iOS
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