Change has certainly been a good thing for the long-running roguelike now known as Tales of Maj’Eyal (aka TOME). Once a mere Middle-earth tribute, it has warped and twisted itself until nearly unrecognisable. The next paid expansion for the game is taking that to new extremes. In the Forbidden Cults expansion – due on May 16th – you’ll get to mutate your body, grow tentacles from god-knows-where, harness entropy itself and read all manner of forbidden texts. Tzeench would be proud.
While some would look at the familiar blend of eldritch scribblings, weird tentacled people and the use of Insanity (with a capital I, and rather ham-fistedly named, admittedly) being used as a spellcasting resource and call this Lovecraftian, I feel Forbidden Cults’ inspirations lie closer to Warhammer, especially with regards to the worshippers of Tzeench, chaos god of forbidden knowledge and change. It definitely makes for a darker, weirder spin on the game than its usual tales of elven magic and halfling bravery.
I’ve played a bit of a preview build of Forbidden Cults, and while I’ve not delved nearly deep enough yet, it definitely opens on an exciting note: Your tentacle-armed cultist is on a mission to save your subterranean sanctuary by teleporting inside a giant worm and working your way through its body and destroying its brain, all while under constant attack from the monster’s own psionic nervous system, living defenses and stomach acid. Or you can just choose to bugger off and let the worm do its thing, if you so please.
The rest of the expansion promises a lot of fun new content for players wanting to get in touch with their inner tentacled horror. While not quite as story-focused as previous expansions, there’s a lot of weird new subterranean locations to explore and plenty more lore to uncover, plus two new classes focused on opposing facets of this chaotic new magic: The Writhing One starts out with a healthy tentacle whip-arm and mutates a little bit further with each level, while the Cultist of Entropy prefers to vent those horrible energies outwards, corroding and corrupting your enemies.
Two new playable races are coming to the already-extensive mix, too. The Drem are a corrupted sub-species of dwarves that can summon horrible fleshy horrors at will and go into a murder-frenzy if pressured. Meanwhile, the Krog are mutant super-Ogres strong enough to dual-wield just about anything. Not exactly subtle, but sometimes you just want to hit a lot of things until they die, and this expansion has a lot of weird things that you’ll want to hit.
You can play the basic Tales of Maj’Eyal game free if you grab it direct from the developer, and the expansions can be bought direct as well. If you’d rather pick it up on Steam, that version (which includes a few minor perks) can be picked up by itself, or in a bundle with the two previous expansions. Forbidden Cults is due out on May 16th, and will cost £5/7€/$7.