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The Red Strings Club dev's next game is all about an exiled witch who's hellbent on destroying her coven

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood deals with fate, divination and revenge

A witch lives in a house on an asteroid being overlooked by a behemoth god in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

For me, developers Deconstructeam are the GOAT at fleshing out characters through the subtle art of conversation. Whether it’s revealing the dark secrets of corporate espionage from the mouths of loose-lipped employees after a cocktail or two in The Red Strings Club, uncovering the cut-throat life of a hitman as he arranges beautiful bouquets in Eternal Home Floristry, or unravelling the personal philosophies of an old man who claims he can speak to God through a radio in Interview With A Whisperer, their games are detailed portraits of complex people. And after playing through an hour-long preview build of the team’s next game, the fresly unveiled The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, I can already tell that this adventure is one of their most complex portraits yet. This time, folks, we're dealing with divination, cosmic gods and sweet, sweet revenge.

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When we first meet protagonist witch gal Fortuna, she's not doing great. Having foretold the fall of her coven through her tarot readings and sending everyone into a panic, she's been exiled for a millennium and forced to live out her sentence in isolation. With no Netflix to pass the time, she decides in the 200th year of her sentence to summon the god Abramar. As you do. For a cosmic behemoth, it turns out Abramar is pretty down to earth, though, and after the two bond over how shit it is to have an existence in forced isolation, they agree to a contract that will grant the young witch more magical powers. What's in it for Abramar? Shits and giggles.

The majority of my preview took place over the five days needed to complete the pact, each covering the four elements and a final day. During your time with Abramar, you'll be asked a question that decides part of your personality, before completing a mini-game where you get to design a card for your slick new tarot deck.

A young witch sits on the window sill of a house built on an asteroid in The Cosmic Wheel Of Sister Hood
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

After hearing Fortuna's story about being exiled for simply spilling the tea about the end of the coven to her sisters, I was kinda pissed for her. I decided to choose the saltiest answer to each day's question. What is my innermost desire? Power. How do I want to be perceived? Feared. What am I willing to sacrifice to access my powers? The entire coven of witches who dropped me into this isolated hell hole, of course.

There are a number of different options to choose from, but I took great pleasure in making Fortuna out to be a witch who is bitter and out for bloody revenge. I loved her all the more for it, and I also loved that Deconstructeam put those options there. Abramar warns that these choices will decide my fate later down the line, but I say bring it on. I didn't get to see much of these consequences during the preview, admittedly, but I'm sure they'll come back to bite me in the rump when I get to play it in full.

The profile of a laughing cosmic god laughs is situated on the right with the interior of a pixel art house to the left in The Cosmic Wheel Of Sister Hood
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun
A tarot card crafting option that shows a character from The Red Strings Club in The Cosmic Wheel Of Sister Hood
A customizable tarot card of a harpy jumping from a space caravan in The Cosmic Wheel of Sisterhood
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

After answering these questions, the next half of each day was dedicated to designing Fortuna's tarot cards. Using her arcane grimoire, you can pick different objects, characters, and backdrops to create scenes. The ultimate meaning of the card varies depending on the elements you choose for its face, so for my first card I chose a harpy-like woman jumping from the front of the space caravan holding a magic staff. You get to move each element like you're arranging a collage, changing the size of objects and their orientation. From these choices, my card was bestowed with leadership, purpose, justice, predestination and luck. I also loved that each card element had its own flavour text that revealed little snippets of information about other planets and worlds, my favourite being: “a cursed cocktail bar that takes hostage the soul of whoever owns it in exchange for supernatural abilities”. Sound familiar?

Each card will cost magical energy to make, but you can get that magic back by giving people tarot readings. Alongside slurping up people’s magical energies like a big blue slush puppy, tarot reading also let you get to know more about the person whose fortune you’re telling. Using your deck, you can draw out small drips of information, delving into their past, revealing their worst fears, and finding out intimate details about their lives.

This all comes together when Fortuna gets an unlikely visitor from a witch who's been officially assigned to look over your case. She asks for a reading at the end of her visit, and so I was able to apply my newly created cards to my first victim guinea pig client. She asked me to tell her about the future of her job, explicitly saying that she wanted to know the good and the bad. I shuffle the cards and the ‘Hym to Fortune’ crops up, implying that she'll find success in her work, which I tell her. For the bad I pull ‘High Alchemy’, a card that shows a bloody, beaten soldier surrounded by flames with a sword shoved through her back (not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of the visuals I created for this one). That card's description revealed that although she’ll find success, she’ll kill a fellow witch in order to gain it. There was an option to soften the news, but a ghostly statement in white also appeared, saying: ‘I want to be feared.’ So I decided to lean into the character traits I'd given myself and tell her the unflinching truth, which yeah, she wasn't exactly ecstatic about.

A young witch interview the main protagonist in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

The preview ended with a flashback showing Fortuna, her sister and a friend watching a meteor shower. Fortuna looked happy, oblivious to the events that would unfold in her future, and I'd imagine these flashbacks will end up giving more context to Fortuna’s imprisonment. Or at least I hope so, as I also have a sneaking suspicion there’s more to her past than she’s letting on.

But even though my time with The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood was short, its mix of character traits, tarot reading, and dialogue choices all clearly point to another tale that seems like classic Deconstructeam, and one with multiple, complex conversational outcomes. I was so struck by it that I played it all a second time almost immediately. I chose different card elements and different answers to those important, fate-changing questions, and got completely new dialogue responses from both Abramar and the visiting witch. I love the feeling you get from pulling on the threads of people’s lives with the tarot reading, and the choices you're given in how you deliver that information. It's very smart.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood already feels like it's got a bit more of an edge to it than Deconstructeam's other games. It’s unclear whether what I predicted will come true, but I’m keen to meet more witches and eventually unleash my wrath on those who wronged Fortuna.

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