The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
Image via Siliconera

Review: The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood Is Intimate and Magical

Branching narratives are a difficult thing to satisfyingly pull off in video games. Fortunately for developer Deconstructeam, the three-person team has over 10 years of experience crafting narrative experiences with an emphasis in decision-making. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a narrative fortune-telling adventure that explores human relationships through the lens of magic and divination.

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The game puts the player in the shoes of Fortuna, a Witch and expert in the magical art of card divination. Fortuna has been sentenced to live in exile and isolation at her asteroid home for a thousand years for predicting the fall of her Coven. The game starts 200 years into Fortuna’s exile, with the Witch using a forbidden incantation to summon the Behemoth Ábramar, a dangerous and crafty being older than the universe who is capable of granting wishes. Unable to cope with a millennium of isolation, Fortuna makes a contract with Ábramar, and soon after her wishes start to manifest.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

Image via Siliconera

Alongside this change of events, Fortuna receives the power to craft her own deck of cards by using the four elements, which are Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. As the player, this means that the game lets you create different cards with a series of preset art assets. These are the sphere (or the background or the card,) the Arcana, and magical symbols. Players are granted full creative freedom. Aside from being an easy and entertaining mechanic, different combinations of the aforementioned four elements will imbue each card with different meanings and powers. To top it all off, the pixel art of the cards (and, honestly, the entire game) is gorgeous.

When old friends and new visitors start to visit Fortuna, her new deck of cards will be able to unlock different fates for them, depending on the cards drawn and their powers. These different fates are surprisingly varied and carry a lot of weight for each character. This makes The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood very replayable. Furthermore, subsequent runs will be shorter and faster, so getting new readings during divination sessions will be easier. Creating new cards opens the door for characters to experience different fates, and trying different contracts with Ábramar will reflect in different endings.

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Speaking of which, the gameplay only serves to elevate the varied and colorful cast of characters. Fortuna has lived for a long time and as such, she has formed a lot of relationships with fellow Witches from her coven. While the main story elements of the game focus on her two closest friends, the fiery and strong Dahlia and pre-Industrial Revolution English darling Jasmine, the game is full of fantastic and fully fleshed characters. Some that really stuck with me include Fortuna’s mentor Yu’enia, fellow Behemoth-summoning criminal Grethe, Fortuna’s sister Patrice, and Ábramar himself. While some of these people only meet with Fortuna a few times, they still are a rich addition to the detailed world crafted by Deconstructeam.

The game is divided by chapters, some of which focus on the present situation of Fortuna slowly regaining her freedom and future, while other focus on her past as a mortal before Ascending into a Witch. The glimpses into Fortuna’s life before she Ascended are relatively short and especially poignant. One particularly strong section includes Fortuna’s older sister Patrice retelling the story of how their mother left Spain with them during the Francoist dictatorship. These sections are exclusively narrative and are accompanied by some stunning pixel art. The present sections are still scripted, but players get a bit of freedom to create new cards, advancing the plot and doing some side activities. These include studying magic volumes and reading books that Fortuna has collected over the years. I recommend not skipping over the books, as these include a variety of guest writers and are beautifully written passages.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

Image via Siliconera

After finishing my first run of the game, I was left needing more. I was convinced that if I crafted different cards and tried my hand at a different contract with Ábramar, I could find a better ending for everyone. I played through the game two more times. During these runs, I found that new cards and readings can drastically change things. While some plot points are set in stone, most characters have a wide array of options written for them that varies depending on Fortuna’s readings.

For example, in each of my runs the fate of planet Earth was different. Some elements that Fortuna predicted in the first chapters came back in later chapters to haunt me or to help me in unexpected ways. In two runs, I predicted a member of Fortuna’s Coven would be arrested. But in each one, it was a different character. This threw a wrench in my plans, as I assumed several plot points only had one resolution. I don’t know how many variations there are available, but I’m eager to find out as I replay the game.

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If there’s something I wish the game could have done differently is the execution of its final chapter. I will try to be vague as to avoid spoilers. The final act of the game adds some new gameplay elements that focus on connecting with the Coven. While this is fun, the chapter goes on for a bit longer than the rest, which makes the pacing feel a bit odd.

The soundtrack of the game perfectly accompanies every moment, with almost four hours of evocative and relaxing tracks created by artist Paula “Fingerspit” Ruiz. Of special note is the song that plays over the introduction after the tutorial, which is accompanied by an excellent animated, pixel-art opening.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

Image via Siliconera

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is an intimate story about overcoming isolation, rebuilding your future, and finding community that will resonate with many. The game’s card creating mechanics will be perfect for the artistically inclined, and are welcoming to those lacking the skill. Deconstructeam surprised me with the variety of outcomes that the card divination sections offer, and I’m looking forward to jumping into the game again and spending more time with Fortuna and Ábramar.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is available for the Nintendo Switch and PC.

8
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

Immerse yourself in an enchanting narrative experience as Fortuna, a fortune-teller Witch condemned to exile on her asteroid home. Craft your own Tarot deck, regain your freedom, and shape the fate of the cosmic Witch society. PC version reviewed.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is an intimate narrative adventure about reconnecting with the world and changing fate.

Food For Thought
  • The flavor text depicted in each card fleshes out the world of the game in ways that I found very charming.
  • I wish there was a way to romance Ábramar, he’s one of the standout characters in the game.
  • Remember to make a vegan pizza!

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Author
Daniel Bueno
Daniel is a staff writer and translator from the Spaghetti Western land of Andalusia, Spain. He got his start writing for Xbox Outsider in 2022. His favorite genres are RPGs, survival horrors, and immersive sims. In truth, he is a Dragon Quest slime in a human suit.