[Review] The Unholy Society – Nintendo Switch

Written by Mel Curtis
  • Developer: CAT-astrophe Games
  • Publisher: CAT-astrophe Games
  • Release Date: 25/02/2020
  • Price: £9.00 / $9.99
  • Review code provided by CAT-astrophe Games

Celeritate Horologio Achaz in Papam

Having one of the features of The Unholy Society be that you have the pope on speed dial was all that it took for this game to get my interest. Honestly, I really love when comedic games have silly things like that listed as a feature for the game. It’s one of my greatest weaknesses and has led to a lot of games getting filed away to be played. Not that I always get around to them, unfortunately, since I can have a pretty busy life. Still, I carved out some time to dive into The Unholy Society.

Vos Autem Fecistis Translatione

In The Unholy Society you play as BonBon, an exorcist who also happens to be a terrible brother and kind of a jerk. But hey, at least he gets the job done! This time, that job happens to be returning to his spooky hometown of Silent Virginia in order to both attend and officiate his sister’s wedding. All is not well, though, as things are starting to get weird. That’s about all I can say without giving away any spoilers, because I am sad to say that The Unholy Society is criminally short. At least in the state that it’s currently in, that is. For The Unholy Society is an episodic game and this is only the first episode of it. The first episode does feel relative whole aside from the lingering questions that lead into the second, but it still did take me less than two hours to complete. I reached out to the development team to see if they had any information of what the release timeline looked like and they declined to give out any of that information, which is perfectly fair. Basically, what you’re doing by purchasing this game is investing in this team and I think it’s actually a pretty good investment if they live up to the potential that this first chapter is giving me!

Ego Peccator

The writing is one of the most fun aspects of this game. It’s witty in a lot of places and easily got me smiling. There is some inherent comedy in the image of an exorcist with the name BonBon being a jaded jerk. Add to that the fact that we can choose dialog options and thus decide exactly how much of a jerk he is, and there is a lot of fun in seeing the way that the other characters will react to your antics. From my experience, what you say does not affect the trajectory of the story in any major way, but it is fun to go through at different levels of sarcasm. The only thing that lets the writing down is that there is a healthy dose of reference humor in the game, which I’m personally not fond of. I do use a lot of references in my life and I think that they can be a well placed comedy tool, but having the cat I just exorcised quote the lyrics of “Every Breath you Take” at me felt like a little much. I will admit that I was very excited to be able to tell someone “You are a strange, sad little man, and you have my pity.”

The characters are a little on the thin side thanks to the short playtime that the game currently boasts, but they are really distinct and I found myself liking just about every one of them in their own way. I really do like Bon, but his sister was a highlight for me as well. This is even before getting into the characters in the exorcisms that you preform. While their dialog a little generic at times, their designs and the areas around them did a lot to give the encounters personality!

Ego Vere Amo Hanc

The style that the game has works a lot in it’s favor. Despite this being a very comedic game, the design has done a lot to embed the town of Silent Virginia with a healthy dose of spooky atmosphere. The contrast of the more out there comedic elements just makes them stand out stronger thanks to this. I didn’t personally pay much mind to the music until the final boss fight, but when it kicked in for that, I was all in and ready to go, for sure. I also appreciate that the character design was greatly varied and allowed there to be a lot of different looks to each of them. There’s not really any case of everyone having the same face or body here like I have seen in some media. I’m also loving the visual style that they went with, going all in on the comic book flair.

Dolor Phone Exorcismus Recitari

Actually preforming your exorcisms is a lot of fun, even if I do think there are some flaws in the execution that I hope will get better in the other chapters. So, you start by getting three of your spells equipped on your smartphone app (just go with it), after which you have to move your cross around to look through the hole in the center in order to find and select the symbols in order to execute the spells. Select your combo of two or three in order to execute them. The symbols shuffle around with each spell or when your spell is reset from you being attacked in the middle of it. There’s also a few items that you have at your disposal to heal, increase defense or attack temporarily, or cure poisoning. These are thankfully not limited, but instead on a cooldown timer, which makes your usage much more about timing instead of if you can keep yourself stocked. It all works out to make the exorcisms engaging, though not too difficult. I only died once while playing and never really felt like it was much of a struggle once I was all kitted out, but I presume this ease is only because it is the first chapter of the game.

The one place where I felt this system was lacking was that I couldn’t accurately choose my spells going in. There are three different symbols that can appear and each time that they were hidden on screen, there seemed to be  five of them. My problem was that I often found myself unable to use certain spells because when I would go to execute them I would need three sigils but there would only be two of that kind or I would need two and there would only be one. As a result of this, I never cast the most powerful spell in the game and sometimes would go into an exorcism with one spell that I would not use for the entire fight. I completely understand if the options of what will appear are set and do not adjust based on what you bring in. If that’s the case, it can feel a little unfair that I don’t have a heads up of that when I am choosing what to bring with me into the encounter. If I were made aware or if I could even just bring everything with me, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. As it stands now, though, there was a case where I only used one spell for an entire exorcism.

In Fine, Habeo Spem

The Unholy Society is a strong showing of potential from a small team that I really enjoyed, and I am looking forward to the chapters to come. This is a great chance to invest in a showing from a smaller team, just be warned that you’re only getting a pretty small slice right now. I got plenty of the giggles that I was looking for out of this and I’m looking forward to giving it another go around Halloween to soak in those spooky vibes.

Pros

  • Charming and fun writing
  • Engaging game play
  • Enjoyable scenes and characters
  • Various things that need exorcising
  • Pope on speed dial

Cons

  • Only one short episode out so far
  • I have to wait for more!
  • Some minor game play frustrations

Verdict
Even though what I can play now is criminally short, i still enjoyed every second of my time with The Unholy Society.
4/5

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