Cultist Simulator is... well, frankly, a bit hard to describe. It's a card game that's also resource management and time based. You jump in, and realize you have no idea what you are doing. There is no tutorial. There is nothing to do but dive in and make mistakes until you die. You'll start over, and learn from those mistakes and then screw everything up again. You'll need to organize your own cult, but instructions, few as they are, are usually vague and won't tell you what will or could happen, and the chances of you stumbling into an unwinnable situation is real and persistent.
Story & Flow
You are Joe Schmoe and you have just lost your job. Life is bleak and everything around you sucks. You are basically vying for the best Eeyore impression award, and then you magically get a boatload of money. How will you use this money in the long run? How does one form an earth shattering cult? These are questions you'll need to answer through some serious trial and error and attention to detail.
Actions are performed with cards, and dragging certain cards to certain tiles will cause a timer to go off. After the timer goes off, you'll reap the rewards of your actions, and the cycle begins anew. You have funds, which must constantly be kept up, with various categories to draw from and manage, like survive, health, reason, and passion. You have to have a job to survive and keep your coffers full, and you can commit some of the aforementioned attributes to that end, but doing so will stress them and you won't be able to use them again until their timer finishes. For example, some jobs require dedication, which manifests as a tax on your passion, while others do not, allowing you to come and go as you please. Some jobs make you a lot of money, but come with long hours which can depress you, while others make you barely any money, but will keep you reasonably content, and vice versa. If you are depressed (or in despair), you'll have to find ways to relieve it (drugs, for example), but those "cures" can cause problems of their own, which you'll need to find ways to alleviate.
As you play, you'll unlock other things to spend your resources on. You can dream, study, search, talk, and more as you progress throughout the game. However, as you carry out these actions, occasionally bad or unexpected things will happen. You can become sick or addicted, you can fall into despair, your actions can be seen as odd and suddenly, you have investigators and hunters on your back, trying to put an end to your evil schemes. All of this can turn into a LOT of plate spinning, and every time something new is added to the table, it's another countdown timer and another plate to spin.
When you combine all of this, you'll be able to slowly start recruiting people to join your cult. Your cult can be based off of many things, and you can have myriad types of followers, all who do different things, like a member who can help get investigators off your back, or shake (or just attempt to kill) the hunters stalking you from the shadows. In the midst of all this, sometimes it's hard to keep track of what does what. I had to keep external notes just to remember how to get a specific effect simply because there were so many options that all have vague values and there is no way to keep track in-game. However, when all those spinning plates are going, and you're on the edge but your cult is making progress, there is a real joy in managing everything, all the while knowing that it could come crashing down at any moment.
Graphics & Sound
Cultist Simulator takes a simplistic path with their graphics, which are presented in a cold color pallet with vibrant accents on cards. There are many card types, icons, and background effects, and when they pop up, the color contrast is drastic, causing moments in the game to almost have a jump-scare intention, or to invoke feelings of dread. It's quite effective in an unexpected way.
The music is also somber and moves with the flow of the game. The music will rise and fall depending on your status and what is happening in the game, but the transitions are smooth and feel natural, lending a great deal to the ambiance of the game, especially given how simplistic everything is.
My one gripe in terms of visual aesthetic is how small the text is on many of the cards or tool tip windows. You do have the option to zoom in, however having to zoom in, move the screen, then zoom out and realign the screen every time you play a card or do an action you haven't done yet can be a bit of a pain.