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The Isle of the Cult

by Rune Berg

Fantasy
2004

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Number of Reviews: 1
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A walk in the park ... until it turns into a jungle., November 13, 2020
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Puzzler
After lying through your teeth about your lockpicking skills (which are non-existent), you were allowed into the Thieves' Guild. However, instead off stealing old ladies handbags, you are sent to a mysterious island, a letter from the Guild Master with your objective in your pocket.

Isle of the Cult starts out very laid-back and lighthearted. So much so that when a) the letter with your goal on it turns out to be illegibly smudged by seawater, and b) the fishing boat that dropped you off sails away with your burglar's gear still in it, you decide to just wing it without any equipment.

So you set off to explore the island and you soon come across remnants of an old civilization: an abandoned village and two temples on a hill. The ex-inhabitants of the village probably said to each other: "Hey, if ever a lone adventurer comes this way, we might as well make them feel welcome!", and left a few easy obstacles in the way. "The way" being a straight north-south avenue with buildings to the sides.

Things change when you get to the southern part of the island. Here, narrow paths wind through the jungle to isolated locations, ravines and streams block your path. In the center of the jungle a great fog-tipped mountain looms. There are harder puzzles you must solve to get to locked off areas of the map. Not harder as in complicated, but cunningly deceiving, making you look one way while the solution is right under your nose. Quite exhilarating to solve these, really. A few red herrings are thrown in for good measure, and these add to the overall abandoned island-feel.

The writing in Isle of the Cult is not remarkable but it is efficient and to the point. Storywise there is hardly any story or plot to speak of. This is an oldschool puzzle adventure. But it is an excuisitely polished one. The author has thought of many unnecessary or "wrong" actions and has provided appropriate, helpful or funny responses. Your movements are described tersely, reminding you that you are crossing jungle-terrain, not just going E or N on a grid.

A smooth and sometimes misleading adventure. Nothing groundbreaking, but very well made. A joy to play.