The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood review - Fabulous fiction about fate

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Fortuna and Abramar in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.

Somehow, they’re okay with it.

I’ve just told them exactly how and when it’ll happen, but they’re okay with it. My cards are never wrong, but they’re okay with it. I tearfully apologise to them, but they’re okay with it.

They start talking about how knowing about it ahead of time is actually a bit of a blessing. They say that it means they’ll be able to shrug off all of the important stuff, and focus solely on the things that matter. They seem so sure of themselves that I actually believe them, even though it’d be so easy to see their declarations as the ramblings of someone desperately trying to look for a silver lining in a place there really isn’t one.

They’re okay with it, and the cosmic wheel continues to turn.

A character in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.
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Seeing the full picture

When I previewed The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, the latest release from Spanish indie studio Deconstructeam, back in April, it was the first time I’d dipped my toe into one of their games. I ended up being so impressed by what I played that I bought all three of their previous works as soon as they were on sale (I’m cheap, sorry). While I’ve certainly dipped my toes into 2014’s Gods Will Be Watching and 2021’s Essays on Empathy, 2018’s The Red Strings Club was the member of the trio that really got its claws into me, leading to two really enjoyable playthroughs (so far).

In a way, this boded well for The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, which marks the team’s attempt to expand on the “narrative experience” formula offered by The Red Strings Club. This design philosophy sees the game be fuelled entirely by interesting character interactions, enthralling stories, and weighty choices, above all else. In another way, my love of Red Strings could also have been a bad omen, given the very high hopes and expectations for The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood that it gave me.

Playing The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, you can definitely see the copious amounts of DNA the two games share in terms of structure. In CWS, you’re cast as Fortuna, a fortune-telling witch struggling through a one-thousand year period of exile her space-dwelling coven’s leader banished her to for predicting the group’s impending demise. Having summoned a powerful and forbidden entity named Àbramar to extricate her from this situation, over the course of the game, Fortuna gradually reconnects with the witching world via conversations with those whom she permits to visit her charming little house perched atop an asteroid.

A character in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.
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Sorry the place is a mess, I haven’t been cauldron by anyone in a while

Through chatting to and reading the fortunes of these a colourful cast of visitors from the coven and beyond, you gradually re-assimilate yourself with society and take on a key role in current events, with the latter being much like that of The Red Strings Club’s protagonist, Donovan. This time, though, instead of mixing different drinks in a bid to extract information about a futuristic megacorporation from customers, you’re using a deck of cards built using magical energy to try and solve problems affecting the coven and its witches.

Ranging from a suit-wearing cosmic architect obsessed with finding the meaning of life to a grower of magical chilli peppers, the gaggle of witches who parade through Fortuna’s house throughout the game are all diligently crafted characters with distinct personalities and quirks that makes talking to them a pleasure. Aside from a couple of references to things from our own universe that felt a little forced to me, their dialogue is incredibly well-written, intuitively flowing, and most importantly makes each of them feel distinctly human.

Starring alongside the space-dwelling spellcasters are a number of characters from Fortuna’s past life on Earth, who come off pretty well in their generally limited screen time - at least in comparison to the witches. Finally, there’s Àbramar, whose one-on-one conversations with you at regular intervals through the narrative form some of its strongest emotional moments, in addition to being a chance to stop and think about your choices before moving on.

The game deftly weaves numerous subplots, themes and subtle nuances into each major encounter, especially Fortuna’s conversations with her fellow witches. Which of these ends up striking you the most will depend on who you are as a person, but all of them offer something interesting to think about. As has become commonplace in Deconstructeam’s work, The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood does an especially brilliant job of portraying the unique perspectives and anxieties of its LGBTQIA+ characters.

There’s a section that revolves around a Transgender character finding their identity as a witch that I genuinely think helped me, a fairly generic straight white guy, to better grasp the kinds of conundrums and emotions people questioning their gender identity have to grapple with.

A tarot card in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.
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Something cooler than stamp collecting

When you’re not talking to a visitor to your charming little asteroid, The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood offers a few other activities to get on with. The most important of these, and the one you’ll spend the most time on, is crafting cards to add to Fortuna’s magically infused deck. Used for the litany of readings you’ll have to give to the game’s characters, fishing into their pasts and futures to reveal interesting truths, your cards are also designed to serve as a means for you to show off your artistic talents.

By experimenting with different combinations of backgrounds, central figures, and accompanying symbols, all of which cost different amounts of the game’s four variants of magical energy, and playing around with how they’re arranged, you can create some pretty unique aesthetics. Even I, a person noted for being unable to draw people without having one of their arms be larger than the other (don’t read anything into that), managed some pretty striking compositions, especially once characters began to gift me some more advanced elements.

The one minor gripe I had with the card-making element of the game, which also includes some neat little references to The Red Strings Club, is that the cards you make only end up featuring a small section of the background you’ve picked. In my view, this meant my creations didn’t include as much of the beautiful artwork of exotic locations from throughout the game’s universe that form each background as I’d have liked, even if I did get to learn a bit about these locales from the descriptions on offer.

When your energy reserves get low and there are no cute familiars in your window signalling the chance to invite someone over for a chat, Fortuna can sit down on her bed and read some “interactive fiction.” These are a series of eight or so short stories and pieces of micro-fiction written by different authors that all feature choices for you to make at various points in their narratives.

I found some more engaging than others, but there are definitely a few that are guaranteed to get you thinking, such as one about a butcher having to choose whether to slaughter their pet cow, and one about a hunter stalking a monster that’s eaten the rest of their tribe.

A card in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.
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Giving a second reading

As you might expect from a game that explicitly intends to explore the idea of fate, choice and consequence is a core tenet of the Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood experience. Each of many the readings you give to people has a tangible repercussion or two, especially if you choose to embrace the chaotic potential of cards made from fire energy, the element that offers the spiciest options. During one chapter, the game even transforms into a turn-based political campaign simulation that adds even more wrinkles and variables to the equation for you to negotiate.

That said, as I alluded to earlier, the characters are strong enough that you’ll likely really end up caring what happens to them, ensuring that an ‘evil’ run that sees you go through and try to cause as much havoc as possible will likely be left for a second or third playthrough. The game packs in just enough different ways of doing things, and interesting avenues to pursue, that you’ll definitely want to stick around in the manner it intends, even if it’s just to try and play your cards in a manner that lets Fortuna ascend to godhood.

Yes, if you make certain decisions, that’s the kind of thing that can end up transpiring.


In a way that reminded me of a line from Watchmen I’ve quoted in a previous feature, depending on what you’ve done, the end of one playthrough of the game can neatly flip over into another in the same save slot, giving you the chance to immediately set off down a path of different choices. Unfortunately, during both of the playthroughs I’ve started in this manner thus far, I encountered bugs that would see certain aspects of the game either immediately appear in the manner that either reflected the progression of the preceding playthrough or behave as though I’d made the same choices this time around.

For example, in one instance, prior to the completion of a ritual designed to rid a character’s face of a very visible malady, their face miraculously decided to cure itself, which was equally amusing and immersion-breaking. I’ve reported these bugs to the game’s developers and they’re already looking into rectifying them, but given how key the whole idea of a second playthrough to try and do things differently is to the game’s theming, it was definitely a shame that I encountered them.

Fortuna in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood.
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The write stuff

At the end of the day, I really love The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood. It’s a game that feels distinctly and unapologetically human in the best way possible, oozing the kind of passion and nuance that can only really be achieved to the maximum by a smaller studio with a clear and deeply personal vision they want to bring to fruition. It’s also clearly a love letter to the concepts of both art and literature, which, in a time that’s seeing the sanctity of both be threatened by the mediocre creations of AI bros, feels even more admirable and necessary.

It’s every bit the advancement on the wonderful foundation of The Red Strings Club that its creators seemingly intended and, once the teething issues are ironed out, I’m fairly confident that it’ll be battling the goliath that is Starfield for my 2023 game of the year nomination.

So, give it a go. You’ll have to make some tough decisions that affect the fate of the cosmos and everyone in it, but, somehow, you’ll eventually end up being okay with what you choose.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a game that feels distinctly and unapologetically human in the best way possible. Despite some teething issues, its charming characters and enthralling branching narrative make it an excellent follow-up to The Red Strings Club.

A PC code for The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood was provided by the publisher for review.

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