I have played some strange and mind-boggling games in the past. Yet, none have left me quite as confused as Priest Simulator. After investing many hours into its free Steam demo I was left reeling. The core simulation concept is sound, however, the story is so absurd I was left scratching my head.
Developed by Asmodev and published by Ultimate Games, this is a sim game combined with other genres. This single-player, FPS, hack ‘n slash title will make you chuckle while wondering what the heck is going on. The village of San De Ville is quaint but not quiet. Its residents stand up for what they believe in, and this causes friction between the factions that reside there.
Priest Simulator is unbelievably weird.
I’ve played an eclectic array of simulator titles, so one about being a priest didn’t phase me. Yet, I couldn’t have guessed quite how bizarre my gaming experience was about to be. With lashings of gratuitous violence, begging for funds, and racing around in a small Eastern European car, I clearly don’t know a lot about the priesthood.
The story is set in a tiny village that is Christian at its core. Yet, not everyone agrees with this religious view and factions begin to form. Christians, Satanists and ‘bums’ (atheists) all share this small community. You control Orlok – a cunning vampire who accidentally becomes the village priest. Moreover, this would be weird enough until you discover what the village is famous for. San De Ville is inexplicably renowned for a deadly chilli eating contest! People flock from around the country to enter and become famous.
The exploits of this event and the village are captured by an ‘influencer’. She wishes to capture every juicy moment while boosting her fame. As I said, it’s bloody odd and makes little sense, but don’t let that put you off.
Just a day in the life of a priest.
Because it’s a simulation title, there are standard mechanics at play. You must complete tasks, renovate areas, and perform your godly duties. Yet, even these mundane elements have a surreal twist to them. Subsequently, the weirdness increases and so does the laughter.
Orlok isn’t your normal priest, however, you can’t blame him for being a little unorthodox. After all, he stumbled into the job by accident. Whenever trouble strikes, and this happens regularly, you must use a multitude of tools at your disposal. You may bludgeon your foes to death, lift objects with your powers of telekinesis, shoot them with your shotgun glove, and more. These items can be upgraded on your journey and this improves their durability, power, and strength.
Alongside the murder, there are some standard housekeeping moments. You will renovate the village or church, clean up graffiti, and complete other mundane tasks. You are also required to collect funds from your followers, quell any uprisings from the Satanists, and spread the word of God.
Once you have completed those tasks, you must tackle exorcisms alongside other jobs. These wonderfully strange tasks make up the core storyline as well as the side quests. Taking on every mission allows you to enjoy a rich and surreal experience. Its blend of genres works well, and though it is strange, and it may confuse you, it’s a brutal and fun ride while it lasts.
Priest Simulator has great cinematic.
I don’t play simulator games to be wowed by the graphics, though Microsoft Flight Sim did impress me. Priest Simulator, on the other hand, is a very standard affair. Its world is nice and colourful and great to explore, but that’s about it! The characters are weird but serviceable, yet they are not amazing. Subsequently, it’s pleasant to look at, but it could easily be mistaken for any other sim title. However, one element does stand out, and that’s the docusoap cinematic. The grainy and jittery footage captures the amateur efforts of the would-be ‘influencer’ perfectly. These short scenes broke up the gameplay nicely and were a welcome addition.
Though the graphics didn’t surprise me, the audio fared much better. The excellent combination of voice acting and unusual sound effects will make you chuckle. You’ll love listening to the dialogue and following orders as the creepy voices fill the air. Furthermore, the sound of crunching bones, crashing furniture, and brutal bludgeoning never got old.
A great UI, but the controls are clumsy.
In typical sim fashion, there are plenty of mechanics to understand and buttons to press. Fortunately, Priest Simulator has this covered thanks to its great user interface. The combination of radial menus makes selecting objects and tools an easy task. However, what was noticeable were the clumsy controls. They weren’t as responsive as I’d hoped and this is noticeable when you drive your car. Trying to steer your hatchback was a tedious and unenjoyable task. This was disappointing, as zooming around the village while running down your foes should have been a highlight.
Simulation titles have a tendency to become stale and boring, yet Priest Simulator didn’t. Helped by its absurd story and variety of missions, I found it captivating throughout. In its current build, I cannot say if it’ll have replay value. Yet, if the rest of the gameplay follows suit, it’ll have a niche audience who’ll love its absurdities.
Priest Simulator proves that the righteous path is anything but boring.
No one would have guessed the Holy path in life would be so exciting. Yet, Priest Simulator proves that being righteous is anything but boring. Its odd story, weird missions, and colourful characters make this a bizarre game you won’t forget in a hurry. It’s free to try on Steam, so you have nothing to lose by playing it. Can you restore the faith in the Catholic Church, or will the Satanists win? Grab your holy water and complete every mission in the name of the Lord.
Priest Simulator will leave you reeling! Its odd story, strange characters and unusual missions aren’t what I expected from the priesthood. Can you convert everyone onto the righteous path? If not, don’t worry, just eradicate the infidels with whatever tool is on hand.
(Reviewed on PC using Steam. Only available on PC.)