In case you aren’t aware due to not playing the free prologue, Priest Simulator is very much in the ‘joke simulator’ camp. No, this isn’t meant to be a realistic foray into the daily life of the clergy. Instead, it’s a bunch of jokes and ridiculous shenanigans. Priest Simulator enters Early Access today with all of its bones in place. As such, it’s set to spend another four-to-eight months in development, but the story can be played from to start to finish. Some things will just be missing and less polished than they’ll be when the game enters full release.
There’s a surprisingly large story focus in Priest Simulator. You play as a vampire named Orlok who looks an awful lot like Count Orlok from Nosferatu. Orlok is an influencer in Hell and is more or less some kind of Baron who fights other Barons for control. The prologue sees Orlok defeating another Baron, only for his girlfriend Vamela to hit the wrong button on their elevator, sending them straight to Poland. Oops. They land directly outside a church run by a priest named Torpedo, who has gambled away all of the church’s funds and many of its valuables.
Torpedo sees an opportunity in Orlok, so he uses his priestly powers to remove Orlok’s vampire abilities. He’ll only return them once Orlok does his job for him for a while. Lazy bastard. Now, it’s up to Orlok to improve the church and see to the area’s flock. Each mission is accompanied by cutscenes, many of which have a mockumentary style with the characters talking directly to the camera. Much of the dialogue is fully voiced in Polish. The English subtitles are often poorly translated, but Priest Simulator is still quite funny. It takes the premise as seriously as you’d probably expect.
It’s too good, at least
Much like Bum Simulator, Priest Simulator is better than most games with ‘Simulator’ in the title tend to be. The game runs quite well despite having an open map, as I had over 100 fps most of the time. It doesn’t look all that great, but it’s got a lot of personality. The denizens mostly look like wooden dolls, except for the ones who look like animals. The game is pretty unfiltered, but it does change up common terms: Catholicism is called Christianism; Satanists are called Shatanists. These Shatanists will attack you when they see you out and about. There are actually more enemy types than I was expecting.
The combat is rather poor, though. Orlok can equip weapons in each hand. Some left-handed weapons have a ranged attack, others are just melee. One is a gun glove that you’ll charge up to fire off a shot. You also get a baseball bat and pitchfork. Right-handed weapons grant abilities: a chargeable blade stuns enemies; a telekineses gauntlet can pick up and throw objects; a crucifix scares them, causing them to run the other way for a few seconds. Hit detection for melee attacks is spotty, and there’s no weight or oomph to your strikes. It can be hard to tell you’re even hitting anything.
You’ll mostly just strafe around enemies while getting occasional hits in. It could be a hell of a lot better; I don’t enjoy the combat at all. Priest Simulator is structured around mostly linear series of tasks that act as story missions. Go here, do this thing, go there, answer a phone, yada yada yada. It takes a surprisingly long time for the game to open up. After a few hours, you’re tasked with raising the Christianism of the area to a certain level.
Get your exorcise
Going up in rank is done by renovating the church and performing exorcisms. Church renovation is as simple as buying a blueprint and then using your materials to automatically renovate certain parts of the church via a model in the attic. You’ll get money from playing the game and materials from breaking objects. But the exorcisms aren’t all that great. You go to a house and are required to perform certain actions like break totems and place your own before exorcising the demons from the possessed individual. You also need to flip all the crucifixes in the house.
Exorcisms are basically timed scavenger hunts and can take multiple attempts while you try to find everything within the time limit. The issue is that the crucifixes can be kind of hard to see, so these are too pixel-hunty for my tastes.
There’s also driving, as you can summon a car at certain locations. But it’s easier to just get around on foot, honestly.
You’ll also level up various attributes and upgrade weapons, which humorously use cassette tapes with black metal bands on them as upgrade materials. You can also handle confessions, which require you to pick the correct bible verse in response to each confession. These are funny at first, but they grow repetitive very quickly.
Priest Simulator is pretty alright, but it’s more funny than fun. As for whether Priest Simulator is worth it in Early Access, that depends on how much you like the premise and characters. I had a decent time with it, but the combat and exorcisms could really use some fine-tuning.