icon Author: Vexwryn
The Thaumaturge Review

It’s Time to Fight Your Inner Demons…
Taking place in 1905- pre World War I Warsaw, Poland, The Thaumaturge thrusts you into the role of Wiktor Szulski- a man battling his own inner demons, as well as the demons of others. In a beautiful marriage of history and fantasy, Fool's Theory has brought a unique Isometric RPGs to the table, full of physical, emotional and mental conflict. While far from perfect, The Thaumaturge brings detective work, difficult moral choices, and gorgeous storytelling together, making for some ultimately creative and rewarding game play.

Our main protagonist Wiktor Szulski is gifted with the powers of Thaumaturgy- granting him the use of otherworldly powers and abilities. These range from the use of Salutors (entities that give Wiktor his abilities, aide him in combat, and bind themselves to him through Flaws) and their powers, to influencing friends and foes alike to manipulate certain situations. Using his mysterious and often misunderstood powers, Wiktor strives to come to grips with his relationship with his father, Stanisław, who shares the gift of Thaumaturgy with his son- as well as his family history that is steeped in mystery.

There's nothing that a small amount of manipulation can't handle...

Upyr, doing the Lords Work. 

Part of that family history revolves around the ability to use Salutors, if the gift of Thaumaturgy has been passed along- as is the case with Wiktor. Salutors are paranormal being- some may even call them demons, who enter into a pact of sorts with a Thaumaturge. This gift, however, is not free- as you will soon come to find out. To bond with a Salutor, you must first offer a Flaw in return. Wiktors default Flaw, is PRIDE- and this allowed him to bond with Upyr 15 years prior to the star of the game. Through leveling your character, you will be able to increase the skills he, and others, provide. In combat, they are indispensable, allowing you to pinpoint enemy weakness, and strike with precision. Keep an eyes out for others with Flaws. Who knows-you may find they attract some...interesting company.

A mature Flaw coming to light.

Deduction and the Power of Thaumaturgy...
Navigate Warsaw using your wit and deductive abilities- unraveling the events surrounding you, and your family. Unleash the powers of your Salutors as you uncover them- each boasting it’s own strengths in both combat and in the field. Engage in a unique combat system that prioritizes forethought and strategy, equipping gained abilities to attacks to make the most of your skills, while using the enemies weaknesses against them. Make decisions that shape your story, and impact the future of yourself, and those around you- and ultimately be the master of your own fate.

Some residents seem all too keen to pick a fight.

Examine items, read clues, and pay attention to detail. Eventually, you'll form a conclusion.

The core driving force in this title is, unquestionably, its story. In a wild mix of historical fiction with a sprinkling of the supernatural and occult, you will find yourself coming face to face with characters of the past, in ways you may have never thought possible. This sincerely provides some of the most compelling and, at times, wildly amusing storytelling that is, undoubtedly, the greatest strength The Thaumaturge boasts. However, it can also be viewed as a potential weakness and deterrent for players not inclined t’words dialogue heavy and reading intensive world building, relying on numerous articles found scatted about Warsaw. In short, if heavy reading and a more flourished style of writing and dialogue is not quite to taste, this may be a pass for you.

We All Have Our Flaws...
While the sheer amount of reading required to build up a full profile of the world you’re in can be daunting, it ultimately feels rewarding, giving you context and subtle clues to the world around you. The amount of historical figures thrown into the mix is delightful, providing a glimpse into the struggles of pre World War I Poland, as well as struggles of existing day to day during that time.  That, however, may not be enough to keep players interested if they lack being open to a historical fiction.

The Flying University, meeting in secret.

While combat is interesting, and initially entertaining, it lack any real thrill or excitement. The semi “rock paper scissors” formula is useful, in conjunction with the skill effects you can equip- but ultimately it feels repetitive (regardless of what Salutors you may have acquired), further driving home the fact that this is NOT where The Thaumaturges bread and butter are. Overall, the combat is passable. It’s not unpleasant, but it leaves you wanting something more.

On the way to send a telegram.

Exploration, unfortunately, also faces the same thought of wishing there was more- as there are far more “invisible”” and visible walls than one can imagine. Don’t look to explore Warsaw TOO thoroughly, as you'll be met with cleverly placed ropes, barricades, and debris piles. The world was so wonderfully engaging that I did want to see more- if only I was allowed to. That aside, the maps are beautiful with vast attention to detail; the hustle and bustle of carriages along the cobble stone streets, as well as very early trolleys occasionally pass by along with plenty of foot traffic. You will ALWAYS find something happening in Warsaw. Even where you may least expect it.

Overall, The Thaumaturge boasts beautiful storytelling with a great since of wit and humor that will drive gameplay forward. While it has some weaknesses in it's combat and exploration, it more than makes up for it in substance- it's story being meticulously well crafted. While not all players will find a historical fiction game appealing, I'd at least give it a chance- as I found myself pleasantly surprised at the attention to detail and sincere desire for historical accuracy, while providing their own unique twist. It's been nothing short of a sheer joy to play, and I would highly recommend give it a shot, especially if you are a fan of Isometric RPGs, and lore heavy worlds. You won't be disappointed.

Currently, The Thaumaturge is available on PC via Steam, GOG, and Epic. It has plans for release to PS5 as well as Xbox Series X|S in 2024 as well, but is TBA. 

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