The Thaumaturge Review – An Existential Novel in Game Form

The Thaumaturge, a game that plays like a Dostoevsky novel.

Hristijan Pavlovski
Hristijan Pavlovski - Content Writer
6 Min Read
The Thaumaturge
7 Good
Review Overview

Does anyone remember Ghost Whisperer? That weirdly wholesome show from the 2000s? Well, The Thaumaturge is kind of like that, but instead of wholesome, it’s borderline grimdark; and it plays like an existential novel, which I absolutely adore. Let’s take a look and see what the game has to offer.

Wiktor Szulski Is The Name

The protagonist Wiktor Szulsky
Wiktor Szulski Himself

In The Thaumaturge you play as the namesake himself, Wiktor Szulski, the latest descendant in a long line of thaumaturges. Thaumaturges are people born with an innate ability to sense people’s emotions and flaws as well as the salutors that are attracted to them.

Salutors are the other part of the thaumaturgist’s identity, these are spirits that are attracted to people’s flaws. Flaws, my dear reader, are a sort of “stain” on one’s soul that appears after a traumatic event.

Intro Cutscene
Intro Cutscene

Dear Wiktor, for example, has the flaw of Pride, which you can choose to feed or leave as is. Upyr, Wiktor’s first salutor, is the spirit of a Polish nobleman from the past who died in a gambling dispute as a result of his excessive pridefulness.

The salutors themselves aren’t pernicious to the thaumaturges, at least not the ones they’ve bonded with. Instead, they help them navigate the world and face the challenges that are thrown at them.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

Upgrade Tree
Upgrade Tree

Throughout the game, you’ll encounter multiple individuals whose salutors you have to draw out and defeat to acquire their powers. This is how you progress in the game. You don’t become stronger by increasing your stats – you become stronger by unlocking new tricks to pull on your enemies.

To draw out a salutor you have to invest yourself in the world, delve into its intricacies, and explore every avenue available to you. This isn’t like Pokemon, you can’t just battle your way to the end, you have to get there with intrigue.

The Thaumaturge Combat Encounter
Combat Encounter

Combat isn’t entirely absent from the game either, it’s just not the main point. The moves themselves are beautifully animated and play out like a movie, they just get really old really fast after the first few encounters.

The combat itself is time-based and round-based. Certain moves take a certain amount of time to perform. By being smart, you can chain your attacks while disrupting the enemy of theirs in the process.

You have to be really smart in combat, as I found out the hard way. It’s only you and your salutor against the whole world, one wrong move and it’s game over.

What I Liked About The Thaumaturge

Albuquerque Joke Reference

The Thaumaturge has an interesting way of storytelling that I find reminiscent of an existentialist novel. It has a diverse cast of characters that inspires you to introspect into your own nature, which I personally like.

Oh, and another thing that I absolutely loved is the art style, particularly the fashion present in the game. If I could, I’d dress like Wiktor all the time. The game looks gorgeous when it wants, but therein lies its problems.

What I Didn’t Like About The Thaumaturge

Wiktor at home
Wiktor At Home

There are primarily 2 things that I found problematic with The Thaumature in my time playing it, one is the performance issues I encountered, and the other is the voice acting.

Random sections of the game really chugged along and made my PC work for it, while others were as smooth as butter. It’s possible this is because of the review build.

The voice acting though is another thing entirely, it’s very inconsistent. Certain characters are perfectly voiced, while others are just jarring to hear speak, which really kills your immersion.

Final Verdict

The Thaumaturge Prologue End Screen
Prologue End Screen

If you’re someone who is drawn to story-driven adventure games, then The Thaumaturge is the game for you. Granted, it’s a little rough around the edges in certain departments, however, most of those issues can easily be resolved with a patch or two.

It’s an excellent game if you’re looking for a captivating experience that it’s too hard to grapple with. The story transports you back to the turn of the 20th century and it faces you with the realities of the period, with a few fictional elements sprinkled here and there.

What do you think of The Thaumaturge? If you’ve played it, what are your opinions? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

This review is based on the PC version of The Thaumaturge. The key was provided by Evolve PR.

Review Overview
Good 7
Review Overview 7
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By Hristijan Pavlovski Content Writer
Bachelor of Philosophy and Content Writer. In my free time, I also write fantasy short stories and the odd philosophy book here and there. I’m also an avid fan of strategy games and RPGs.
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