Astrologaster

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Astrologaster App Poster Image
Bawdy sim shoots for the stars but can be slow.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can begin to build understanding of astrological signs, Elizabethan English, and how historical events of the 16th century may have impacted those who lived through them. 

Ease of Play

While the app is easy to navigate, you're thrown into the experience with little guidance on what you're doing. 

Violence

Some mean behavior as well as options for player to make unkind choices.

Sex

Lead character manipulates situations for personal (sexual) gain, discussions of adultery, some obsessive/unhealthy behavior in sexual relationships. Much discussion about marrying cousins. 

Language

References to "strumpy humpy" (sex), "coitus post consultatio" (more sex), and various bodily functions/fluids.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional mention of excessive drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Astrologaster is a humor-based simulation game set in 16th century England that involves some mature themes like sex and adultery. Characters engage heavily in gossip, use graphic descriptions of unpleasant illnesses like diarrhea, discuss marrying cousins, and engage in religious persecution. Players who choose a path of sneaky and manipulative behavior are often rewarded for those choices. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

ASTROLOGASTER is set in Shakespearean 16th century London, and Simon Forman -- who's a real historical figure -- is battling the bubonic plague. He consults the stars, concocts a remedy, and... recovers. Armed with his new knowledge and confidence, Simon sets out to treat others in his community using astrology for diagnosis. What follows is a parade of gossipy seekers asking for advice on everything from vomiting ("chundering") to investment opportunities. Players assist "Doctor" Forman by reading the stars and choosing the best diagnosis available. What this means, however, is up for interpretation. Do you choose the result that will work out best for the person seeking help over time or do you choose the result that will make your patient the happiest? This is complicated by the fact that the local licensed physicians are after Forman for impersonating a doctor. He needs to obtain eight letters of recommendation from his patients, which requires them to be happy with his diagnoses. If he can obtain all the required letters, he will receive a medical license from the University of Cambridge. Players will see 13 patients over a series of 5-7 visits. Each client has a unique story arc, but their stories often overlap. As a result, a diagnosis for one person could impact the relationship with others. In terms of the interface, the story is portrayed in a pop-up book style replete with a witty madrigal chorus.

Is it any good?

With beautiful graphics, a clever chorus, and ribald sense of humor, there's a definite audience for this out-of-the-ordinary sim. Astrologaster is quirky and unique, but not without its low points. Sitting through the madrigal chorus between patients is fun at first but begins to feel tedious as the story continues. In fact, the whole movement of the story is slow, and the extensive use of Elizabethan English may impact engagement for kids. It's not always clear how the choices made impact the outcomes, but some of that may be design. Astrologaster will likely have a high appeal to those who like British humor and absurd plotlines. For those looking for a real-to-life sim, this probably isn't the best choice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can use the information in Astrologaster to talk about the medical profession over time. How has medicine changed since the 16th century? What would happen to Simon Forman today?

  • How do you like this app in comparison with other apps you could play? As you balance your time on- and offscreen, would this be an app you'd choose to use? Why or why not?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love simulations and history

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