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Entertainingly weird/weirdly entertaining, December 1, 2020
This entry is a richly designed experience guided by a clear artistic vision. My attempts to describe that vision — it’s running a business that operates a church for seafood robots — will fail to do it justice.
The main mechanic resembles a card game where "disks" are placed in three fields that guide the story, and modifiers can be added to change their effects. Different variables are tracked on the side of the screen, and a pixel-perfect advisor offers help.
It's quick to figure out what will happen when various disks are submitted, but it's unclear whether you want those things to happen. You gradually gain awareness as you spend more time with Deus Ex Ceviche, developing conscious control over the proceedings. This mimics the experience of “you,” the central character in the story.
At first, I couldn't tell whether I wanted to restore things to normal or create a new order. In Deus Ex Ceviche, that might mean a religious order, a sequential order, or a restaurant order.
Wordplay is a major component of this entry, but they aren't quite puns. In the real world, people share imperfect metaphors when they’re trying to describe the workings of finance, theology, and computer programming. Deus Ex Ceviche blurs the edges of those concepts and freely substitutes nautical terms, business concepts, programming ideas, and spiritual dogma.
In a dizzying feat of logical consistency, those substitutions are consistent throughout the story. The three fields of play are front end, back end, and hardware, and each has an equivalent marine creature that is thematically linked with the rest of the work.
(In one of my encounters, it noted that you can translate "serpent" as "python" to create a new religious paradigm.)
Your choices to invest power and piety can result in rituals that reveal mysteries and draw the game to its conclusion.
...although pickling is always an option.