People frown when they hear the word cult! It inspires images of fanatics, ghastly rituals, and ungodly acts. Now, these things may or may not be true. But, when I was gifted the chance to create and run my own cult, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Cult of the Lamb is the perfect title for would-be cultists or those with a soft side for the dark arts.
Developed by Massive Monster and published by Devolver Digital, this is a base-building rogue-lite adventure title. Furthermore, it brilliantly splits its focus between your cult and their home, and the exploration and resource management elements. What’s more, there are plenty of quests to tackle, many monsters to slay, mountains of upgrades, decorations to place, and followers to convert.
Cult of the Lamb is absurd and addictive.
I’ve played some great games recently, but this one is truly moreish. Because of its multi-layered approach, its gameplay ticks many boxes. However, this does have its drawbacks, as the initial learning curve is tough and confusing. Yet, once you get over this hurdle, you experience a rich and rewarding game that is tough to put down.
Though there are many outlandish moments, the most absurd, for me, was the plot. You are the last of your kind and consequently; you are hunted because of this issue. 4 deities decide that you cannot live and work together to sacrifice you to end your bloodline. The aforementioned evil power has other plans and brings you back to life as a vessel for his plans.
He empowers you to start a cult and destroy each of the deities. By doing so, he’ll break the chains that trap this devil from being reborn. To make matters stranger, you are a lamb and your followers are anthropomorphic beings with personalities and traits.
Plenty to do.
What truly amazed me about Cult of the Lamb was the volume of things to do. On top of this, there are many upgrades, new buildings, curses, doctrines, and so much more. What starts out as a low-key affair (albeit with a heavy data dump), soon turns into a micromanagement dream or nightmare depending on your preferences.
Alongside this, you must balance your exploration into enemy territory. Here you’ll explore a labyrinthine world of arena battles. Each small area is full of monsters, tarot cards, and more. Each dungeon culminates in a boss fight, and eventually, when all criteria are met, you’ll face off against each of the gods that sacrificed you.
If you are successful in annihilating the all-powerful deity, you’ll unlock a new realm and the madness starts over. However, you can return to previous locations and try an endless mode. This option progressively gets harder and you must recognise when to quit. Consequently, the rewards are great, but the risk is greater. Because it’s a rogue-lite title, you know that failure will be harsh. Therefore, you must decide whether you run with your loot, or gamble and keep going.
It is all about the cult.
You’ll get sucked into the excellent adventure moments. But progress is heavily dependent on how you manage your cult. Accordingly, a well-run and disciplined environment will shower you with rewards. Alternatively, mismanagement will cause followers to lose faith, starve to death, or revolt and leave altogether. So, how do you keep them happy? Tasks, food, and plenty of rituals and sermons.
Whatever your approach, you’ll have to be smart, ruthless, and calculating. After all, no one wants an elderly cultist screaming the odds! No, instead, kill two birds with one stone and kill the old codger. Hey presto, no elderly person to die and stink up the place, and everyone believes you are a wise and just leader.
Devotion and doctrines.
Leading by force is not always the right option. This is where devotion and doctrines are so key. By setting out the rules of your cult, your people know how to behave and what to expect. Furthermore, you unlock rituals to help your progress, or to remove troublemakers. Of course, this is all in the name of faith, so no one will complain at the odd missing cultist.
Devotion is the commodity used to unlock new structures and advance your cult. Without it, you’ll struggle to appease your people, and life will be miserable. However, by improving your home, your people evolve from a rudimentary bunch with all the mod cons. As such, you’ll leave behind your sleeping bags and unhealthy meals, and will build farms, shelters, and, of course, places to worship the lamb.
Cult of the Lamb looks fantastically dark.
I instantly admired Cult of the Lamb’s art style. With its isometric viewpoint, Don’t Starve style, and wonderfully dark moments, it’s eerie, creepy, and morbidly charming. Moreover, the rituals have unique animations and your followers are cute as hell. On top of this, it runs extremely well on the Xbox Series X with no frame rate problems or visual glitches.
Alongside the incredible visuals are some wonderfully haunting and amusing sound effects. Whether it is the slashing of your weapon, the scream of your foes, or the inane chatter of your followers, it never gets old. Furthermore, each region has a distinctive sound that helps to set the scene while making each one unique.
Slash, curse, roll.
Many rogue-lite titles focus on a brutal experience. Luckily, though, Cult of the Lamb is different, mostly. Thanks to its balanced approach, the combat elements never feel out of reach. What’s more, the UI is stripped back, and this helps to keep things simple. As such, you’ll focus on attack, rolling for defence, and using your curses. This is the extent of the control layout and this makes it easy to master. On top of this, you’ll enjoy the dungeon crawling while getting to grips with the other mechanics.
Cult of the Lamb is so addictive that I want to play it now. Once you grasp the fundamentals, you’ll cherish every cultish moment you encounter. Whether it is sacrificing your followers, fishing, playing dice, or hunting for resources, I never tire of it. Then, there is the small task of rescuing a devil and getting revenge. All in all, it’ll keep you busy for hours.
Cult of the Lamb didn’t disappoint.
I’ve read reports of bugs and glitches, but I didn’t experience any. Accordingly, I wasn’t disappointed at any point. For me, Cult of the Lamb delivered on every aspect and excelled in many areas as well. It is for these reasons that I recommend you to buy it here! Being a cult leader is not an easy task. However, with a considered approach and plenty of rituals, you can run your cult like a well-oiled machine.