So I heard you wanted to start a cult. No, not just any type of cult but one with cute animals and satanic rituals; oh god, every Christian’s worst nightmare. I’m sorry to disappoint you by revealing this isn’t a sex-filled cult. Good luck in your next life. When you think about religions and cults, many of each’s institutions core ideologies overlap. How do you control the masses while elevating your own personal interests?
Cult of the Lamb in a way is a reflection of western cultures’ beliefs of what a cult is. Gathering lost sheep and others into an area to worship a belief. So how does Devolver Digital and Massive Monster’s latest game Cult of the Lamb embody this belief while in a way using it for satirical purposes? Let’s dive into our Cult of the Lamb review.
Cult of the Lamb
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Massive Monster
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam (Reviewed), Xbox One, & Xbox Series X|S
Release Date: 8/11/2022
Cult of the Lamb is the story of a lamb led to the slaughter. Executed on an alter before four “prophets”, the lamb is stated to be the last of its kind. Upon reaching the afterlife, the lamb is greeted by a dark being known as the “The One Who Waits.”
This being tasks the lamb with building a following to worship it in exchange for its life. With the assistance of Ratau, The One Who Waits former leader, the lamb is tasked with building a new cult on the grounds of a destroyed temple. Ratau is the lamb’s primary instructor teaching the player the basics of the game.
As the player expands their cult, new areas will open up for the player to explore, do tasks, gather resources, and recruit new followers. These new areas will help the player expand their settlement and grow their cult. Ultimately, the main storyline can be put on hold indefinitely in favor of settlement development and design.
With over twenty hours in the game, I prioritized keeping my followers happy, village clean, and spreading the preachings of the One Who Waits rather than taking down the false prophets.
At the end of the day, Cult of the Lamb is a Roguelike overshadowed by its farming elements. The game offers players four difficulties to choose from ranging from easy to very hard.
On higher difficulties, the combat does become more challenging but the true difficulty comes from appeasing the cult’s followers. Dissent will ravage your cult faster than blight or a pandemic, causing your followers to rebel and even leave.
In order to prevent dissent and death, players must sustain each follower’s hierarchy of needs to appease the masses; this means cleaning the camp, feeding the followers, and keeping their thoughts in line with the faith.
Sadly, this is easier said than done. Faith can be managed by holding sermons, introducing commandments & doctrine, and offering blessings. Depending on the doctrine established, players can raise the dead, sacrifice the non-believers, and even marry a fellow cult member.
As I previously alluded to, players will have to split their time between roguelike dungeon crawling and the farming simulator. In order to gain early supplies, players must venture and survive random procedurally generated dungeons.
Each dungeon has a set number of stages in order to clear the run; clearing the run allows the player to retain all resources gathered. Like other games, players are punished for their death but not unjustly. Each run will still grant a percentage of what was found even if the player fails.
Once out of the beginning stages of the game, players will have to balance their time between the cult and slaying the heretic prophets. If you do forgo keeping your cult alive to gather resources and slay the prophets, that is possible, but it does have consequences. Having a devout cult grants the player better resources and weapons on each run.
If you are looking for a challenge dungeon clearer, playing Cult of the Lamb on Hard or Very Hard is an optimal choice. If you don’t mind dungeon crawling but would rather focus on the recruitment process, then I recommend playing through the game on easy or normal. Additionally, a Twitch integration allows the player to get devotion from their viewers. Viewers can also impact positive and negative outcomes and even name new followers.
Going into our Cult of the Lamb review, I was split on whether or not I’d like the game. Both Roguelikes and farming simulators have never been high on my list of genres I enjoy; however, within the first hour, I was hooked. Each room and dungeon run never felt the same, making each run feel like a refreshing experience.
Additionally, not knowing what enemies might spawn or what items might drop kept me on my toes. During each run, players can try out new weapons and spells to slay their enemies. As the run progresses, the player can pick up tarot cards enhancing a specific stat or ability.
Each run can have a different goal and by knowing what you need before going into the run, you can maximize your benefits. By choosing to balance the work-life balance, our cult was able to thrive while still empowering our little lamb into a monster-slaying beast.
The different skill trees in the game make your choices feel like they matter and can drastically change whether or not your settlement thrives or if dungeon clearing becomes a piece of cake.
Like Stardew and Animal Crossing, Cult of the Lamb offers a variety of mini-games for the player to experience. These can help with growing and sustaining the settlement. Combat in the game was enjoyable and on lower difficulties a lot of fun.
Attacks felt balanced and the dodge system allowed us to escape smoothly. There were times when I did get cocky and rushed head-on into the enemies. The game does not allow you to be an idiot and get away with it.
Cult of the Lamb prides itself on its controller support for the game; in fact, before the game even starts the developers recommend players use a controller to play. Keyboard and mouse utilization are still sufficient but the controller optimization really shines through.
The game offers cute light-style art when dealing with the cult’s village while the outside world remains dark and cold. During my playthrough, there were only a few times when the darker art style in the dungeon made things difficult when trying to avoid attacks.
The blend of the art styles gives each element of the game a different feeling separating the roguelike exploration vs the farming simulator aspects of developing the cult’s village. The option to choose each follower’s visual look makes each cult member feel unique.
Finally, the game’s soundtrack helps tonally separate the difference between the two gameplay elements. Dungeons have more of a darker and aggressive composition while exploration and the village have a softer tone making one feel at peace.
Character dialog leaves for goofy moments with some characters’ voice lines being over the top. At times it was difficult to leave the village due to how relaxing the music was.
Massive Monster has done an amazing job blending the roguelike elements with a farming simulator. The range in difficulties and varying dungeons allows for each player to have their own unique playthrough.
Cult of the Lamb shows the darker side of life. Players must deal with death, sanitation, belief, politics, and resource management in order to keep their cult happy; sadly at times, this can mean banishing, harvesting, or even imprisoning a follower. Thankfully they allow for potential resurrection and rehabilitation.
The game’s variety of items, skill trees, and decorative elements expand on the game’s unique feeling. No two players’ cults or villages will look the same unless deliberately intended.
Between decorating and exploring, it was easy to get lost in Massive Monster’s Cult of the Lamb. The use of Twitch integration adds an additional layer of complexity to the base game making it so the player never knows what they can expect.
After twenty hours of gameplay, I still feel like there is a lot more to accomplish. Yes, you can beat the main story in roughly 13hrs but if you are a creative gamer, you can easily surpass the 40-hour mark. Devolver has found yet another excellent game to share with gamers around the world just in time for Fall. Between my time with the game and watching others, I can easily say that this game will have a cult following.
The game can make players feel a variety of emotions ranging from pure joy to depression. Random characters you meet along the way tales can have you feeling heartbreak. The betrayal or the death of a beloved cult member can leave a void that only monster slaying can satisfy.
At the end of the day, I highly recommend Cult of the Lamb despite any previous accusations or controversies. If you are looking for a fun game to stream or play for hours, look no further.
Cult of the Lamb was reviewed on Steam using a laptop. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Cult of the Lamb is now available for PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.