Cult of the Lamb
“Cult of the Lamb excels as a darkly comedic administration sport, although its roguelite part commits some cardinal sins.”
Wonderful camp administration
Intricate, interlinking techniques
Intelligent use of cult tropes
Weak roguelite motion
Exhausting to gauge hit containers
Floor stage satire
For chunk of my Cult of the Lamb playthrough, I used to be an ideal chief. My flock of woodland cultists was dwelling in concord, merrily displaying their devotion to a monstrous god. Then got here the lumber scarcity. Inside a couple of days, dissent began to stir in my ranks as I used to be unable to repair damaged beds. By the point I harvested sufficient wooden to repair the issue, I wanted to make use of it to assemble a jail as a substitute. It turned out that the road between paradise and nightmare was mighty skinny.
Cult of the Lamb explores that balancing act by a darkly comedic premise pulled straight from the golden age of the corporate Newgrounds. It is a hellishly addictive administration sport that revels in its spiritual farce like cultists prancing round a bonfire. However like my uneven stint as a pacesetter, it struggles to totally pull off the advanced style juggling act it units out to realize.
A significantly better administration sim than it’s a roguelite, Cult of the Lamb is at its finest when it is a weird world model of Animal Crossing (with extra satanic rituals). I simply wished I might order my followers to do my dungeon crawling chores for me.
Tending the flock
In Cult of the Lamb, gamers take management of an harmless lamb who will get suckered into working a cult for a chained god. The woolly hero is tasked with constructing a functioning commune, changing different animals into followers, and killing 4 rival gods which can be retaining his grasp imprisoned. It is a zany premise that simply so occurs to be an ideal administration sim setup, one which’s loaded with interlinking economies and powerful development hooks.
As my followers generated devotion by praying at my camp’s central shrine, I might use that useful resource to unlock constructions that may very well be constructed with the wooden and stone mendacity round. Inside an hour, I had some rudimentary beds for my followers, farm plots to develop meals, a cooking station, and a temple to evangelise from. Like an efficient preacher, Cult of the Lamb is at all times instructing one thing new, slowly making the every day routine busier with out feeling all of the sudden overwhelming.
Each resolution performs an vital position within the camp. Putting in an outhouse stops followers from pooping within the grass, which might sow discontent amongst simply grossed-out animals. As soon as arrange, that waste will be collected from the toilet and used to fertilize crops. These crops flip into elements that can be utilized to prepare dinner meals, retaining everybody fed and comfortable — except you determine to prepare dinner a meal with that feces as a substitute. That stage of intricacy runs by each system, permitting you to create a purposeful (or dysfunctional, should you so select) society.
What’s particularly spectacular is that this is just one layer of the administration sim. On prime of these typical city-builder hooks, the sport’s spiritual premise brings additional depth. You are not simply managing dwelling circumstances and starvation; you are attempting to max out your flock’s devotion and harvest it like a useful resource. Carry out a sermon and you will get forex that permits you to purchase everlasting upgrades for the sport’s fight part. Maintain a ritual to bless the ocean and you’ll get a bigger haul while you go fishing (conversely, you’ll be able to declare a quick, which is able to decrease the commune’s devotion however preserve them from going hungry because it freezes their starvation meter) . Religion is as a lot of a useful resource as wooden, which is probably the sport’s toothiest morsel of non secular satire.
Cult of the Lamb surprisingly stands hoof-to-hoof with extra “severe” systems-heavy video games like Frostpunk.
My favourite piece of the sport’s huge net of techniques comes within the type of doctrines. After accumulating three pill shards, gamers get to place a brand new regulation into movement. That lets them form what sort of cult they wish to run, whether or not it’s benevolent or fearful. In my cult, I decreed that my followers can be grass eaters, permitting them to eat meals manufactured from grass with out making them query their devotion. Later, I decreed that I might shake followers down for a tithe any time I needed. Every decree riffs on totally different cult tropes, adapting them into impactful (and darkly hilarious) gameplay choices.
That is not even the underside of the barrel. I might go on about villager traits, quests, perk-granting necklaces, and extra. For one thing that appears like a cartoon gimmick, Cult of the Lamb surprisingly stands hoof-to-hoof with extra “severe” systems-heavy video games like Frostpunk.
If the administration sim is an angel on Cult of the Lamb’s shoulder, its rouglite ingredient is its satan. There’s an motion part on the heart of the sport, the place gamers set out on expeditions to kill these 4 gods. Like different video games within the style, gamers combat by a procedurally assembled set of rooms to slay one boss at a time. However like gardening or mining for stone, it is extra of a chore than something.
There aren’t many compelling exams of talent in a run, even in boss fights.
After I say “roguelite,” the emphasis is on the lite. Reasonably than doing one huge run, gamers full simple micro-expeditions that normally take 5 to 10 minutes to finish. That is nice for individuals who discover video games like Useless Cells too imposing, nevertheless it limits the enchantment of the style. For example, a lot of the fun of video games like Hades comes from experimenting with builds every run. Cult of the Lamb’s runs are so brief and devoid of significant perks that I by no means obtained the sensation that I used to be developing a robust toolset. Tarot playing cards, the sport’s model of relics, are likely to solely grant boring boosts like including a half coronary heart of well being or upping assault energy by a hair.
Weapons are equally missing. There are a couple of weapon varieties within the sport’s pool and a few courses to unlock (like vampiric weapons), however nothing actually modifications the best way I method a room. Each single one is a close-range melee weapon that has me hammering the X button to let loose the identical brief combo. The one distinction is weapon velocity, with slower weapons merely feeling disadvantageous because of enemy assault velocity.
There aren’t many compelling exams of talent in a run, even in boss fights. Whether or not it is a sub-boss or the massive dangerous of a biome, fights are issues of easy sample recognition and bullet-hell dodging. That makes the sport way more pleasant for individuals who hate bashing their head in opposition to a wall, nevertheless it’s missing counterbalance to maintain runs attention-grabbing. After dozens of runs, I wanted I might discover a strategy to assign a follower to do the soiled work for me.
I would not describe any of this as dangerous; it is completely positive hack and slash gameplay. It simply pales subsequent to the intricate cult administration, feeling like a tithe it is advisable pay to benefit from the sport.
Cult of persona
Cult of the Lamb’s most instantly notable characteristic is its cartoon artwork type, which nearly makes it appear to be a grown-up flash sport. The colourful and cuddly visuals give the sport its demented darkish edge à la Comfortable Tree Mates. It is a simple to adore aesthetic, although I did discover that the virtually Paper Mario-like look made it troublesome to gauge enemy hitboxes throughout battle.
I want the expertise had extra enamel than a piece of satire.
The lovable visuals make for some enjoyable dissonance when performing a blood sacrifice, however I want the expertise had extra enamel as a piece of satire. Regardless of all of the references to cult clichés, the sport by no means has a lot to say concerning the factor it is lampooning. It is principally performed for straightforward sight gags, which is shocking contemplating that it appears to have an actual bone to select with blind devotion. The central story heads towards a fairly apparent conclusion from the get-go, one that just about completes gamers of any sins they’ve dedicated alongside the best way.
There’s nonetheless that inherent spiritual satire to its useful resource administration, nevertheless it nearly feels simpler as a darkly comedic Animal Crossing parody. Are the 2 video games so totally different? Each have gamers making a comfortable village for lovable woodland creatures, adorning the city to lift happiness and declaring ordinances. The one distinction is the presence of god, which distorts the happy-go-lucky paradise right into a Midsommar-type scenario.
Cult of the Lamb might have dug the sacrificial knife in somewhat deeper, nevertheless it nonetheless will get sufficient of the jugular.
Cult of the Lamb excels at delivering a multilayered administration sim that makes use of its cult premise as way more than a twisted gimmick. It is solely let down by its middling roguelite gameplay, which appears to overlook what makes the style so interesting. Its satire might stand to be extra direct, nevertheless it nonetheless takes sufficient pointed stabs at spiritual cults by turning devotion into an expendable useful resource. Pearls shall be clutched.
Is there a greater different?
If you’d like a genre-bending roguelike that offers you extra to do between runs, Hades is the gold commonplace. Moonlighter additionally fuses rouglite motion and administration pretty properly.
How lengthy will it final?
That is determined by which problem stage you choose, however a medium playthrough took me round 12 hours to finish.
Must you purchase it?
sure Even when it does not nail the roguelite style, Cult of the Lamb is an addictive administration sport for the heretics on the market.
Cult of the Lamb was reviewed utilizing a PC model working on Steam Deck.