I had no idea what to expect when playing Cult of the Lamb, the newest game from publisher Devolver Digital and developer Massive Monster. However, what I did expect is what happens when genres crossover and you add a roguelite adventure with dungeon crawler – a memorable experience that shouldn’t be missed.
I’m barely scratching the surface of what Cult of the Lamb truly is as it infuses even more mechanics like base building into the mix to make this game one heck of an experience. I was taken aback by how well everything came together in the saucepan (even if there were a few clumps that left a sour taste in my mouth). The fast pace of the dungeon-crawling elements pairs well with the roguelite elements even as some surface-level pitfalls drag the experience down.
One day, several demons sacrifice all the lambs of this world to avoid a prophecy that will prevent the lambs from rebelling against them. You are the last of your kind and, at the time of your sacrifice, a demonic entity known as The One Who Waits will ask you to create a cult in its name in exchange for your resurrection to take your revenge. You will have to create a cult, all the while taking your revenge through dungeons. In total, there are four dungeons to travel to and defeat the Old Gods.
Within each temple is a wealth of resources for you to collect as well as enemies to defeat. These locations are randomly generated and split up between combat sections that will often provide a challenge to players even though sometimes the mechanics never delve further than surface level.
Each dungeon has different settings. For example, you will have a dungeon themed around a spider’s nest, which is the only dungeon where you can collect spider silk and generally these segments take no longer than a half-hour to complete. There are also sidequests NPCs offer to you and generally these quests help flesh out your flock. In some cases, you might be asked to find a missing loved one or deliver items to your flock, but you do these knowing that you intend to sacrifice these characters for your purpose.
A good gyro made is usually made with a mix of lamb and revenge
Let’s start with the management of the cult: you will have three gauges to manage which are faith, hunger, and status of where your cult is located. The faith gauge will be managed in the way you care for your members. Giving speeches about faith, performing rituals that will often result in the death of one of your members, making bonfires, or even giving outside missions to your members will be good ways to keep your gauge full. For the hunger gauge, all you must do is feed the people who offer you their lives. Fishing, gardening, or even huge feasts are the ways to feed them. If you choose to garden, you should know that once you harvest your vegetables, you must cook them and then offer them to your cult. Then, finally, it will be enough to simply clean the area to fill the cleanliness gauge as members can relieve themselves and get sick at any time. It is also possible to unlock toilets and a cleaning station, but this is far from all Cult of the Lamb offers.
When you recruit a new member, you have the option to give them a task. Chopping wood, mining stone, and praying are some of the tasks you can assign them. Materials are a very important aspect of worship management as you will need them for beds, mines, lumber camps, prayer sites, and much more.
But what we are interested in here are the prayer sites. When you assign a member to pray, they will go to a place of prayer, and this will give you the experience to level up. This means that the more people you have praying, the faster you level up. This is essentially how you unlock new buildings and, at the same time, level up your prayer place.
Lamb to the Slaughter
As the leader of the cult, it is necessary to complete your sermons every day because when you do them, your members will give you faith points that will allow you to be more powerful for when you return to the dungeons. If your Faith ends up getting too low, you may face dissenters from your flock. To prevent this from happening, the solution is often throwing a massive ritual and banquet to get your flock’s mind away from negative thoughts, but it’ll be something you need to consider as you cannot continually host these parties due to a timer that keep you in check.
Let’s move on to the roguelite aspect of the game: the dungeons. The game has four dungeons and a final boss that will take you just over ten hours to complete. Each dungeon will need to be completed four times to destroy the seal on the door that protects the demon in question. As you make your way through the game you will be given the choice to select the next room you wish to pass through and these will be identified by a logo of materials, a future apostle, or even a new weapon to help you complete the dungeon. This little logo can be very helpful, for example, if your cult is short of wood, you can simply select the icon that represents that material to remedy your need.
During your journey, you will come across a card reader. This person will give you a tarot card that will have different effects such as doubling your resources, having two more hearts of life, or even multiplying the damage you inflict. These boons are a welcome addition when you’re about to visit the dungeons offering bonuses like higher critical chance, better chest loot, and so on.
Everything might feel like it is macabre but in all honesty, the light-hearted tone that this game offers is such a balanced take on the subject material. I can’t stress how wonderful the use of colours is and many of the palettes you’ll see in-game offer a stunning, vibrant world well worth exploring and
Massive Monster has achieved a near-perfect balance between management game and roguelite with Cult of the Lamb. Whether it’s the graphics, the gameplay, or the soundtrack, the game will be able to satisfy you. It will take you just over 10-20 hours to complete the game and you’ll have a blast exploring dungeons while battling monsters. Being a cult leader is hard work and you’ll find a solid experience in Cult of the Lamb.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
The world is vibrant, colourful, and macabre
A ton of customization is available and well worth diving into