Cult of the Lamb, A Gamers' Perspective
If I ever wanted to throw caution to the wind and do whatever I wanted in a video game, Cult of the Lamb is one game that gives me all the tools I could possibly need to do so. Not only do I get the pleasure of resurrecting the dead to make their miserable lives even worse and reveling in their endless torment, but I also get the chance to entrap everyone I meet with falsified sermons and hoax rituals only aimed at harvesting their souls.
Cult of the Lamb - An intriguing Storyline
At the beginning of your adventure, you are a lamb being slaughtered by a forest cult that believes in a myth stating that a lamb will be the vessel through which “The One Who Waits” emerges from the great beyond to take up dominion on earth (well something like that). The four local Old Ones didn’t care for The One Who Waits, so they banished it to another dimension to strengthen their hold.
They didn’t realize that by sacrificing a lamb, they were actually sending it to The One Who Waits, who then resurrects the lamb with supernatural abilities in return for its perpetual fealty and promise to eliminate the other four gods and free The One Who Waits.
Thus, your lamb embarks on a mission to form its own cult in the name of its patron, Eldritch Abomination, in order to amass spiritual strength to aid it in its protracted search for revenge. After some time, the story takes a back seat to the splendid gameplay, though there are snippets of tales spice in there explaining more about the battle between The One Who Waits and its four brothers.
An Addictive Gameplay Awaits You On Cult of the Lamb
You’ll spend some time caring for your “followers” and the rest of your time fighting your way through the forests full of heretics, making for a gameplay experience that combines elements of survival simulation and a roguelike action sequence.
The roguelike component of the game has many of the hallmarks of games in this genre, such as providing the player with a simple weapon and a limited active skill with which to fight off waves of enemies across procedurally generated levels.
It shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to complete a full dungeon run, and you’ll find plenty of useful loot that can be put toward enhancing your community.
Even on the easiest difficulty level, the fights have a satisfying degree of challenge without ever becoming too frustrating. Except for the dagger, most of your weapons can finish off foes with a single blow, and your I-frame-granting dodge roll is a welcome addition.
Choose your Weapon Wisely In Cult of the Lamb
Axes, swords, gauntlets, and so on are your standard weapons, while your curses grant you area-of-effect attacks such as a sludge bomb with a long-range or a burst that drives away nearby foes. Each run begins with a random weapon and curse, but you will occasionally be given the opportunity to earn better ones as rewards for completing rooms.
That Cult of the Lamb’s dungeon-running mechanic never gets stale is a big part of why I enjoy the game so much. Every run will be different thanks to the random layouts and equipment changes, and the intense and chaotic battles will require your full attention. There is also the benefit of getting in and out of there before things get stale, as each run only lasts for about ten to fifteen minutes.
There isn’t much variety in the biomes’ enemies, and you don’t get much room to “build” your character beyond the tarot cards’ passive buffs that help you run better for a little while.
Build Your Cult By Persuasion or Force
Consequently, combat is straightforward, but it serves its purpose well within the larger game loop.
Whether you kill the boss at the end of the run or get run over along the way, the simulation will always bring you back to the commune where the cult is located. While out and about, you occasionally meet a new believer, or you “forcibly convert” someone by beating them up, adding them to your ever-growing cult.
Your cult members can help maintain the community by doing things like farming or mining, or they can sit humbly in a circle around the central shrine and offer their devotion in exchange for “Devotion”. If you work hard in the commune, you can save up your Devotion and use it to buy a nicer bed or build a shack from which to send out missionaries.
To counteract the inevitable decline in faith that comes with a larger population, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that the faith of your followers don’t waver. Maintaining faith among your followers requires constant attention to their material needs, such as providing food and repairing damaged buildings, because a shrinking following increases the likelihood of a rebellion from within.
You could always throw the dissenters in jail and ‘re-educate’ them, but that’s one less set of hands you’d have working for you. A ritual, like feeding your entire congregation until they are no longer hungry or dosing your followers with psilocybin so that they remain in a blissful trance for several days, can quickly restore your dwindling Faith.
However, you will need to make preparations in advance if you want to reap the full benefits of your ritual, as their effects have significant cooldown periods.
Cult of the Lamb: A Game That Puts You On Edge
I think the word “stressful” best describes Cult of the Lamb. Constantly feeling like you’re falling behind, the day/night cycle seems to go on forever. There’s a chance you don’t have the funds to buy a new sleeping bag for your newest cult member. Perhaps you’ve just exhausted your food supply and now half of your camp is complaining of hunger. Perhaps you need to dig a grave for a deceased loved one, but you don’t have the materials on hand.
A dungeon run is usually a stressful experience because you leave knowing that your camp will be in worse shape when you return, and you may or may not find the supplies you need.
Due to this, you’ll need to come up with some gloomily humorous solutions to problems. For example, if a follower dies of old age, the body can be desecrated while everyone is asleep, and the meat used for tomorrow’s meals or turned into fertilizer to help the crops grow more quickly.
When your prisons are already at capacity and a new dissident speaks out, you can simply eliminate the threat by eliminating them when no one is looking. Marrying into the cult can be a quick fix to improving a dwindling Faith in your cult. You have every right to be as unethical as necessary in your pursuit of The One Who Waits’ goals if that is what it takes to control and advance the growth of your cult.
A Doctrinal Framework can go a Long Way In Cult of the Lamb
As the cult’s members reach new milestones, they will gain new pieces of Doctrine and increase their devotion to the cause as their Loyalty increases. Your most devoted followers will make excellent workers, and when you have collected three fragments of the Doctrine, you can declare a new doctrine in the church, granting you access to a previously unattainable ritual or triggering a passive effect for everyone in the cult.
Having a doctrinal framework in place like this is incredibly helpful as you expand your flock and work to maintain order.
You’ll be able to meet with other NPC cults and take part in unique events as you explore the game’s various biomes, in addition to the forests and your commune.
For instance, if you travel to the lighthouse, you’ll find a fishing minigame where you can catch fish to feed your flock. The dice game at Ratau’s is one of a kind because it skillfully combines elements of chance and strategy. While at camp, you can visit the Mushroom People’s shop to purchase tarot cards and blueprints for camp decorations.
Everything in the game works together, adding to the context of growth and synergy that permeates the story. Just as the happiness of your flock has a direct effect on your viability in the woods, the health of your commune is directly tied to your success there. No matter how you choose to spend your time, there will always be another set of plans, set of skills, or set of tasks waiting for you to discover them.
Cult of the Lamb - An Addictive Gaming Experience
I appreciated that every facet of the game has a function which revs up the playability adding to the overall enjoyment of the gameplay as a whole. If you sit down to play this game with the intention of spending just “ten more minutes,” you might end up losing an entire hour due to its addictive nature.
Not All Rosy for Cult of the Lamb
Many people have expressed their dissatisfaction with Cult of the Lamb by posting negative reviews online. Admittedly some of the issues raised are cause for genuine concern, such as the shaky visuals and endless bugs that lead to the game crashing repeatedly (sometimes in the a short space of time), Cult of the Lamb is still a thoroughly enjoyable game.
Another complaint by industry watchers, critiques, gamers and non-gamers alike is that Cultnof the Lamb seemingly promotes occult practices while downplaying other more traditional faiths (especially Christianity).
It appears that not all of these technical issues are unique to the Switch version, as developers have stated that patches are in the works for all platforms to address some of the issues.
Despite this, Cult of the Lamb is in a rather buggy state right now, which is a real shame given the excellent underlying gameplay and design on display here. It’s unfortunate that Cult of the Lamb currently suffers from a number of bugs and performance issues that will inevitably arise during your playthrough.
Cult of the Lamb - A Visually Stunning Game with A Creepy but Cute Soundtrack
Cult of the Lamb’s visual style, which is reminiscent of the gloomy 2D art of the game Don’t Starve, is a major selling point. Everything, from adversaries to cult members to tufts of grass, appears to have been drawn on a flat, hand-drawn plane and to be looking directly into the camera.
The inclusion of bright-eyed, smiling animals in a blood-soaked midnight bacchanal adds an intriguing blend of cute and horrifying to the mix. While there is nothing here that we would classify as truly disturbing, the constant balance between light and dark keeps the excitement level high throughout the entire 15 tob20 hour campaign, as you explore different ecosystems and meet new characters along the way.
The soundtrack combines chants, whispers, and tribal music with a primal feel to achieve the desired “creepy but cute” effect. The majority of the score is therefore unobtrusive and ambient, the sort of music that is uncovered rather than announced, though the boss themes occasionally bring the tension to a head.
Cult of the Lamb is a unique take on the roguelike genre, both because of its strange and unsettling art style and because of how well it mixes action and survival gameplay. A constant flow of rewards makes sure that your hard work is always rewarded. This keeps the game challenging without ever feeling unfair.
Despite the game’s appeal, it has received mixed reviews due to problems like glitches, unfulfilled promises, and concerns that the game is inappropriate for kids. However, as someone that has played Cult of the Lamb, I have no hesitation recommending it to anyone for a trial today.