Cult Of The Lamb Review: The Mashup Of The Century
Developed by Massive Monster
Published by Devolver Digital
When you look at Cult Of The Lamb, you might think, “Hey, that looks like a demon version of Animal Crossing with some Dungeon crawling.” You would be mostly correct. But really, it’s like Animal Crossing, Binding of Issac, Midsommer, Moonlighter, and Stardew Valley all had a ritualistic blood orgy and gave birth to a demon. And that hellspawn is Cult Of The Lamb, all praise Cult Of The Lamb.
So to get this out of the gate, Cult Of The Lamb is cute; it is cute as hell. But it’s got this dark big dark side to it. It starts with our titular character Lamb being sacrificed to the apostles of The Old Faith. Only for The One Who Waits to help resurrect the Lamb. Gifting the Lamb his crown to help him raise his own cult and be able to harness the power needed to fight back.
While the majority of your time in Cult Of The Lamb will be spent going through these four randomly generated dungeons, you’ll have to play through each one four times. On the fourth go-through, you’ll be able to kill one of the four apostles. Each dungeon has its own biome, filled with different enemy types and resources. This helps differentiate between dungeons a lot and breaks things up a little helping Cult Of The Lamb feel constantly fresh.
The other big side to Cult Of The Lamb is building up and maintaining your cult. While going through the dungeons, you will either come across some cultists waiting for you, and each time you get to the end of a dungeon, you will be given a cultist in the form of a cute version of the boss. That or meeting these weirdly creepy NPCs who will sell you acolytes is the way to build out your cult the best.
As the cult leader, you’ll have an essential job. Building beds, farms, resource gathering facilities, bathrooms, churches, etc. From the start, you’ll have to tell your cultists what to do, collect resources, tend to the farm, or pray, just to name a few of the things you’ll be able to do. Praying is a vital part of Cult. As you gain enough devotion, you’ll be able to level up your cult gaining access to new buildings and getting better yields on resources.
Once you get to the second dungeon, or when you start getting a lot of cultists, things can get hectic. People get sick, you’ll get dissenters, and people will become generally unhappy. However, you can do a few things to help alleviate these issues. For example, you can build medical centers and get some prisons to change the dissenters’ minds. One of my favorite things is holding sermons and performing rituals to help their moods. Or, if you’d rather focus on leveling up your strength faster, you could also do the darker rituals like brainwashing or sacrificing your loyal followers to gain more abilities.
The whole cult building half of Cult Of The Lamb is well thought out. My only issue is that I found myself being bogged down, specifically when almost all my cultists got sick before I had access to the medical building. Which, in turn, slowed down my construction, my devotion gain, and brought down my cult’s faith. It was a rough and long few days in the game trying to get everyone healed up while I stayed in town farming and doing the small day-to-day stuff I would have liked my cultists to do.
The dungeon-crawling half of Cult Of The Lamb is amazing. I never felt like runs were the same with so many weapons and curses (ranged attacks). That being said, there is a pain in picking your oath as you complete levels within the dungeon, but that’s not bad. In fact, it goes to show that in Cult Of The Lamb, every resource is valuable, so a chance at more mushrooms, gold, or stone was worth the shot. But is it better than a new follower? Or a chance encounter with one of the many weird ass NPC’s that populate the world. Those are the choices you’ll have to make while also making choices when it comes to weapons and curses. The best part is that it all feels good to play. A controller is recommended, and I couldn’t agree more. It just feels right, and it’s incredibly responsive.
The sounds of Cult Of The Lamb are just like everything else fantastic. Mixing the sounds of a Midsommer fantasy with this haunting dungeon backing leads to an interesting mix. It really makes you feel a part of this world, as do all the little touches. Being able to name and customize your followers, having them give you quests, and getting in disputes, and most importantly, a big weight is given to how your moral compass will drive you. It all lends to this weird mixture of the occult and Disney that never feels jarring when it leans one way or another during specific events.
Overall, I think Cult Of The Lamb is amazing. It has landed in my top three of the year for sure. You can tell alot of love went into every aspect of this game, and the way it all meshes together is really something magical. Do I wish my cults bout with the plague didn’t happen? Sure, but it also proves that I actually cared for my followers enough to put my own task on hold to help them. Every once in a while, you play a game that is exactly your shit that you’ll leave installed on something so that every once in a while, you can dip your toes back in, and I’d like to welcome Cult Of The Lamb to that list. With games like Final Fantasy 9, Mass Effect 2, and Stardew Valley, you’re a welcome addition, and I can’t wait for everyone else to experience you.