Honey, I Joined a Cult demanded I keep Christmas in my heart always
Deck the halls with boughs of holly — ’tis ALWAYS the season to be jolly in this beautiful
cult compound! That’s because we worship the divine Santa Claus — merry be his name — and believe in all his holiday glory. We, his elves, will sing his praises for all to hear; after all, it’s the best way to spread Christmas cheer! So you better watch out, and you better not cry! Better pay out, I’ll telling you why: Santa Claus’ cult is coming to town!
Although you can create and customize your own cult to worship an entirely different entity in Honey, I Joined a Cult, the amount of dumb grins and giggles that escaped from me while playing out my Santa-based religion was absolutely worth the price of admission ($20, if you’re curious). Currently being developed by Sole Survivor Games with publishing being handled by Team17, Honey, I Joined a Cult offers that familiar base-building/compound management gameplay that fans of The Escapists, Prison Architect, or The Survivalists will enjoy. With an already Very Positive rating on Steam despite its Early Access state, Honey, I Joined a Cult is shaping up to be another cult classic from Team17.
Honey, I Joined a Cult starts players off with an unusual premise — a failed cult. Taking on the role of the leader, players will watch helplessly as all their cult members are dragged away by officers, bound for anti-brainwashing processing. Luckily, they don’t have anything on paper that actually incriminates you, so you’re free to go. With a stash of cash and the phone number of a good plastic surgeon, you decide it’s best to quietly skip town, get a new face, and start a new cult from the ground up.
After some initial customization of your character, cult info, cult outfits, and worship room, players will be able to dive right in to setting up their cult compound. Those who have never played any of the aforementioned Team17 titles would do well to play the tutorial; for those well-versed in these kinds of simulators, there isn’t really much else you’ll need to know to get started. In fact, if you’ve already accumulated dozens of hours of Prison Architect, you might be surprised at how limited the options feel in comparison (more on that later).
The first thing you’ll need to know about Honey, I Joined a Cult is that there are two distinct groups of people you’ll be trying to brainwash — cultists and followers. To quickly sum, the cultists are the clergy, and the followers are the churchgoers. Since my cult worshipped Santa Claus, I named my cultists elves; unfortunately, you can’t name your followers, but I like to think they called themselves the “good children” who were on the “nice list.” Naming conventions aside, you’ll need to keep both groups happy, but they’ll need different buildings and objects to stay that way.
For example, the followers love all the different therapy rooms, and you’ll have to keep researching and building news ones to maintain their interest in your cult. The cultists, on the other hand, live on the compound, so they’ll need facilities like dorms, bathrooms, recreational rooms, and a cafeteria. You’ll need to constantly research new rooms and objects for both groups, lest they leave the cult and spread rumors about what’s going on in your compound.
As I played Honey, I Joined a Cult, I started coming up with all sorts of stories about my cult. I imagined the compound itself was called the North Pole, and I, Carol Bell, preached to my flock of elves in the chapel, appropriately named Santa’s Workshop. It was easy to come up with tenets of faith, like believing that Santa considered true believers to be “good children” or that there were spiritual consequences for being on the naughty list. Hymns could be Christmas songs, and perhaps the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” which warns children that Santa is always watching references their belief that Santa will one day grace them with his presence if they believe in the magic of Christmas hard enough. It was fantastic to idly build my Christmas cult in my head as I ran through the daily routine, the indirect emergent gameplay an absolute delight.
Although there are plenty of PR missions to send cultists on in an effort to recruit followers, tons of facilities and objects to keep upgrading, and a slew of new rooms to build at any given moment, you can get to a point after 4 – 6 hours where the monotony starts to set in. The game does try to keep it interesting by adding a room that, if pursued, promises to pivot the game to its true end goal, but if you’d rather just keep researching boosts and buildings and growing your compound, that’s fine too. If you’re coming from something like Escapists or Prison Architect, it’s around mid-game that you may feel like everything you can do has pretty much been done; with that being said, the team has big plans for Honey, I Joined a Cult, so if it sounds even remotely interesting, this just might be your blood of the covenant (or, in my cult’s case, milk and cookies).
Be sure to check out Honey, I Joined a Cult on Steam today!