Cult of the Lamb Will Make a Convert Out of You
Cults usually get a bad rap, and for good reason – so few have actual staying power. After all, most cults are just cash grabs by charismatic sociopaths, and none of them have any real divinity behind them. That is, until Cult of the Lamb. This adorable little lamb not only has charisma, they have a god on their side as well! Sure, said deity is a freakish cat demon that’s trying to break out of their celestial confinement, but they still have actual power. Lots of it. So it’s not a big deal for them to grant a small portion to you so you can do their good works and perhaps help pave the road to their eventual release.
As someone that’s been a fan of Cult of the Lamb pretty much since the first demented trailer, I was happy to demo it not once, but twice! This demo is much more expansive than the first, and lasted me around an hour and a half. Better yet, it expanded upon the limited features included in the first demo, and showed me a lot more about what it means to be a cult leader. Because in Cult of the Lamb, you might benefit from your followers, but you also depend on them in a very real way.
Here, I learned about more than just having my followers chop wood and mine for rocks. I also taught them the value of worship, and learned to bless them in order to brighten their days. Worship is key in the game, and the more you get, the more your little lamb is capable of accomplishing. Not only does it open up more buildings and structures you can develop, but leveling up your followers also rewards you with key items, and makes their daily devotion more fruitful.
But wait, there’s more! The latest demo also dealt with Rituals and Doctrines. Rituals are special ceremonies you can hold, but only once you’ve gathered one key resource – the bones of disbelievers. Luckily, there’s plenty of those who worship the Old Gods instead of yours, so you just have to smash their corpses to bits once you’ve killed them. Doctrines are also special functions that can only be achieved once you have a complete stone tablet, composed of three chunks. It lets you do handy things like decree your followers must fast, but in turn, won’t suffer any ill effects for a period of time.
Speaking of which, it’s important to keep your followers healthy as well as happy, since otherwise, they’ll revolt. You need to help them find lodging, clean up after them, and much more to succeed. Which might sound irritating, but the whole game is comprised of little tasks like this, and I honestly didn’t mind since it was so effortless to redirect my follower’s actions and react accordingly. Honestly, one of the few things the demo didn’t explain to my satisfaction was if there was a way to speed up the day/night cycle, since some activities can only be done once a day, and I couldn’t figure out how to speed up the clock.
One of my favorite things about the latest Cult of the Lamb demo was that it let me do a lot more dungeon diving. There are several wormy mini-bosses to deal with this time around, and each one represents a new type of threat. Then at the very end, you fight one of the Bishops themselves, and that fight managed to incorporate elements found in each of the mini-boss battles before it. I love how fast-paced and precise the combat here is, and it definitely reminds me favorably of The Binding of Isaac. As do elements like Tarot Cards imbuing me with temporary blessings and the plentiful choice of new weapons in dungeons. I also loved the Bane effect, which added poison damage to my attacks.
Also neat were the optional mini-games in this demo. I only spent time with one of them, the dice mini-game, but found it really compelling. You roll dice and use duplicate numbers to cancel out your opponent’s dice in the same column, while trying to earn the most points. There was also a fishing mini-game, but by the time I unlocked it, the demo was basically at the endpoint. That and I usually don’t spend much time with fishing mini-games, though I’m sure I will learn to love it in the final build.
It bears repeating how amazing Massive Monster’s artwork is in the game. It’s an incredible mix of cutesy and disturbing horror, and it works incredibly well. Also worth mention is the amazing music and sound effects, which lend a lot to the whole experience. Honestly, I can recommend Cult of the Lamb just based on this category alone, though the actual gameplay is also quite addictive.
Even though I’ve only spent a couple of hours between demos with Cult of the Lamb, I’m very happy with it so far, and think fans of the rogue genres will love it. Dungeon runs only took 10-15 minutes, and were well balanced and full of danger. While the cult management elements aren’t my forte, they’re also well organized and easy enough to learn. And just judging from the UI and menus I’ve seen thus far, there’s a ton more replay value in the final game. So if you’re a fan of twisted and cutesy adventures, be sure and check Cult of the Lamb out this August. And stay tuned to HPP for my upcoming full review of the latest from Devolver Digital and Massive Monster!