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Cult Of The Lamb Preview – Baaaad To The Bone

Aussie Lamb Is Good For You

If you’ve been keeping up with the local indie scene, you should be well aware of the upcoming release of Cult of the Lamb from Melbourne studio Massive Monster. The cute little lamb and his quest to grow its own flock has been building up a little following of its own since the initial reveal at Gamescom last year, and now we’re just weeks away from finally praising the darkness ourselves.

But first, a primer. An incredibly cute little lamb finds itself caught up in a sacrifice to ensure a deadly creature of the underworld doesn’t resurface. Fortunately for the lamb (and unfortunately for those on said surface), it’s saved from oblivion to become a new leader of a cult following and tasked with fighting through randomised encounters to uncover new loot and resources, perhaps even rescuing a few other little critters, in order to appease the Dark God and build a new community in its name.

Can I phone a friend first?

Cult of the Lamb will feel largely familiar to fans of rogue-likes, with random encounters awaiting you across a choose-your-own path through the overworld. You’ll come across numerous creatures trying to stop your path to immortality, bosses that will require precise dodge timing to avoid being slaughtered, and various plant life, trees and treasure chests that can be traded in back at home base. The goal, ultimately, is to build up your clan, upgrade your lamb to God status and ensure everything goes exactly to plan.

Having spent countless hours on Hades and Rogue Legacy, the action portions feel exactly as they should, smooth and satisfying. The random nature of each run keeps things interesting, though these early moments don’t involve super long runs (think more Binding of Isaac). You’ll have a few choices to make too, with a tarot card reader showing up every few rooms to aid you with a bonus upgrade and a choice of pathways that will determine what supplies you might pick up. You’ll need to bring back enough food to keep the masses content, otherwise rocks, wood and gold will go a long way.

Smash and grab everything you see

Thankfully the devs have put some thought into making things a little easier for newcomers, allowing you to return to base with at least a portion of the resources you uncovered to keep things ticking along even if death becomes you. That usual feeling of frustration from dying repeatedly will be softened by a continued layer of progression, though to be fair, it’s nowhere near as difficult within the first world (just expect things to ramp up later on).

Here’s where things take a unique turn, one that I went into blind and was pleasantly surprised by. After each run, you return to your small encampment to make use of your discoveries to feed your new followers, establishing new buildings and ensuring their devotion doesn’t wane. In short, it’s a base building management sim combined with a dark, gruelling action adventure, so you’ll need to balance your time between destroying those who wish to stop you and ensuring you remain the best kind of cult leader a lamb can be.

Pathways determine what you’ll come home with

Of what I’ve played, the management part to Cult of the Lamb is gratifying. You can have any of the followers you’ve uncovered completing specific tasks, cutting down trees or growing crops, otherwise they can worship you at an alter which goes towards unlocking new buildings of worth. Ultimately you can’t just go off running into trouble and expect your followers to keep things going alone, so there’s a balancing act of keeping them happy in order to increase your abilities along with storming the accusers who want to end your reign.

There’s a little handholding early on just to get you up to speed, tasking you with specific objectives as you go, but I can see myself spending a fair amount of time ensuring buildings are up to code and peasants are doing as they should. I’m also a tad curious to see if any late game mechanics throw a few spanners in the works, otherwise it seems most of the content will come from continued runs into the unknown.

Cult of the Lamb looks likely to a meaty adventure with a ton of dark humour sprinkled on top. Hopefully the more hours that are put into violently murdering foes and feeding the fraternity, the more surprises and twists will appear to mix things up. But what I’ve played so far holds promise of an adventure that should be well worth playing (it’s also incredibly gorgeous, in-case it isn’t obvious).

Yes, praise me!

You’ll be able to get your hands on Cult of the Lamb when it arrives on August 11 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch and PC. If you’re excited for it, shout out in the comments below and let us know what platform you’ll be building your own cult upon.

Previewed on PC // Preview code supplied by publisher

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