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Cult of the Lamb Review

Mary would adore this little lamb

Not too long ago, the gaming world was in the grips of Hades fever, a myriad of game of the year awards thrown the way of Supergiant Games’ magnum opus thanks to its successful mix of roguelike dungeon crawling and visual splendour. I spent hundreds of hours leading Zagreus through countless runs, in what I consider to be an all-time favourite of mine, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would come across a game that could equal its excellence, perhaps even exceed it. Enter Cult of the Lamb.

Developed by Aussie studio Massive Monster, Cult of the Lamb pitches itself as a procedurally generated rogue-like combined with a farming and life simulator. The last little lamb in the world is saved from certain death by ‘The One Who Waits’, an entity who wishes to end the lives of four heretic prophets that banished it and bring about a new cult in its name. To do so, the lamb is gifted the power of the Red Crown to fight its way through various regions to get revenge on behalf of its new master, all while building up a successful village full of loyal followers.

Yes, yes, this is a fertile land…

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. All the expected rogue-like additions are in play, with each run vastly different in room designs, enemy placements, choices of paths to take and a random set of weapons and attached stats. After your first foray through bashing and slashing everything, however, the game opens up abouts its unique nature of balance. Because it’s not just about diving into a vast labyrinth and coming out the other side richer or more powerful, it’s about returning with the goods needed to expand the land afforded to your cult.

In short, you’ll need to cultivate and build farms, homes and various bits and pieces to ensure that whenever you’re out taming the enemy, the people waiting for your return have everything they need in order to not only survive but grow in your image. Find the right balance, and soon those followers will worship you enough to expand not only your own skill tree but that of the village itself, allowing you to make life even easier for whoever you decide to rescue along the way. There’s a considerable amount of little upgrade trees and mechanics across Cult of the Lamb too, but they all play an important role, and the game does a solid job in not intimidating you with its vast options.

A lamb with an axe, such an unlikely combination

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Early on you’ll be able to build a house of worship which you can use every day to perform a sermon, raising the spirits of your flock and unlocking further upgrades that will aid you within each run through the four locations that await. Over time, you’ll also unlock the ability to complete rituals that will provide extra bonuses across a variety of areas of your choosing. Depending on if you’re the kind of leader who supports fairness and love, or you’re out to rule with an iron fist, the decisions you make will have various repercussions that could inspire either kindness or fear amongst your cult, from marrying one of your followers to sacrificing another.

It might sound like there’s less time afforded to the rogue-like adventure, you’ll likely have to clean up after your clan more than once (be wary of random poop) for instance, but Cult of the Lamb finds that sweet spot that allows you the time and enjoyment to go through as many crusades as you want, continually pushing the story forward and all the while making you care for the health and safety of those you’ve rescued and turned to your way of life. Once you overcome a boss and bring home its heart (which can be traded in for some of the most powerful and important upgrades to your playstyle), you can return to an area as often as you’d like and go further in if you so choose, though stay out too long and things might go pear shaped back at camp.

One of many well made side activities

Crucially, and it’s something I wasn’t expecting going in, I fell in love with my little village of critters. I cared for them, nurtured them through the tough times and always chose to guide them positively, despite the game giving me plenty of opportunities to do otherwise (that I’m sure others players will revel in). They form their own relationships, will aid you when crafting new buildings and will maintain farms or quarries without you having to constantly prod them, until eventually dying of old age or natural causes. Of course, if you go the dark path, things will be vastly different and they won’t listen to you, or worse, spread dissent against your word. Do that, and your fight against the four prophets will be an even greater challenge.

There’s just so much to see and do here that it was difficult to put down the controller. I could spend countless hours ensuring my village is exactly how it should be, interacting with the cult day after day, and just as many hours if not more diving back into each of the regions to battle it out. There’s a healthy dose of challenge across both areas, though I do think Cult of the Lamb’s combat isn’t quite as clean or precise as it could be. In the grand scheme of things that’s an incredibly minor gripe that doesn’t impact the overall enjoyment of its gameplay loop, ultimately coming down to how well you roll in your random weapon drops and how many key upgrades you unlock.

There’s a ton of different upgrades across the game

All my hours were spent within a world brimming with a visual identity that perfectly captures both the dark and bloody narrative of risking it all for a dangerous god, and the incredibly cute, cheekily amusing elements of the villagers. Plus, there’s the fact you’re playing the entire thing as a fluffy, innocent lamb. The audio cues and musical score equally cover both light and dark elements delightfully, pushing the tempo during combat before settling into a calm, almost Animal Crossing nature when your villagers turn in for the night. It’s just a damn good time all-around.

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And we shall call this land…

Final Thoughts

I couldn’t help but compare Cult of the Lamb to Hades, in both form and function. Both titles share DNA in providing as many options as possible to suit your nature, amongst an absolutely banging visual and audio presentation. It’s the considerable number of things to do and maintain with the little lamb’s escapades that sets Cult of the Lamb apart from the pack, the fact that none of its village elements feel like a chore and every little detail and mechanic fits seamlessly within the simple concept of a lamb doing its saviour’s bidding.

There are so few flaws within its design, so many options to appease fans of both rogue-like and sim genres, that it’s hard not to be impressed with the results. I’ll likely be spending many more hours in Cult of the Lamb long after this review hits the internet, and that’s proof positive of how much content there is and how rewarding and gratifying the entire experience can be. Long story short, Cult of the Lamb is one of the best games of 2022 and an all time Aussie made classic.

Reviewed on PC // Review code supplied by publisher

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Cult of the Lamb Review
Lamb really is good for you
Cult of the Lamb stands as a true masterpiece of not one but two genres. I just couldn’t find any issues that got in the way of my enjoyment of its various mechanics, and the love I have for my clan will continue long past the final boss encounter.
The Good
Roguelike and Life Sim genres mashed together seamlessly
A rich, dark sense of humour that has a lot of heart
Combat is efficient and enjoyable
Looking after the clan never gets old
A visual and audio feast
The Bad
Combat could have been a tad tighter
10
Godlike
  • Massive Monster
  • Devolver Digital
  • PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / Switch / PC
  • August 11 2022

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Cult of the Lamb Review
Lamb really is good for you
Cult of the Lamb stands as a true masterpiece of not one but two genres. I just couldn’t find any issues that got in the way of my enjoyment of its various mechanics, and the love I have for my clan will continue long past the final boss encounter.
The Good
Roguelike and Life Sim genres mashed together seamlessly
A rich, dark sense of humour that has a lot of heart
Combat is efficient and enjoyable
Looking after the clan never gets old
A visual and audio feast
The Bad
Combat could have been a tad tighter
10
Godlike
Written By Mark Isaacson

Known on the internet as Kartanym, Mark has been in and out of the gaming scene since what feels like forever, growing up on Nintendo and evolving through the advent of PC first person shooters, PlayStation and virtual reality. He'll try anything at least once and considers himself the one true king of Tetris by politely ignoring the world records.

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