*The reason why I decided to call this the Cult of the Lamb • The Review (Part I) is because after spending a few days with this game I plan to beat it all the way through. I’m even hoping to go after the PlayStation Platinum trophy, so once I’m completely done with the game I may return for a Part II.
Ever since I first heard of Cult of the Lamb, I knew this game would be something special. Last year during the holiday season, my girlfriend and I watched a lot of Christmas movies and Cult documentaries, so there was that. The game also had cute little animals. When the gameplay demo released on Steam I played for a few minutes before I was sold on the game and quit.
Some demos give you a random moment from a game, or a scene that may not even be in the finished game. This demo was basically the intro for the game, so once I got a taste of the gameplay and story I deleted it to hold out for the real thing. Now, I’ve had the chance to play the full version of Cult of the Lamb for a couple hours, I’m excited to share some of my thoughts.
Cult of Rogue-Likes
Cult of the Lamb falls into the category of some of my most played games in recent years — rogue-likes. One of my favorite rogue-like dungeon crawlers, and one that I go back to multiple times a year is The Binding of Isaac. Today, that game is over ten years old, so much has changed since those early days of rogue-like dungeon crawlers. The Binding of Isaac has even received multiple releases and updates over the years, including a big one in 2021(Repentance).
We are now seeing games like Boyfriend Dungeon, Dreamscaper and Hades which add other game elements into the dungeon-crawling, rogue-like genre. Boyfriend Dungeon is a dating sim/dungeon crawler. Hades and Dreamscaper allow you to upgrade and explore a world outside of dungeon crawling. Cult of the Lamb‘s dungeon crawling is known as it’s crusader mode, where you go at it alone. The cult part is a cult (or colony) builder, where you can upgrade abilities and build your following — you even get to name your cult, Boba Cult.
At one point, I was gathering resources and cooking meals for my cult when my girlfriend said, “This is kind of like Animal Crossing.” I didn’t think of that comparison before, but it is sort of like a more adult version of Animal Crossing (another game I spent hundreds of hours in — Animal Crossing: New Horizons).
In both games I work on my village, make sure my residents are happy, keep everything clean, cook, build things and go fishing. The cult management part of this game is very much like a darker version of Animal Crossing — especially when something like this happens.
I love animation, but I have always been a big fan of using cute animation to tell dark stories. Maybe it’s the contrast of the opposing ideals — cute vs dark. In Cult of the Lamb, I love my cute little lamb cult leader and how he’s a cuddly, badass crusader.
In a few days of playing Cult of the Lamb, I’ve managed to get through a month (31 days) of cult living and I wanted to go over some of the things I really enjoy about this game. Let’s begin with the two different modes/genres:
Life of the Crusader
As a crusader you must venture out on your own through each dungeon — Darkwood, Anura, Anchordeep and Silk Cradle. After defeating the main boss (or heretic) of each dungeon, you will unlock The Gateway. Each dungeon is full of combat, exploration, valuable resources and more.
Anytime a game allows me to break and tear apart the environment, I do so. You never know what secrets you will find. Some games allow you to break stuff with little or no reward. When these items are full of precious loot, it’s much more rewarding. Also, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time attacking every statue, plant and rock.
Cult of the Lamb rewards players for breaking anything and everything in each area. I mostly find grass, bones and other small resources, but every once in a while I will find some extra life or something special. I have also made it a habit to visit every room, even if the path is telling me to continue forward. By exploring more I have uncovered more tarot cards, weapons, shops. Exploration and breaking stuff is key in Cult of the Lamb.
There are many different enemy creatures to learn about on the journey. I do enjoy how each dungeon features its own unique look, monsters and creatures. Saving a victim from an enemy sacrifice feels good to be helping, but it sort of feels a bit icky to then turn around and tell them, “Hey, I just saved your life, now join my cult!”
Life of the Cult Leader
As stated in my intro, the cult part of the game is very much like Animal Crossing in some ways, but also much less sweet and wholesome — there’s a lot more poop in this game too. I love that there is so much to do within the cult building portion of the game. It’s even a bit relaxing. The main problem I find is that I often get carried away performing tasks, and a day or two may go by without exploring the dungeons.
Crusade mode is where you gather more resources and currency. It’s also where you go to gain new followers. The cult mode is where you keep your current followers happy and do some planning and upgrading.
Within your cult you have the chance to build all kinds of structures, each with their own unique set of qualities. Different structures and decorations must be unlocked by gaining inspiration from your followers. A great big cult is good to gain more resources, but you must also watch out for bad seeds within your cult. They may spread lies about you as a leader.
In fact, there was one point where I was out crusading and the game informed me that one of my followers would betray me the next day. It was too late, I was already out gathering and fighting for my cult. By the time I got back it was too late, some followers had died, and the traitor was long gone.
Another great surprise for me was how this part of the game is not only made up of your little cult village. There’s also opportunities to visit other lands on the map. There’s a land of mushrooms, and land for fishing. I even had the chance to play some Knucklebones with Ratau in his small village.
Knucklebones is a fun, easy-to-learn dice rolling game. Once you get the hang of it you can even collect some coin by betting against Ratau.
I’m always looking to be the best cult leader I can be, and I do feel horrible when I make one of my followers sick (or dead). However, it’s important to give your followers a sense of “The Greater Good,” so that they (and you) can put all of the cult’s needs first.
Cult of the Lamb is sort of a silly little game, but I also feel it will teach you a lot about yourself and how you would run your cult, if you had a few followers.
Cult Crusader (Combat)
The combat in Cult of the Lamb starts off quite simple. You have a melee attack and a dodge roll to evade enemy attacks. Along the way you grab a ranged weapon, and I’m sure there will be even more to learn. I have been playing on medium mode which is just right for someone who wants a bit of a challenge, but also to enjoy themselves. It’s good that the game also features a hard and extra hard mode for those who want it.
One thing that surprised me, in a good way, is that certain enemy attacks can be parried by swinging your melee weapon at the right time. It just depends on finding the right attack to parry.
Boss fights and bulkier bad guys can take some time to kill. The dodge roll should not be overlooked, it can especially help when you’re down to your last bit of health. Early on, I attempted to take everyone out with brute force, losing my life very quickly. It wasn’t until I began to incorporate my dodge roll and fight more defensive that I actually beat my first boss.
Cult of the Lamb is not a hard game, unless you want it to be. Still, you must fight smart to survive.
I would definitely recommend this game to those who love dungeon crawlers and rogue-likes. I would even tell Animal Crossing lovers to try it out. I guess if you’re overly religious and easily offended, then maybe skip this one.
Cult of the Lamb is a really fun and silly time. I truly love this game and plan to work on beating it and possibly going for the platinum trophy (since I am playing on PlayStation 5). I had originally requested a review code for the Nintendo Switch and still think this is a great game to have the option to play in handheld mode (either on the Switch or Steam Deck). I’m really digging it on the PlayStation 5 though, and I’m happy I got it on there.
I have reached the end of my Cult of the Lamb Review (Part I), because I want to play a bit more now before I go to sleep.
Cult of the Lamb is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
*myVGBC.com was given a review code for Cult of the Lamb from the publisher.