Indie Games have exploded in popularity over the past few years, with all the quality they bring to the gaming landscape it’s hard to be surprised when such excellent offerings are brought to the table. Massive Monster’s newest game, Cult of the Lamb, is one of these offerings. While drawing inspiration from massive Indie hit Hades and farming simulator Stardew Valley/Animal Crossing, it’s very easy to become indoctrinated into the cult, with a beautiful art style, and impossible to put down gameplay.
In Cult of the Lamb, the player is dropped into an unfortunate scenario, where, as a fuzzy protagonist, you are about to meet your maker as a literal sacrificial lamb. Right as the axe is being brought down, bringing upon your untimely demise, a demon saves you from your hour of reckoning, in exchange for undying devotion. This brings about the Lamb’s journey to start a cult and gain followers in the cause, while going through biomes to eliminate heretic monsters. While the lamb protagonist is cute, looks can be deceiving, and you can pack a mighty punch on the roguelike swarm of enemies you face off against.
You start out by naming your cult, which of course for me was Baaad Girls Club, and you are thrown into a community simulator that doesn’t lack charm. There is a constant grind in daily cult life, as everything in the cult is run by its followers, and you will need to feed them to fuel the machine. As the leader, your followers rely on you for everything, and upon indoctrinating other cute animals into the fold, you have to give them a name and customize their appearance.
They also all get a cool metal-looking lamb t-shirt, and of course like other cults, everyone must wear the same uniform. Everything the player does has a reason, whether attempting to get more faith from followers by holding sermons, or slaughtering enemies in the action-based sections, all mechanics in Cult of the Lamb are FUN.
Although there are many things to do in Cult of the Lamb, it never feels overbearing, and it has a steady masterfully controlled pace that slowly allows the player to build the cult from the ground up. The main point of prayer for the cult, is a literal statue of your protagonist, which allows you to gain power through devotion you followers give you. The main goal here is to continue building your cult by receiving divine inspiration to build more items like a place to sleep for followers, a cooking station, and necessities for the cult to run like a well-oiled machine.
You can plant food to feed followers, and, of course, due to followers only serving as one function, you NEED to do everything for them. They are truly lost without their fearless leader. Followers need to be maintained, so they don’t starve to death—yes literally—and you even must clean up their droppings after they feed.
“…all mechanics in Cult of the Lamb are FUN.”
An interesting aspect of cleaning up after followers is the items collected can function as fertilizer for crops, which is a cool idea. This is also important for the cult’s health, if hygiene isn’t maintained, followers can get sick and die. Followers are more like livestock, literally and figuratively, that give the player quests and can level up their devotion level if you keep them happy over time.
Although the community management lacks the depth of, say, Animal Crossing, it is just enough to stay varied and addicting. The roguelike elements of the title ALWAYS provide a different adventure each time. Like Hades, each crusade is different, complete with randomized weapons, tarot cards that function like godly boons, and spells to help cull your enemies, culminating in a boss fight that grants the cult a new follower.
The controls in Cult of the Lamb are simple, and the health bar is torn straight from Legend of Zelda, but these are great things considering the game is just fun to play as it is. The dodge roll is responsive and fast, allowing for varied and fast-paced action. Each weapon feels different to use, offering different methods of play – although the knife items feel useless, and leave much to be desired.
“Cult of the Lamb has an absolute wealth of gameplay mechanics that saturates the engaging title with many elements that provide a massive experience…”
Finishing follower quests or selecting a different route for your crusade can give the cult a piece of Commandment Stones, which when completed allow for enacting of doctrines that can shape the commune. With these functions, Cult of the Lamb allows the player to become a dastardly leader that can even allow for cannibalism, and ironically enough, you can sacrifice your followers to increase devotion.
There are mini-games, like fishing, or playing dice to enrich gameplay further, and each follower comes equipped with different personality traits, ensuring that no two playthroughs will ever be the same. Cult of the Lamb has an absolute wealth of gameplay mechanics that saturates the engaging title with many elements that provide a massive experience in a title that still somehow doesn’t bite off more than it can chew.
Cult of the Lamb is an indie hit. The musical score and soundtrack are solid, the art style and game mechanics are all very fun to play, and even the characters’ voices are mumbled in a way that’s just brimming with personality. It is safe to say, I am definitely a follower of the Cult.