Spread your Word, train an army of devoted Followers and forge the foundation of your creed
Cult of the Lamb is the new little masterpiece from Massive Monster, a team of highly talented Australian developers who have quickly made their way into the independent gaming scene with the development of The Adventure Pals, Never Give Up, and Unicycle Giraffe.
The Australian team has always distinguished itself through an impactful style and an aesthetic that relies heavily on chromatic contrast between characters and settings, resulting in the development of a fun and enjoyable gameplay.
Cult of the Lamb, unlike its predecessors, seeks to address some of the most contentious and multifaceted issues in ancient and modern history: religion and divinization. And it does so in such a transparent, macabre, and kawaii way that even a cruel and unholy sacrifice becomes aesthetically pleasing and captivating.
Massive Monster’s new work, released on August 11, 2022 for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, was an instant success, quickly winning the hearts of thousands of gamers.
Are you interested in learning why this project convinced me from (almost)all points of view? Follow me and read the Cult of the Lamb review to find out!
Deal with Death
The narrative immediately places us in the shoes of our tender protagonist: a graceful and sweet lamb who is tied and led to the gallows by some hooded figures.
We are gradually led to the location of a cruel sacrifice… our sacrifice! For the first time, the Bishops appear near the sacrificial altar: monstrous and deformed deities determined to preserve the Old Faith and eliminate all dissenters.
The Bishops define the protagonist as a “heretic”: a threat that could jeopardize their entire work.
The threat must be eradicated and never return. Following each of the four deities’ sentences, an imposing executioner approaches, ready to behead our tender protagonist.
Just when the protagonist is about to be sacrificed, we are transported to what appears to be a place that hosts the damned. Is it a limbo? A surreal land between life and death?
We’ll have to approach an enormous creature, chained and deprived of its freedom, to get some answers. His name is The One Who Waits, the Bishops’ archenemy and our only hope of survival.
He informs us that the execution by the impious gods was successful; we are no longer alive. But our mission in the land of the living is far from over.
Subsequently, The One Who Waits will propose a deal: in order to return to the realm of the living, we must establish and manage a cult in his honor.
After accepting his terms, we will be crowned and invested with unimaginable power. Once we return to the place of our execution, we will brutally murder all of the Bishops‘ followers, laying the groundwork for our cult.
It will be our responsibility to recruit a large number of acolytes, strengthen our cult, take revenge on the Bishops, and honor the one who restored our life.
A simple, pleasant narrative sector that seeks to gently accompany the mechanics of the gameplay and combat system, creating a mix of atmospheres and sensations that is overall very satisfying.
The cult’s prosperity and devotion
Cult of the Lamb‘s playful component is crucial, and it is divided into two distinct solutions: one for managing our cult’s growth and prosperity, and another for exploring new territories and developing the combat. A second component that clearly nods to the Roguelike genre, particularly in terms of progression and combat system.
The management gaming phase is critical to the success of our cult, indoctrinating new followers, and greatly increasing our physical and spiritual power. It is also possible to unlock new buildings for our camp and learn new warfare techniques as our faith and devotion grow.
We will therefore have to explore the pitfalls of the outside world, find new followers, and convert them to our sect. Each creature can be customized based on our preferences. Indeed, we will be able to personalize its appearance, color, and even name. Only after completing all of these steps can he consider himself worthy of our cult.
Each creature also has benefits and penalties that can affect their health, mental state, and ability to maintain their faith in the creed. To avoid riots, diseases, or other unpleasant situations, it will be critical to constantly monitor their activities and be present at the camp.
If in the first hours of the game we will have to build the foundations of our cult by ourselves, then it will be our task to supervise the activity and status of each individual creature. We’ll have to build beds for them to sleep in, make them work, and prepare food for them to eat.
Any forgetfulness could result in exhaustion, illness, or death for our little followers. On the other hand, the Bishops will do everything they can to complicate our lives, inciting insurrections and revolts and causing some followers’ faith to waver. It will therefore be our responsibility to be present at the camp and closely monitor the progress of events.
You can also unlock new buildings and structures by using the Devotion. Once we have accumulated enough Devotion from our faithful, we will be able to access a skill tree that will allow us to evolve and improve our camp.
To increase the faith of our followers, it will also be necessary to construct churches: ideal locations for sermons, rituals, and the acquisition of new techniques and enhancements to make our protagonist unstoppable.
We will have to do everything to ensure the survival of our cult. For The One Who Waits, the law of the strongest applies. To increase our faith and power, we will be asked to make ungodly and cruel sacrifices. The exploitation of adepts will be a necessary tool for the creed’s survival.
It makes no difference whether our followers regard us as a cruel despot or a heartless monster. Maintaining the faith and eliminating dissidents will be our first steps towards a united and insatiable sect.
The management gaming phase is nearly perfect, tireless, and always enjoyable. And it is here that the true essence of the Cult of the Lamb emerges. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this is precisely the mechanics that impressed me most about the new Massive Monster project.
What’s hiding out there?
If you enjoyed the management gaming aspect of Cult of the Lamb, prepare to hone your fighting skills and face the death throes against ravenous hordes of Bishops.
On the other hand, the progression, exploration, and combat system mechanics perfectly follow the Roguelike genre, making the new Massive Monster project a true nerve test (depending on the level of difficulty we choose).
Once we have passed the borders of our camp, we will be able to enter the enemy’s lands, facing a series of difficult and dangerous dungeons.
The maps are generated at random and allow you to explore areas where resources abound, others where you can meet some NPCs, still others where you can save our future followers from the adepts of other deities, and finally, others where you can unleash our entire attack force.
In terms of our war arsenal, our cute little lamb will be limited to brandish one melee weapon (an ax or a sword) and a curse. Melee weapons are useful for thinning out the enemy’s ranks, but we must be careful which one we use: the ax, for example, is extremely powerful, but it inevitably slows our movements, making us vulnerable and predictable.
Curses, on the other hand, are essential for keeping your distance from the enemy and hitting him with ferocious ranged attacks. As we progress through our protagonist’s skill tree, the level of weapons and curses will rise significantly. For this reason, it is critical to be present at the camp on a regular basis!
The combat system is simple and intuitive, with only three techniques: hand-to-hand attack, curse casting, and a single defensive technique to dodge blows. To survive, it is necessary to use a combination of combos from various weapons and dodge at the appropriate time.
A sore point for the extraction of tarot cards: a mechanic that the developers have only addressed in its positive sense. In fact, we may receive some intriguing bonuses that will aid us in our progression. I would have preferred to draw some cards with negative consequences on our status and weapon abilities.
The dungeons, on the other hand, are always interesting and varied, with the option of pausing to admire nature, destroy shrubs, loot skeletons, and reduce everything the Bishops have attempted to build to dust (including their precious cult statues).
The lamb of death
Cult of the Lamb is a flawlessly executed project. Recognizing their potential, the developers package a high-quality video game, bringing a new, interesting, and one-of-a-kind product to the videogame landscape.
The aesthetics and style are exquisitely crafted, both in terms of setting composition and how the various characters are characterized. Our little lamb expresses his emotions clearly, appearing happy and carefree at times and enraged at others, especially when he has to slaughter the Bishops‘ followers.
The sound and technical sectors have a significant impact, with a special emphasis on the soundtrack and environmental sound effects.
Despite some minor flaws in the gameplay and a simple combat system, Cult of the Lamb also won me over from a playful point of view, offering an interesting and varied game system, fun fights, and an interesting degree of challenge.
A video game destined for the Olympus of the most intriguing and convincing independent productions of 2022.
Our tender little lamb’s adventure has only just begun. Gather a legion of devoted acolytes and prepare to be the most bloodthirsty lamb ever seen in these lands!