Cult of the Lamb is an action rogue-like that has you step into the hooves of a poor sacrificial lamb borrowing powers from an ancient and disturbing deity and then hunting down and exacting revenge on his very captors. Did I mention you also get to manage a super cute flock of animals who’ve sworn to serve and obey you? Well, I, for one, was a kind and forgiving leader. I treated my followers like they were my family- a family I didn’t mind locking up, feeding poop or sacrificing when required to save my wooly behind.
The first thing most people will notice is the cute and charming art style, which really only made the eating of shit sandwiches that much more satisfying. Saying that Cult of the Lamb is just a rogue-like would be a little misleading but it still has randomly generated rooms for you to explore as well as a variety of monsters and bosses for you to slay. Although, the dungeons and weapons don’t have the depth or variety like Hades or Enter the Gungeon, if you’re familiar.
Each venture in to the dungeons, or “crusades”, are usually shorter bouts with each run usually taking around 10 minutes. At the start of a crusade, you’re given a random weapon and spell. Now, there were definitely weapons that I preferred, and I wouldn’t want to say any of the weapons were bad but the massive and ridiculously strong hammers are by far the best! These weapons, as well as the spells at your disposal, can be upgraded between runs with the help of your loyal followers.
The crusades are only part of the fun as the day-to-day management of your cult is where I spent most of my time. As the glorious leader of a thriving cult, your followers may approach you from time to time asking for help or assistance. They may ask for you to recover a missing friend in an upcoming crusade (which means more followers), ask to perform a specific ritual, or in my experience, feed each other shit until one of them dies. As your flock grows, you start to unlock more rituals and each new ritual adds to your cult’s specific doctrine. Such as; a day of rest, a grand feast or the totally normal reanimation of my favourite follower.
As their glorious leader, you have to look after and provide for your followers. You can build sleeping bags and upgrade them to huts, keeping your followers safe and happy. You initially start tending to the needs of the cult yourself; planting, watering and harvesting the farms, but as you progress, you can unlock more building choices and other means of getting the day to day jobs done. New structures you build and then upgrade can provide benefits to the cult, the camp and even future crusades.
It is incredibly satisfying seeing your camp growing and developing as you play, such as when you return from a crusade with just enough materials to build something new or you can finally afford the last upgrade on your demonic summoning circle. You see your cult thrive as you gain new followers by converting the poor animals you’ve saved during crusades to be devoted and loyal servants. And, of course, you can customise each of them so that they match and just happen to also look super cute in the process.
The loop of tending to villagers, getting in a final sermon and making sure everyone is fed before you head out on a crusade and ideally kick ass, is extremely gratifying. Cult of the Lamb is a whole bunch of familiar elements charmingly crafted into something pretty unique. There’s a little bit of everything, dice rolling mini-games, hidden secrets and upgrades, even a pretty fun fishing game. There’s a decent balance between the dungeon crawling action and the more relaxed camp maintenance.
It’s a perfect game to pick up and play a couple of in-game days, except those days can and will become weeks before you realise it. It’s an adorable Frankenstein’s monster of a video game, it just had way more poop than I was expecting…
Words: Dave Jamieson