STAFF REVIEW of Cult of the Lamb (Xbox One)


Thursday, September 1, 2022.
by Brent Roberts

Cult of the Lamb Box art Imagine sitting there at work one day and thinking, "you know what? Let's make a game where we have a really cute lamb as a main character and a bunch of really cute animals that follow this lamb. We'll have pigs, goats and all kinds of cute animals, and they'll all look towards this lamb for guidance; it'll be great! Then let's have this lamb turn out to be a cult leader that was created by a demon during a ritual execution and fill the game with satanic imagery, rituals, religious doctrines and have them all work together in this demonic setting for a better life." Now imagine everyone else at work saying, "GREAT IDEA!" And thus, Cult of the Lamb was born. Imagine taking the Woodland Critters of South Park and mix that with Lamb Chop and sprinkle in some Hades and top it off with some lighthearted village building elements, and you essentially have Massive Monster's latest hit. Now normally I review things from a cost versus value perspective because in today's world money is tight so quality gaming is essential, and Cult of the Lamb could easily be a contender for Game of the Year.

So, in the beginning our little lamb was doomed to be sacrificed in the name of everything unholy and evil, however just as the ritual was coming to a climax, our lamb was saved by none other than a demon who has been imprisoned and requires your help to build a cult that will follow in its name. The lamb is tasked with formulating enough influence to spread devotion to other souls that will pray in its unholy name. Should you succeed, you will not only create a flourishing community devout to a demon from hell, but you will have proven your worth (probably) to the very demon that saved your soul. Ready to sell your soul for your salvation? Everyone has a price.

Cult of the Lamb is setup to combine a lot of hack and slash elements with base building community management, and from the beginning you have to start with the basics, and what's more basic than creating your name for your cult? For me, I chose The Cult of Personality for my first playthrough and for my second I chose Blue Oyster Cult for more of that cowbell flavor. In your community sandbox when you start you'll have rocks, berry bushes and trees all to harvest. This sandbox is where your cult will literally do everything from eat, sleep, work, build, poop and die. Your cult will only consist of those who you choose to save. You are quite literally the savior of these animals, so they become devout followers, but only for a time being and that depends on your actions.


It's entirely possible for you to save someone and recruit them into your cult, only to have them turn around and think you are weak and that your gospel is that of lies, and they will do whatever they can to spread disinformation against your cult and try to get more people to turn. This can happen through things like not enough beds or food, to even failing missions. In one mission I failed my followers lost over 40% of their respect for me which seemed ungrateful given that I did save them from a future filled with unending torture. This is also when I found out that followers will leave. Yes they will be thankful you saved them, think your weak and then leave. Really makes you think twice of who you will let into your cult. One of the things I did was always keep a few followers waiting to be inducted into the cult in case I had to perform a sacrifice to raise my follower’s impression of me.

I mentioned sacrifices because your chapel where you perform your sermons once a day will develop over time as you start to gain influence. Essentially your chapel is arguably your most important building given that it's within here that you build your satanic beliefs through choices in your doctrine that you preach. You'll get 5 classes of doctrines, and each features 4 levels of devotion which you can chose a side/pathway, and these will be beliefs and rituals that you can perform within your cult to gain favor with them. Keep in mind though, these rituals do have a cooldown process so it's not like you can fight to the death in your chapel every day. To create these doctrines, you will need to collect tablet fragments so you can form these magical stone tablets. There is so much more to upgrade in the chapel such as your character cape and abilities that you'll need to think and plan carefully so that you maximize your balance between yourself and your cult.

This is when you'll start to see just how deep the Cult of the Lamb can be. Another very critical object is your prayer shrine. Here your followers will gather and pray their essence into this shine which you can collect and through this, upgrade your camp with various buildings that can do things such as give your cult places to sleep, farm and mine. It's through this shrine you'll also unlock buildings such as prisons to house heretics who dare spout blasphemy against your divine following and your rule as their leader. I can honestly say I had fun with this one. I started small and maintained my resources and kept my cult small so I could maximize my storage of materials. This also helped by keeping the levels of poo low. Yes waste management is one of the joys of this game.

So, your followers will poop just like we all do, and if that builds up in your community your followers will get sick, and if they don't rest to get better they can die. Remember how I kept a stockpile of followers who want to be saved? Cue the work till you die and then clean the land, then recruit more people. Hey, if they can preach against me I will have no problem literally working these dead spirits to um... death? If I felt sporty and I had some sick followers, I'd just have them fight to the death and winner would get bedrest to get better. How badly do you want to get better? Now this was my mindset until I started to unlock some of the better buildings such as outhouses and fertilizer and huts for sleeping. Once I started to develop more quality buildings I started expanding and growing my cult.


Now your time isn't always going to be spent in the confines of your community. You will have to venture through four dungeon doors, each of which corresponds to one of the spirits who has imprisoned the devil who saved you. Each one of these doors can be opened by having a certain number of followers in your cult. Through these dungeons you'll come across your basic rooms of hack and slash glory, but you'll be able to find rooms like ones that have tarot cards that will help unlock various temporary bonuses such as extra health or extra damage. Other rooms you come across will unlock various regions around your camp that you can travel to and partake in various quests from fishing mini-games to finding mushrooms to deliver to someone, all the while rewarding your lamb with items for your cult's survival and growth.

Ultimately you could easily say that you have a 3-way scale that you have to balance, and focusing on one area too much could easily lead to failure. While the adventures will either boost or sink your follower adoration, spending all your time in the camp will drain your resources quickly and the world doesn't open up rapidly, so finding some balance between exploration and cult management is essential. Each doorway that you must vanquish contains four levels and each level consists of a multi-room layout that ends with a boss fight where you get to choose your pathway through these levels. Let me dive a little deeper into this.

You pick the first doorway; you go through it for your first of four sections which ultimately ends in a boss fight on each level until you get to one of the four main gods. Here you are given a path to choose. On the left you have a square that is a market where you can buy things, on the right you have a path that leads you to get a new follower. On the left path, after the market you can go to the boss and on the right, after you get the follower, the path takes you to the boss. You are the one that makes the choice of what path you follow. Do you gather resources? Do you focus on gathering followers? The pathways you decide will ultimately shape how your game plays out.


Thankfully navigation and the control mechanics are very simplistic where 'B' is your dodge, 'A' is attack, 'Y' is magic, with your Left Stick controlling movement. This helps keep your combat mechanics in order when you have a screen full of enemies and you find yourself doing some attacks, dodging and repeat until room is cleared. Your magic that you can wield is capable through fervor that drops as small red orbs when you defeat an enemy. The premise is simple, collect enough fervor and you can launch your magic, but be careful because sometimes it can take a while to recoup enough fervor to launch more magic so use it wisely.

One of the most pleasant surprises of Cult of the Lamb has to be the art style. Without a doubt the expressions of the followers and the overall presentation of the game is both over the top adorable with a heavy, and I mean HEAVY, dose of dark, satanic comedy bits. From marriage to the sacrificing of the elderly to make sure you have no dead bodies; Cult of the Lamb delivers a vibrant yet distinctive graphic presentation that makes playing the game an absolute joy. This is complemented by sound effects that have a dark, almost twisted presentation and these sound effects that attempt to be "dynamic" but end up being present in an adorable way, so the edge is lost, but in a hilarious way.

I can honestly say that Cult of the Lamb was a pure enjoyment with every minute of gameplay and worth every penny of the $24.99 price tag. Massive Monster Studios has an iconic hit on their hands with Cult of the Lamb and that is thanks to a simplistic yet fluid gameplay mechanic, combined with a creative community management balanced with exploration and depth that rival some mainstream titles. After playing this, I am looking for something this year that can come close to touching this for Game of the Year. I can say that I'm a devout believer and 100% converted follower to fan.

**Cult of the Lamb was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10

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