It’s hard to tell how easily the cult of lamb sinks its claws into itself. You might think you know what you’re in for – a lovable roguelite dungeon crawler with cult management mechanics and a tongue-in-cheek, humorous sense. given, game Is That, but it is much more. Cult of the Lamb is a masterclass in satisfying game design choices.
The game begins with the sacrificial lamb (that’s you!), well, being sacrificed. In one of the most terrifying opening scenes in recent memory, you are forced to proceed to a location where you will complete your destruction. One thing leads to another, and you’re saved from a mysterious, chained man named The One Who Waits, who was imprisoned by Old Faithful bishops, the same demons who sacrificed you. Thus, you have been given your purpose – to hunt down the bishops of the Old Faith and free what awaits from bondage. To do so, you’ll need to dive into dungeons and raise a mighty army of cultists who will empower you through your faith.
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The Cult of Lamb mechanics will sound familiar to most players. The fast-paced, dodge-heavy combat is reminiscent of Hades, the adorable cast of critters and cult customization options lend themselves to Animal Crossing comparisons, and the dungeon itself will remind genre fans of The Binding of Isaac. Cult of the Lamb doesn’t do anything significant, but it sets everything apart from other games with flair, style, and deliberate precision that defies any implication that it doesn’t know what it’s doing or becoming. wants.
The combat is fluid and satisfying. No matter what weapon you pick up, you’re sure to have a fun time sifting through entire hordes of enemies. You get upgrades in the form of tarot cards, and most of these are clear boosts, so they’re worth exploring. In addition to your weapon, there are several special abilities you can pick up, similar to Casts of Hades. These range from a barrage of enemy-seeking darts to explosions that push enemies away from you—and they all feel satisfying to use. The game has a relatively shallow collection of combat equipment, but it seems to be used to its advantage. As things get more challenging, you’re forced to rely on basics to survive, such as dodging and knowing when, as well as learning specific room layouts and enemy attacks. is to attack. It’s all a matter of learning.
When you’re not fighting through the Cult of the Lamb Four Dungeon, you’re managing your Cult. You’re assigned a huge field at the start of the game, and spend a lot of time clearing trees and rocks before building your cult out of nothing. This isn’t a full blown colony sim, but there are clear motivations. Cultivators can be employed in fields, buildings gathering resources, or forced to worship you, giving you valuable divine inspiration to unlock new buildings and upgrades. can be spent. In addition to cult improvements, you’ll also unlock new areas as you explore dungeons, meeting interesting NPCs who provide various quests that break the gameplay cycle. I love that you have a wide range of decorations to adorn your cult, and they also have a mechanical effect – the more beautiful your cult, the happier your farmers will be.
As your cult grows, you’ll need to learn how to manage its cleanliness and appetite, along with its overall belief level. In the early game, it boils down to cleaning up followers’ waste and vomit and making disgusting food out of grass until you unlock the ability to farm more delicious fare. Some of your daily tasks may eventually be automated, but not all of them, which means there is always something you do. passed To do, adding a fun element of pressure. Sometimes you may be forced to choose between leaving the dungeon to feed a hungry farmer or forcing you to beat the boss. Returning to the cult, triumphant in victory, only to find the corpse of your favorite adorable bunny farmer is a bitter feeling.
Combat and cult management make up the two halves of the gameplay loop. Each run through a dungeon takes about ten minutes, give or take, and by the time you return to your cult, the list of jobs will have been filled. It’s impressive how fine-tuned the game feels – it doesn’t take long to run a dungeon that everything goes to hell, but you’ll be under considerable pressure until you’re old enough to buy something more useful. will be kept. Quality of life upgrade. This attention to detail can be felt with the upgrades themselves – playing normally, you’ll reach full power at about the same time you’re ready to face off against the ultimate boss, which makes the climax all the more exciting. . It is the culmination of all your efforts and time to tear apart.
At its core, Cult of Lamb’s design philosophy is to make you feel powerful. Whether it is power in oneself, power over others, or the power to create one’s own destiny, the game is brimming with fantasies of power. The screen vibrates as fallen enemies explode red, turning each dungeon into a violent, bloody romp. There are a number of ways to empower your cultists to torture you every time you open the interaction menu. All you can do is serve as a reminder that you use true power, and the game is kind enough that you can use it however you want.
What I really appreciated about Cult of Lamb is how the design choices work so well together. It would be easy for a game like this to feel cheesy or on the wrong side of the edgy – with the wrong direction, it can feel like a Happy Tree Friends game. Instead, the contrast between a particularly goofy presentation and quirky subject matter serves to make the game all the more compelling. The motivations are clear – you’ll find that Anchordeep’s dungeon feels very insmouth when cultivators are sacrificed, and the general bastard of Western religion doesn’t feel overwhelming – but they are not overused. The Eldritch and Lovecraftian tropes are somewhat badass at the moment, so seeing them presented in such a fresh way gives Cult of Lambs a unique selling point. this is some new,
In my 15 hours of play, I found little to complain about. The only things that come to mind are the inability to challenge the final boss again and the relative lack of a postgame. When your only complaint is that you want more, there really isn’t much to fix. Some players may feel frustrated by certain quests, but they are easily resolved with a little effort and exploration, so any frustrations are short-lived.
I can easily see Cult of Lambs becoming one of the next indie darlings, and it would totally deserve the adjective. It’s a mix of elements that, by rights, shouldn’t really work, but the giant monster executed it perfectly. The game captivates you with a lush and fuzzy art style and the promise of action-packing combat, and then captivates you with a gameplay loop that keeps you coming back for more. I, for one, will follow the Lamb to the ends of the earth.
Score: 5/5. A review code for PC was provided by the publisher.
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