Cult of the Lamb
Developed by Massive Monster
Published by Devolver Digital
Played on Nintendo Swtich


The Skinny: This is one animal you don’t want to cross.

With the rise in popularity of roguelikes, horror games, and cute animal life sims, it was only a matter of time before a developer combined all three.
 Much like SNES classic Actraiser, Cult of the Lamb alternates between simulation and action gameplay and does an excellent job of using the two modes to create a satisfying gameplay loop. The player is thrust into the role of The Lamb, sacrificed by The Bishops of the Old Faith, four dark gods who rule over a sinister forest full of adorable cartoon animals, like a theocratic Animal Crossing. But death is only the beginning, as you are chosen by their imprisoned sibling, The One Who Waits, to build a cult, slay the four bishops, and free him.
Gameplay consists of two phases. In roguelike action sequences, players attack the lairs of the four bishops fighting enemies, rescuing prisoners, and gaining supplies. The rewards feed into a management sections, in which you grow your cult in order to use their faith to empower your supernatural abilities in combat. Players can also explore the world, completing side quests and playing mini-games.
 The gameplay loop is challenging and satisfying, as you must balance your follower’ needs and venture out in the dark to find your enemies. If you neglect one, the other will suffer. Players need to go out to gain gold and other supplies, but if you neglect your cult, they will abandon you and you won’t have the required population levels to unlock later areas or the upgrades needed for end-game challenges.
 The game’s art reminds me of ‘Happy Tree Friends,’ Taking a light, cartoonish style and mixing it with some seriously messed up stuff. The cartoony nature sands the edges off of some of the more despicable actions you are able to take as cult leader. The game gives you a lot of options. Will you sacrifice your followers for a quicker boost in power or nurture them in order to gain more resources? It’s all fun and games until you summon that tentacle from the farthest planes of reality to crush their little bones.
Combat is challenging and intuitive and will be familiar to anyone who has played games like Hades or The Binding of Isaac.
While both parts of the game are fun and feed into each other well, both feel a little shallower than if the game were more tightly focused.
Cult of the Lamb is available for Steam along with major console eShops.

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