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[REVIEW] Cult of the Lamb – I’m a baaaah-liever

“Like a lamb to the slaughter”. Usually, bad things happen when these words are uttered. But in the case of Cult of the Lamb, really good things happen after a quick, mandatory lamb-slaying. Because this lamb gets a second lease at life and a snazzy crown to go with it. The cost? Responsibilities. And a whole lot of infidel murdering. Hey… if managing and upkeeping a cult were easy, everyone would do it.

Indeed, don’t get fooled by the cute appearance of our fluffy protagonist. Cute as he may be, Massive Monster seeks to make a murdering sack of wool out of us all with Cult of the Lamb, a game best described as part dungeon-crawling crusade, part management sim. Considering that I’m highly allergic to the latter, it’s surprising that Cult of the Lamb had me invested from start to finish. Even I – a novice Cult leader who has not been dyed in the wool – managed to appreciate the one thing I’ve always hated.

Maybe it’s the perfect balance between the thing that I came for and the thing that I’d rather skip. While I initially joined Massive Monster’s flock to kill countless non-believers, ultimately, I didn’t mind the extracurricular activities. It’s like going to mass to get effed up on sacramental wine and stale cookies and not minding the mind-numbing sermon that comes with it. As long as you’re able to leave a happy camper, you’ll deal with it. And boy, did this crusade – which can take up to 24 hours if you’re really thorough – make me happy.

Admittedly, I didn’t do the best job being thorough. And Massive Monster – being a neutral leader – doesn’t punish anyone too harshly for not trying overzealously. How you run your cult is up to you. If you want to be an aggressive leader, you may. If you’re more of a passive type, you’re also free to do that. The way you unfold as a fluffy cult leader is entirely in your hooves and the doctrines that you preach help you shape your persona. But the core tasks – converting members and keeping them well-nourished, healthy, and devout – are not tasks to be taken lightly. You can, as I did in my first run that took me only 5 hours. But you’ll pay heavily for that in the long run.

But hey, first things first, new followers. How do you acquire those? Simple. By saving them. In order for your flock to grow organically, you’ll need to venture out into the domains of the Four Bishops. You know, the same ones that turned you into lamb chop not that long ago. Harboring potential recruits that occasionally need a strike of the blade to see reason, thus cultivating a religious fellowship, demands a quick draw and even quicker reflexes. And some knowledge of tarot cards and curses, which eventually aid you in your quest of reaching total dominion.

Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, it’s the randomly provided weapons and curses that can wreck a run for you. Provided with a single curse and weapon at the start of each dungeon run, getting dealt a bad weapon – like a sluggish axe – could require you to change the way you prefer to tackle enemies. Especially later on, when areas house multiple enemies with massively increased agility and skill, you might benefit more from a dodge&roll approach. If that’s not your MO, pray to The One Who Waits that he’ll grant you a weapon upgrade. Or make sure to unlock better weapons options in the skill tree. Also, make sure to explore every possible room while you’re at it. You might just run into a tarot card handler that’ll supply you with a much-needed perk. Trust me, you’ll need every help you can get if you’re going to face the Four Bishops and their subordinates.

Luckily, Cult of the Lamb doesn’t ask of you that you slay around the clock. In between smiting heretics, shoveling your flock’s barf and poop (if you neglect to build proper facilities and only cook shitty meals to quench their hunger), and “dealing” with dissident followers, there are some leisurely side tasks to partake in. A dice-oriented minigame called Knucklebones and fishing – even though that’s dull as hell – can take your mind of off cult shit. They’re also a great way of acquiring more diverse resources and income, granted that you don’t lose. But to some, it might feel as fluff and low-effort filler to extend Cult of the Lamb’s runtime.

If I may give you one piece of advice before joining the flock; don’t be like me. Even though I’ve absolutely enjoyed every minute of my shorter-than-short 5-hour playthrough (which is half of the runtime estimated by Massive Monster, to give you an idea), Cult of the Lamb can be so much more fun if you invest in it. Making a piece of art out of your pasture – something I absolutely didn’t do – can easily double your playtime. It can also easily aid you in keeping your fellowship happy, day and night. And that also helps you in keeping up the good spirit so you won’t have to “sacrifice” unsatisfied followers. Unless you take pride in turning your cult into a cannibalistic herd, which can work in your favor if you want to relinquish yourself of followers going astray. You lose your burden, they gain nutrition. Whatever floats your boat.

Me, I just made a total shitfest of my church grounds with people getting sick all the damn time. Decorations? No thanks. Even though I’ve unlocked those with the blood of the innocent, I never took the time to build any of those. And still I wonder why faith kept dropping to an all-time low. Man… did I perform a lot of unnecessary rituals to boost that… Note to self: Keep your day job, man. Leave the cult thing to people who take the time and effort to become decent leaders. Conclusion: I’m a shitty leader, but at least I had fun being one.

So… are you ready to join the flock? If so, Devolver Digital and Massive Monster will be happy to receive you, if you don’t mind paying a €22,99 or €24,99 entrance fee, depending if you’re a PC or console worshiper. That’s mighty “sheep” if you ask me.

Indoctrinating!
The Holy
Cute in appearance, yet develish in execution
You get to boss sheeple around
Your cult, your choice (, and your consequence to deal with)
Suck on my blade, heretic!
The Heretic
Random starting weapon can screw you over
Extra activities can feel kinda pointless
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