When American publisher Devolver gets involved in a project, we know there’s always something fishy. In this case with Cult of the Lamb from the Australian studio Massive Monster, there are lambs under the church. The concerned sheep, saved in extremis of death by a disturbing deity, agrees to become his apostle in exchange for his own life. Then he finds himself responsible for founding an occult society that will sing his praises all day long in the middle of the forest. What was not stated in the contract, however, is that it requires real management to manage such a cult.
Because once the first followers have been recruited and a brand new holy statue installed in the center of the camp, trouble begins. We have to organize prayer, give the daily sermon, make sure everyone has their own bed, provide meals and even clean up the excrement of our flock or they will get sick. Constant micromanagement that tests your faith.
Especially since the resources needed to feed and house this beautiful world do not appear by a miracle. There will be a few stones and other trees to exploit in the place, but it is in the dungeons that our charismatic lamb will dig up gold, materials, plans and new followers. It is thus another part of the game that is revealed: after the management, the action.
Devotees not sorry
Behind his sweet quirk and his deceptively innocent smile, our guru shows that he is perfectly capable of wielding the sword, ax or dagger to slay any villain that stands in his way.
The level structure will not lose the regulars of titles such as The Binding of Isaac, with rooms arranged in small, simple mazes that rearrange with each exploration. Cult of the Lamb also share a strikingly similar health system, represented by hearts of different colors and with varying effects.
If the battles at first turn out to be rhythmic – the animal reacts to the finger and the eye when it is necessary to roll or cast spells – they unfortunately become rough and boring during the adventure. In fact, the three-quarter view camera, as well as the fake 3D the game uses, tends to make the action hard to read, especially in the foreground. Nothing unacceptable though, especially since the default difficulty is mild.
Where Cult of the Lamb demonstrating brilliant demonism is that your camp continues to evolve in real time while you’re away. We then quickly realize that no monster turns out to be as terrifying as a message informing you that your devotees are starving or, even worse, that one of them has passed the weapon to the left. Ideal for putting pressure on yourself to finish your quest (even if it means making stupid mistakes in a hurry) and quickly get home to deal with the daily grind: mending tents, cooking and picking up excrement.
In the name of the father and the victim
Fortunately, and despite the mental strain of commanding this army of followers, the adventure remains unhindered indefinitely. With the help of prayers and good words, the various progress bars representing the fervor of the cult are filled, the arsenal of the boss is expanded, new rituals with different costs and effects appear in your repertoire. Gradually unlocked skill trees later allow the construction of toilets, farms and other cleaning stations so that this spiritual offspring can gradually take charge. This allows you to go on a crusade with a little more peace of mind.
Like a Crossing animals corrupt, over time we become attached to these brave beasts. Especially since the artistic direction, in the intersection between Do not starve and Happy Tree Friends, turns out to be particularly adorable and suited to the title’s half-cute, half-macabre subject matter. To the point that we even feel a little pain in the heart when the inevitable moment comes to literally sacrifice them, with or without their consent, on the altar of sacred progression.
- the very clean artistic direction, very cute and completely at odds with the gloomy subject matter;
- the management putting pressure on the investigation;
- the matches that we find dynamic at the beginning.
We liked less:
- the struggles which we find hard at the end;
- lack of variety in environments;
- Repetitive tasks: cleaning, harvesting, fishing, over and over.
It is more for you if:
- you have your BAFA and can handle a group of slightly idiotic individuals who are unable to take care of themselves;
- You like The Binding of Isaac and Do not starve.
It’s not for you if:
- you don’t like camping;
- you don’t like to see animals suffer (even when they do).
666 (out of 888)