Cult of The Lamb Review – Satanic Shepherd Sim

Cult of The Lamb Review

Pardon my ignorance, but running a cult seemed like a breeze, at least at first. Gather an army to do your bidding? Kick back and soak up devotion every day? Talk about a dream job! Cult of The Lamb has taught me that being Dear Leader is actually a grueling endeavor. These hapless fools can’t do a thing for themselves. They just hoover up your resources and whine about their crumbling mortal husks. In spite of these obstacles, I still found myself enjoying Cult of The Lamb. Running a farm that harvests worship is pretty fun, it turns out.

Yours To Command

Although your squad of wide-eyed peons is lacking in autonomy, they make up for it with subservience. You can send people to prison, re-educate them, or even sacrifice them to your dark god! That last option is perfect for your noisiest dissenters. Turns out no one can hear you complain once you’ve been sucked into a realm of eternal torment. Hell, you can make your followers eat poop, if you’re feeling really nasty. Just don’t be too surprised when one of them turns on you.

Cult of The Lamb

When you’re not building, blessing, or farming, you’re going out on crusades. You’ve got heretics to murder, after all. This is where I had the most trouble, naturally. Since this is a roguelite/like title, your success on crusades is partially down to luck. If I ended up with a poison weapon, I generally came back alive. Otherwise, my survival rate was less impressive. There’s no force feedback when you get hit? And this makes combat a bit harder, somehow. On the one hand, you can maneuver more easily. On the other hand, the lack of resistance can turn a single mistake into three with little effort. Plus, death has some interesting consequences.

The Price Of Failure

When you die in Cult of The Lamb, your followers know about it. Worse, they can lose faith in you as a result. If you fall in battle while certain followers are already building up other grievances, it makes a huge mess. Suddenly you’ve got dissenters preaching antagonistic garbage where everyone can hear it. This adds an extra layer of stress to the roguelite section that I’m not fond of. You get the tools to solve these problems (sacrifice, imprisonment, re-education), but it’s still infuriating. Thankfully new followers are easy to come by.

Cult of The Lamb

You can scoop up more worshippers on every crusade. More is always better, right? This is the trap Cult of The Lamb sets for you early on. You can rack up worshippers at a breakneck pace, but then you have to feed them. Also clean up their poop, tend to them when they’re sick, and answer their many requests. These requests are landmines in wait. You can’t refuse them without losing tons of faith. And if you fail to complete said task on time? That follower is now a prime target for dissenting behavior. Thus, the delicate balance must be ever maintained.

Your Dark Work Never Ends

Occult madness is sandwiched between every layer of mechanical intrigue, every escalating challenge. The visuals feel like a children’s story gone terribly wrong. It’s as if a race of innocent forest critters summoned the hordes of hell, ignorant of the unspeakable weight of their actions. Meanwhile, the sound and music walk a delicate tightrope between approachable and sinister. The critters themselves talk in a wordless babble. It starts out spooky but gets old pretty fast. Your master, The One Who Waits, manages to be both inviting and off-putting with their speech.

Although I have several issues with this game, my complaints ring somewhat hollow. I wish that my followers were more useful, that combat felt less random, that failure wasn’t so costly. These are all problems you can solve with progression. Pour on enough devotion, and you can overcome any obstacle. Cult of The Lamb looks evil, but it also feels that way. Your people are tools to be used and discarded. Your power over them is absolute. Even in death, they can continue to serve your cause. Though the Bishops might seem overwhelming, your disciples can even the odds. If you want a roguelite with a sinister twist, you’re in luck. Cult of The Lamb is just the game you’re looking for.

***A Steam key was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Robust sim elements
  • Fascinating aesthetic design
  • Compelling gameplay loop

The Bad

  • Combat feels slippery
  • Failure quite punishing
  • Pacing somewhat uneven