Underneath my yellow skin

A Quick Look: Cult of the Lamb

Possessed individuals glowing red
Nothing can go wrong with this.

Excuse me, but might I interest you in our Lord Lamb? Hey, where are you going? Don’t you have a few minutes for your eternal damnation salvation?

I am playing Cult of the Lamb by Massive Monster, an Australian developer, and it’s glorious. I’m only on Day 3 or Day 4, but it’s already showing a lot of personality. In the beginning, I’m killed by people who are guarding a big bad buried under the earth. Apparently, I am someone who can wake up the big bad and the guardians don’t want that. They kill me!

Game over, right? Nope. The big bad brings informs me that it can bring me back to life if I will serve it. Will I do it? Here’s a hint of the humor: My choices are ‘yes’ and ‘absolutely’. I choose absolutely, and I’m brought back to life.

The graphics style is cartoony and completely adorable. It’s in direct contrast to the twisted things that are happening, which is one reason I love this game. It’s been compared to Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Edmund McMillen) into which I’ve poured more hours than how much I’ve played the FromSoft games combined, and it’s a fair comparison in very specific ways. The cartoon look and the irreverent attitude towards religion, specifically. The random dungeons, the different items and skills, and the different starting items for each run. There are five different areas (for runs), but for now, I only have access to one.

The combat is my least-favorite part of the game so far. It’s adequate, but it hasn’t clicked. It’s X for melee and Y for ranged. Left stick for walking and right stick for camera. The enemies are the same throughout the first area (so far), which is ok. Again, I emphasize that I’m only in the first area, so I can’t comment on the latter enemies.

In the sim part of the game, the basics are to get followers, make them do my bidding, and build up the cult. There are the normal sim things of chopping wood, mining stones, and picking berries. But there is also collecting devotion from the followers (not quite sure what the white fluid is–best not to look at it too closely), giving sermons (me), and doing rituals (also me).

There is an overview map, and I can go visit, ah, Ratau (had to Google it) to play Knucklebones, a dice mini-game. Ratau is a mysterious guy who claims he was once in my position. I don’t trust him, but I do appreciate the guidance. If he’s the last boss, I won’t be surprise, which is what I’m saying.

At his shack, he teaches me Knucklebones. Each player has three rows where you can place four dice each (I think). You roll a die and place it at the front of one of the three rows. You do that by flicking the left stick, which I didn’t figure out at first, so the die kept going in the same row. If you can match your opponent’s number in the front of the row opposite yours, his die disappears. If you can put two of the same numbers back-to-back, that’s a multiplier. You want the highest total number in the row. I’m not sure what you win, but it’s a fun game.

There’s a lot to learn, but it’s not that overwhelming. I will admit that I did forget to feed my followers, which made them not very happy with me, but I quickly cooked them berries and that satisfied them.

Also, interestingly enough, if you die too much in the dungeons, they lose faith in you. I have it on Hard (there are four modes. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Super Hard (not the real names, but close enough)). I don’t need to play masochist mode, but I thought I’d be most comfortable with hard. I can change it at any time, so that’s good to know.

I’ve built a temple and a shrine. I have begrudgingly given my followers sleeping bags. I have named them and given them their animal forms, which is really fun. I bought the DLC follower pack, more to support the devs than because I really wanted it. It gave me several new follower forms, which is fun. I don’t believe in DLC, but I do believe in supporting indie devs. And I don’t mind paying a few bucks for skins, which is what this effectively is. I have a narwhal, for goodness sake! It’s really cute.

I have a hunch the sim part is going to get more elaborate as I go. I was watching Skill Up’s review, then had to quickly turn it off when he talked about things he could do with the followers. I don’t want to be spoiled, even though I’m not as rabid about it as I am with From games. (Ha! I managed to mention them even in this post.)

I haven’t managed to kill the second boss yet. I get greedy, which is exactly what you don’t want to do. If there’s anything I can call out, it’s the lack of health/healing in the dungeon runs, but that’s pretty standard for these kinds of games. I did get a heart from a chest and half a spirit heart somehow. Not sure if it was from killing an enemy or what, but I welcomed it. But I only got a heart from a chest once in half a dozen runs.

I’m not quite in the dungeon groove yet. You get a new weapon and new ranged attack at the start of each run. You get the chance to upgrade somewhere in the run, There are tarot cards with different upgrades (which I love). There are fragments of new doctrines and such. This is always my favorite part of these games–the different skills and weapons. It’s what makes each run different and fun.

I was excited when I saw the first trailer for this game. Then, the demo came out, and reviews were mixed. Ian played it and wasn’t that thrilled with it. Then, he played the actual game and said it was much better than the demo. He thought I would like it, and I am between games as I’m waiting for my USB stick to arrive so I can save-scum the plat for BB. After playing for forty-five minutes, I messaged Ian to say I kind of loved the game, and he responded, “I thought you would!”

The only other very minor complaint I have is that you have to save before quitting out or you lose your progress. I don’t see why it doesn’t auto-save when you quit, but that’s not a big deal. I love this game and cannot wait to bend everyone’s will to do my bidding to be a great leader of my cult, MultiCulty. It’s what I was born to do.

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