Upon its release on Aug. 11, Cult of the Lamb has seen a rise to stardom. It was the most anticipated roguelike of the year and has been highly rated since it launched. It is easy to get into and one of the most unique games out there. It combines fast paced fighting with cozy relaxing vibes while also mixing twisted demonic plot and adorable characters. It may sound as though this game is all over the place, but somehow it all works and is the perfect combination.
One of the coolest things about Cult of the Lamb (and one of my personal favorite things about it) is that it is so much more than a standard roguelike video game. Typically, roguelikes consist of procedurally generated levels and features perma-death—which basically means that each run-through is random and will always be different from the last and when the character dies at least some progress is lost. Cult of the Lamb has these elements, but it also has social/colony simulation and village building aspects, which is a very unique combination. The game developers have been quoted on TikTok explaining the game as a mix of Binding of Isaac and Stardew Valley or Hades meets Animal Crossing.
I went into the gameplay knowing practically nothing about it other than it was a roguelike (which I am not particularly good at). I was in for a treat and was sucked into the game easily. I actually did not put it down for hours and had to cut myself off at 3AM, but only after reassuring myself I could play more when I woke up.
I started the game the way everyone does, as a cute little lamb who is about to be sacrificed by a cult. It is hard not to feel sorry for the little lamb as he is murdered right in front of you. The lamb then goes into the afterlife and meets this creature named “The One Who Waits,” and he brings you back to life in exchange for starting a cult devoted to him. The ultimate goal is to free “The One Who Waits.”
The main parts of the game consist of crusades and taking care of your followers. You must go on crusades and fight in dungeons for each bishop of the old faith (the main bosses). You must fight and win in each dungeon three times before meeting the boss of that dungeon. You also need to get resources from the dungeons, and you recruit new followers there too.
The followers are absolutely adorable. You design each one by choosing from the many different animals including sharks, unicorns, pigs, monsters, deer and more. You also get to choose the color and name of each one. It makes it super easy to get attached to them and also super sad when they die via sickness, old age, or sacrifice. There is no need to get too sad, though, because there is a way to bring them back eventually.
You can also always go back to a dungeon even after beating the corresponding boss. When you beat a dungeon after defeating the bishop attached, the sections get harder and harder, and you can continue indefinitely while getting better items and resources. You could essentially keep playing forever if you wanted to.
Cult of the Lamb is not only about crusades, dungeons, and bishops. You must also ensure your followers are cared for. You must feed, house, clean after, and provide anything else your followers might need or want while also decorating your camp along the way. Cooking, farming, fishing, shoveling poo, building, mini games, and upgrading are all parts of caring for your followers. You also must keep track of your follower’s faith, and keep the points up by conducting sermons, rituals, blessings, and choosing doctrines. If your followers’ faith falls too low, they will rebel. There are also multiple different decisions and many different power-ups to choose from as you progress.
The balance between the crusades and caring for your cult’s followers is quite nice, as you cannot go too long without contributing to either. It feels just like a cozy game like Animal Crossing while still implementing enough anticipation to not feel boring. You can focus on crusades or your followers, play slowly or progress quickly, play as a friendly loving cult leader, or be devastatingly ruthless. You could finish the game in about 15 hours, but that would likely be without getting collectibles and upgrading everything. Also, there are multiple endings when you do finally defeat the final boss so you could start over to achieve the different endings and make different decisions throughout the gameplay.
Although it sounds perfect, Cult of the Lamb has faced some criticism as well. Some have said the boss fights are too easy. However, as someone who is not good at roguelikes and did not get into gaming until young adulthood, I thought the game was plenty difficult. I do think people who are accustomed to roguelikes may be able to finish with more ease than someone without the experience, but it would still be worth playing. I like that it is beginner-friendly, and that the gameplay falls into the cozy game category. I do not think it was meant to make people rage-quit or get stuck for weeks at a time. In some games that is great, but Cult of the Lamb is not that, and I love that about it.
However, there were a few things I did not love. There were a few glitches that were quite annoying, one in which my game froze during a crusade and I lost a little bit of progress. The other glitch was with the paths for decorating the camp: for some reason the changes to the oath do not update and it is patchy. I do expect an update to be out soon to fix these things, and overall they are very minor issues. It is also worth mentioning that I played on Nintendo Switch so some of the issues I had aren’t going to be on the other versions of the game.
Despite the issues this is still my favorite game of the year and definitely one of my all-time favorites. It is so unique and unlike anything I have ever played before. I cannot recommend it enough to literally anyone no matter the genre of game you typically play. It was genuinely the most fun I have had with a game in a long time. I cannot stop playing and I do not intend to.