Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter

Review: Woolly graphics hide dark heart of ‘Cult of the Lamb’

“Cult of the Lamb” starts as a conventional-ish dungeon top-down crawler. (Supplied)
“Cult of the Lamb” starts as a conventional-ish dungeon top-down crawler. (Supplied)
Short Url:
23 Jan 2024 10:01:05 GMT9
23 Jan 2024 10:01:05 GMT9

James Denselow

LONDON: Mixing genres in one game is always a risk — fail to deliver on one of them and the whole thing suffers. Get it right, though and suddenly you have a rare treat amid more competition than ever for gamers’ eyes and attention. Developed by Massive Monster and published by Devolver Digital for most platforms, “Cult of the Lamb” is such a creation, and invites players to delve into a surreal world where adorable creatures, ominous rituals, and unexpected charm converge.

“Cult of the Lamb” starts as a conventional-ish dungeon top-down crawler. Cartoony graphics disguise the gruesome storyline that starts with the ritual sacrifice of the game’s hero. Thankfully, a mysterious character, the shackled “The One Who Waits,” appears in the afterlife ready to restore life to our Lamb and set him forth on a mission to wreak havoc on his enemies.

Gameplay sees the Lamb take on dungeon rooms using an array of weaponry (fast and weak or slow and powerful) as well as accelerated boosts plus ranged attacks to confront multiple enemies at once. This can appear at first sight chaotic and a recipe for mindless button smashing. Soon, however, you realise that the game’s challenge is to master identifying enemy attacks patterns then timing your offence and defense accordingly. Clear each room using this dance of tactics and you are rewarded with gold, health and resources. But what are these for?

Here comes the second part of the game, which earns it the “cult” of its name. During your missions you rescue other animals who become your followers in an abandoned field area. This is the resource management section of the game and it is fiendishly creative. Followers must be fed and inspired. You can name each of them before ordering them off to farm, harvest resources or focus their efforts on generating faith for you through devotion. Gather devotion for upgrades to your weapons and skill sets allowing you to conquer the harder dungeons.

With a strong, humorous storyline knitting the two genres together, the game has an excellent balance but there are surprising levels of depth at play too. Tarot skills allow you power up and choose from a huge range of special features that suit your style of play, and the game’s helpful heads-up display reminds you of the long list of macro and micro objectives.

Its geography reveals itself steadily so as not to overwhelm, and while whacky is not crazy. Fight scenes can occasionally struggle to balance having interesting backdrops whilst not forcing you to lose sight of incoming enemies, but it is a minor complaint in contrast to all the fun to be had.

Most Popular

return to top