Cult of the Lamb review: A little lamb throughout the home and church? Not really

The time has come to overthrow the Ancient Cult that rules the forest and bring the bloodthirsty lamb of video game history to his rightful command post. Cult of the Lamb, developed by Massive Monster and published by Devolver Digital, is a production inspired by many masterpieces of the history of the video game -Hades, The Binding of Isaac (to know more here is the review of The Binding of Isaac), Animal Crossing- and uses them to give life to a bloody story, told with a cartoonish graphic style that contrasts with the violence shown on screen. He is a Janus with two faces., in which management mechanics are mixed with roguelite combats in which the important thing is to never stop. So we’re taking you with us deep into the forest, among giant mushrooms, killer spiders, and mutilated monsters. The only possible path: the one that shows the red crown of the lamb.

sacrifice who?

The story begins with one of the sacrificial rites that allow the Old Cult revitalize their cruel bishops: The lamb seems destined for an ignominious end, like all the other members of his lineage, but something unexpected happens. the one who waits he is the most feared being in the cult, a tremendous semi-divine force that the bishops had thrown in chains, apparently without success. His tremendous power manages to give new life to the lamb, but everything has a price: the protagonist will have to unhinge the Ancient Cult and restore veneration against the chained beast, determined more than ever to make a grand return to the furry hearts of the forest animals.

The conversion of the lamb is not exactly spontaneous, since the possible answers are an enthusiastic “yes” or “absolutely”, full of that fanatical ardor that certainly does not hurt to purge the infidels. A blood-red crown then appears on the protagonist’s head, capable of possessing the weapons available in the game world and infusing them with the necessary strength so that the new religion can make its way with brutality and violence. he exterminated the jailers who had killed the fluffy sheep, it only remains to start proselytizing

All home and church

The faith of the followers is the greatest asset of the Cult of the Lamb: not only because it will allow us to earn the respect of the One Who Waits, who will occasionally summon us. to comment on our progress – but because it is the cornerstone of the cult village, the base from which to build a livable and hospitable environment.

Each faithful has specific characteristics, bonuses, and penalties that affect their ability to maintain high morale, generate Devotion (essential raw material to unlock new buildings and upgrades for the village), cure diseases, and much more. . The animals are customizable. and very willing to bow to the wishes of their boss… If we can keep them happy and satisfied. There is much to be said for the subtexts of the Cult of the Lamb, which provides an unflattering commentary on the religion: often the qualities of the adepts are described in disparaging words, showing exploitation perspective which is the basis of village management. And so an elephant particularly faithful to the cult is described as “gullible”: a clumsy, in short, a fool, a gullible.

Here, Cult of the Lamb takes a truly sardonic and provocative look at power and religion, inviting us to spend our disciples as if they were resources: if they are killed, their meat will be of a different type than what is normally found in the game. , almost I would like to underline the particular taste that the powerful have for exploiting the weakest.

Massive Monster has structured a fluctuating adventure between the safety of the town and the dangers of the forest, without forgetting to shake everything to undermine the certainties of the player. So lo and behold, the bishops will not miss an opportunity to turn us against our own followers, say hit them with diseases to force them to rest (sending them to work at this time can mean death for sick animals), to make us understand how faithfulness should never be taken for granted.

As we will discover, these powerful beings have figured this out the hard way. It must be said that we did not perceive a particular feeling of insecurity in the first hours of the adventure: it is enough to pay attention to what happens in the town, clean up the excrement of the faithful (a very important task that should not be neglected) to avoid the appearance of epidemics and adequately feed the inhabitants to ensure a flow of work and worship without many setbacks. Things get more challenging in the future, and you should always be careful not to leave the village for too long, keeping an eye on the gauges that measure the health status of your followers. Using Accumulated Devotion allows you to unlock new buildings in a kind of multi-level skill tree that marks the technical progress of our cult, allowing you to build churches, altars, tents, broom closets (have we already said that cleanliness is important?) . The church is of course the beating heart of the management part of the game, in the name of sermons, rituals and improvements for our protagonist. Many structures, especially decorative ones, are unlocked on our journeys through the forest… Exactly where we’re headed.

Many strokes in the shade of the trees

Forays into the woods, looking for monsters to kill and infidels to convert, are certainly the soul of action for the Cult of the Lamb. With a nod to landmarks like Hades or The Binding of Isaac, the lamb’s movements need to be quick and precise to get the most out of fights. Don’t worry: the presence of four difficulty levels means that the degree of challenge can be adjusted without too much concern. Don’t expect a kaleidoscope of possibilities that can rival what Hades has to offer (here’s our Hades review). Still, Cult of the Lamb’s action is snappy, fast-paced, and ultimately downright fun. It’s hard to get away from the screen, thanks to an engaging and challenging game loop.

The improvement system “in the field”, based on the extraction of Tarot cardsHowever, there is no risk component, which is a shame. In short, the effect of the cards can only be positive, and this eliminates any possible occurrence of problems: drawing one will always only give an advantage, contrary to what happened, for example, in Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen in the Far Now 1993. This characteristic, in other words, we do not appreciate, because the art of tarot is not and should not be so painless. The scenarios, built procedurally, are varied and well thought out, with some peaks of excellence.

Sometimes the natural thing is to stop, stop the action with guncotton and contemplate the depths of the forest, rendered with richly detailed backgrounds. Essential is the destruction of stones and bushes, the theft of Devotion from the statues of Bishops, the exploitation even of the skeletons of our enemies, which can provide additional resources: faith demands above all the meeting the basic needs of followers and the use of wood, grass and rock to astonish the disciples and persuade them to continue to believe in the lamb and its religion of blood, which leaves nothing standing in its way.

Leaning towards The One Who Waits is the only option, and Cult of the Lamb’s gameplay demonstrates this perfectly. It contributes to the creation of a surreal atmosphere. a varied cast, sometimes a harbinger of revelations about the game world and its history. There is the wise bird who will tell us the truth about the relationship between the Bishops and the One Who Waits; there is the beast in search of his own heart; there is the ancestor of the lamb, unable to complete its task.

Once the boss of an area is defeated, it will be possible to return again and againentering the depths of the forest and always with an eye on the villagers, who if left alone could find themselves in trouble and lose faith.

The enemies in the areas where the boss has died will be stronger, more numerous, more evil: however, it is necessary to arm yourself with courage, accumulate resources and improve your combat skills, especially at higher difficulty levels. There is no doubt that there are areas more inspired than others in the design and atmosphere, but in general, Cult of the Lamb looks for a suitable and coherent artistic direction, deliciously oxymoronic in managing the contrast between the tenderness of our disciples’ pets and the violence represented on the screen. Over the course of this bloody adventure, we didn’t notice the slightest hesitation on the framerate front, despite playing on maximum graphics settings.

The faithful fessacchiotti who decide to follow us in our cult become attached and how, and this pushes the player to take care of the town and its inhabitants. Accomplice of a pleasant soundtrack and excellent management of ambient sound effectsMassive Monster’s work is a true delight for the ears that, to be fully understood, requires a good knowledge of the English language, since there is currently no translation into Italian.

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