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Cult of the Lamb

Cult of the Lamb is The Binding of Isaac mixed with Animal Crossing

We've checked out the demo for Massive Monster's action-roguelike and are very impressed about what it offered.

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As strange as it may seem, Devolver Digital's showcase this year may just have been the best one of the season. I say this as the showcase looked to once again weird out viewers with its on the nose humour and wacky premise, but also matched this up by delivering a home run of four highlighted games. This includes the bizarre Anger Foot (which I previewed recently), the adorable The Plucky Squire, the unusual Skate Story, and the soon to launch Cult of the Lamb. As part of Steam Next Fest, the latter has a short demo out, which serves to show off a bit of gameplay, and I've checked it out and I'm very impressed so far.

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And that's for a lot of different reasons. Not only is the gameplay very tight and fluid, but the visuals are striking and the variety in what you are asked to do is broad and more than you might expect. But to understand what exactly this is, first one must dive into the narrative and the unique premise it is serving up. Cult of the Lamb puts players in the shoes of a possessed lamb who has been tasked with forming and growing a cult in the name of an ancient god, all in payment for being saved from damnation. The idea is that you travel the world, saving and converting followers to your belief, so that your cult grows big and powerful enough to be able to challenge the false prophets who originally intended to spill your blood.

As for how this premise is translated into the gameplay, that is done in two ways. The actual exploring and the action-packed part of the gameplay is almost The Binding of Isaac-like, and tasks you with clearing levels that are split into separate rooms, rooms that when cleansed of danger will reward the lamb with loot and money that can be used to become stronger in many unique methods. This action-roguelike aspect of Cult of the Lamb is also packed with many special encounters, such as friendly beings that can enhance the lamb with tarot cards that provide extra bonuses (such as more health or better loot chances), and on top of this, it's here that we find bosses and other challenging but rewarding to defeat adversaries.

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Unlike The Binding of Isaac and other action-roguelikes that ask you to just move to the next floor when you've exhausted all other options, Cult of the Lamb instead has a roadmap sort of system, where you can choose to head to a level that will have certain loot present (such as a food source) on your way to facing the boss level at the end of that very map. It gives you a little bit more freedom and strategy with how you tackle the gameplay, which is evermore important when considering the secondary part to the gameplay: the life sim elements.

Cult of the LambCult of the Lamb

Because creating and growing a cult requires more work than simply recruiting followers. You need to ensure these followers are fed, have shelter and other vital amenities, and likewise are just generally comfortable, if you expect them to devote themselves to your prophet. In Cult of the Lamb, this means you have to ensure you are returning from your journeys with food to feed your people, but also resources that can't be found around your cult site, else you won't be able construct new buildings and improvements. And this process also includes discovering blueprints for new designs, which are often found as rewards for defeating challenging, boss-level enemies.

Once you have designs and buildings to create, you can simply task your flock to build it for you, or rather get your hands dirty and start hammering and nailing away to handle the job yourself. And this extends to cooking, which isn't quite as immersive and engaging of a process as Cooking Mama, but rather simply asks you to slot ingredients into a recipe to create that very dish to keep your followers' bellies full. All in all, the life sim side of Cult of the Lamb shows shades of Animal Crossing, more so when you consider the fact that every cult member is a creature of some kind.

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Cult of the Lamb
Cult of the LambCult of the Lamb

The demo for Cult of the Lamb may only be a fleeting one, but it does leave me very excited for this action roguelike indie game from Massive Monster. This seems like a game that is shaping up to be as fun as it is disturbing at times. There looks to be plenty of depth to what's on offer, be that in the combat and the faster paced side of the gameplay or rather in the slower more relaxing life simulation part. If you're a fan of The Binding of Isaac or any other games in a similar vein, I'd absolutely suggest checking out the demo while it's still available, as it will no doubt leave you well and truly excited for launch day, on August 11 this year.

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