Skip to Content

Review: Cult of the Lamb is an Adorably Twisted Ride

It's Time to Ascend.
Cult of the Lamb Lamb
It’s time to ascend. Image via Massive Monster

Cult of the Lamb, developed by Massive Monster and published by Devolver Digital, follows the trend of cutesy, nostalgic horror. It lures you in with the protagonist — the last known lamb in existence — and stabs you in the back when said lamb sacrifices their woodland followers to an eldritch deity.

To be clear, however — what I call a betrayal is also ridiculously enjoyable. In each segment of the experience, from the top-down dungeon crawling (seemingly) inspired by The Legend of Zelda and The Binding of Isaac, to the Animal Crossing-esque community simulation segments, this game shines. I never imagined I would have a blast crusading through dungeons, harvesting materials, and recruiting followers only to turn around and systematically build a cult that worships my wooly visage.

Review Takeaways

  • Cult of the Lamb offers both challenging roguelike action as well as relaxing — and slightly horrific — community-building aspects.
  • You play as the last remaining lamb after your kind was exterminated by a quartet of false prophets.
  • There is an insane difficulty spike after the second boss that may trap some players.
  • There is no room for morality in the cult. The One Who Waits awaits. I t ‘ s t i m e t o a s c e n d.
  • Final score: 9/10.

The Last Lamb on Earth

Cult of the Lamb Bishops
The Bishops of the Old Faith are not shy by any stretch of the imagination. They will make their presence very known as you crusade through their respective lands. Image via Massive Monster

In Cult of the Lamb, you play as the last lamb in existence. Leading up to this story, the four religious leaders of this world — henceforth referred to as the Bishops Leshy, Heket, Kallamar, and Shamura — eradicated the lamb population to prevent a sinister prophecy from being carried out. As the life drains from your eyes, you awake before a dark entity known as The One Who Waits.

The One Who Waits informs you that they’re bringing you back from the brink. In exchange for this act of providence, it’s your responsibility to build up a cult in their name and take revenge on the Bishops of the Old Faith, who locked The One Who Waits away. But, there’s something you don’t know about the history between the Bishops and The One Who Waits. And, with each slaughtered Bishop, the world inches closer and closer to a return to form as The One Who Waits is freed from their chains.

Crusading for Blood

Cult of the Lamb Kallamar
In addition to being a tough roguelike, Cult of the Lamb also offers some challenging bullet hell mechanics. Image via Massive Monster

In your crusades against the Bishops of the Old Faith, you’ll encounter a number of challenging enemies who must be destroyed alongside their benefactors. These enemies exist within procedurally generated environments that can serve to help you or hurt you. For example — in my experience, there have been rooms filled to the brim with powerful enemies, and there have been rooms filled with valuable chests.

Each Bishop has three mini-bosses that must be conquered before you can face the tyrants themselves. I would be lying if I said these mini-bosses were a walk in the park, because they are effectively Bishops in their own right. I had just as much trouble taking down a mini-boss as I did some of the Bishops. Once a mini-boss is defeated, they can be recruited as a follower, which makes them worth the massacre.

As you make your way to the Bishop, you can determine your forward route. Each crusade is comprised of a series of stages, that are then (usually) broken up into 9 or 10 rooms each. After you’ve made it past the first stage, you can then determine the best course of action as you proceed towards the Bishop. I often found that, since my experience with roguelikes is miniscule, the ideal path was one that involved as little battle as possible. Sometimes, I couldn’t avoid fighting, but when I could, I did.

Controlled Burning

Cult of the Lamb Sacrificial RitualCult of the Lamb Sacrificial Ritual
In Cult of the Lamb, you can choose to ascend your followers to the great beyond, or sacrifice them to a dark tentacle monster. Both are valid options and offer distinct rewards. Image via Massive Monster

It’s not all bloodshed and mayhem. When you’re not crusading through the Lands of the Old Faith, you can spend time building and nourishing your cult. Preach a sermon to keep the faith up, or conduct a ritual to achieve specific ends. Sow or harvest seeds and plants to cook into dishes of all flavors that can be fed to your followers — even if they end up killing them.

On that note, sometimes it can be helpful to sacrifice a follower for the perks they provide. In times like these, there are two rituals to choose from. There’s an ascendence ritual that delivers the follower to a higher plane of existence, and then one where you can sacrifice them to a multi-armed tentacle monster. I personally prefer the latter, as it provides additional — arguably crucial — resources based on the level of the follower you’re sacrificing. But, either are morbidly rewarding at the end of the day.

But, don’t forget that your followers have minds of their own. If you’re not fulfilling your obligations as cult leader, they could start dissenting against you. In times such as these, you must determine the best course of action: should you imprison these followers and re-educate them on your unholy doctrine? Or, should you just cut your losses and sacrifice the heathens? It’s entirely up to you, and there is no wrong answer. In a game such as Cult of the Lamb, it’s best to check your own personal morality at the gates.

An Adorably Twisted Ride

Cult of the Lamb Cult
When not on a crusade for blood and revenge, you can relax with Cult of the Lamb’s community building simulator. Image via Massive Monster

I absolutely adore Cult of the Lamb. But, it is by no means for the faint of heart. As I write — and probably as you read — I am still making my way through the game. But, as someone who is 18 hours in, with almost every single power and building upgrade, who is still trying to defeat Kallamar, there’s an insane difficulty spike that has slowed my progress. I know that some of y’all are probably telling me to git gud right about now, and trust me when I say that I AM TRYING.

But, aside from the intense struggle that kicks in halfway through, there is so much to be valued here. I am firmly enjoying the aesthetic — it’s what you’d get if the Woodland Critters episode of South Park had an illegitimate love child with Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, and then sacrificed it to Cthulhu. I load up the game, blink approximately twice, and the next thing I know it’s been three hours and I need to sleep. There is every intention of seeing this one through to completion, as long as I can channel enough patience and bullet hell survival techniques to beat Kallamar.

Related: How Long is Cult of the Lamb?

Cult of the Lamb is an indie darling that will undoubtedly charm both roguelike fans and newcomers alike with its unique dichotomy of fast-paced action and relaxing, community building sim mechanics. It’s an adorably twisted ride that I recommend to anyone who is down for an incredibly fun, but very frustrating experience. Cult of the Lamb is available via PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.

For more on Cult of the Lamb, there is a plethora of guides and other content here on Gamer Journalist.

Back to Navigation