Cult of the Lamb, we tried the demo of Massive Monster and Devolver's weird roguelike

Cult of the Lamb, we tried the demo of Massive Monster and Devolver's weird roguelike

Cult of the Lamb

About a year after the first announcement, Cult of the Lamb is almost ready to hit the market, with a release scheduled for August 11, 2022. It is one of the flagship titles of this summer for Devolver Digital, a label that we got used to original and quality games. The recent Steam Next Fest initiative gave us the opportunity to try a short but meaningful demo of Cult of the Lamb, allowing us to have a more precise idea of ​​this strange roguelike action RPG with "management" elements.

We have seen, in recent years, how the experimentation in the indie field points above all to the mixture of apparently distant genres and characteristics in a new amalgam of gameplay that are often unpublished. This Massive Monster title is also precisely part of this trend, and more specifically it takes the basics of roguelike action RPGs and adds discordant elements, to create something new.

It is a concept that has become almost a standard in production of independent games, but it must be said that here it is made in a very peculiar way thanks to a unique style and a juxtaposition between roguelike and management, given that we find ourselves on the one hand slaughtering enemies and on the other building and maintain a proper cult, taking into consideration various aspects of managing a group of creatures.

Condemnation and redemption

Cult of the Lamb, a screenshot The story starts immediately strong, staging the dramatic moments of the death sentence of the protagonist lamb, an event necessary to prevent a mysterious prophecy comes true, subverting the established order. We are faced with the gallows, in the presence of strange creatures that look like high-level priests and with whom we will have to deal with later, since they are the main bosses to be faced. Right on the verge of dying, however, the protagonist is summoned by "He who waits", or what appears to be a mighty chained lamb / demon, who gives the little hero a crown with mystical powers, entrusting him with the mission to start a new worship and make a clean sweep of the "heresies" that proliferate in the world. The little lamb then comes back to life, armed and endowed with deadly power, to wreak havoc on enemies and carry out the orders of the mysterious creature who saved him from death. It is reasonable to expect some twists and turns on the true nature of the cult which, from then on, we find ourselves having to build and prosper.

On the other hand, Cult of the Lamb does absolutely nothing to hide the ambiguous nature of the protagonist's powers and his morality highly questionable. The fierce malice is a fundamental element of the whole game, in stark contrast to the apparent seafaring of the protagonist and other characters, which constitutes a good part of his irreverent humor. We thus find ourselves exploring various settings and trying to eliminate the enemies of our new Lord, at the same time giving birth and prospering to the cult of the lamb, in a bizarre mix of hack and slash-style action with a roguelike and management element, given the need. to build and control our flock of faithful.

Action hack and slash and roguelike

Cult of the Lamb, a game boss The contrast between antithetical elements seems to be the common thread of Cult of the Lamb, since in addition to the aesthetics built on Satanism and cuteness, the gameplay is also based on contrasting characteristics. The basic action takes place within the various kingdoms to be explored, in which we move between screens in search of the boss, following paths at different stages that can be chosen by the player and eliminating all the enemies that meet on the screen. The game mechanics are somewhat reminiscent of The Binding of Isaac and a little of Hades, seeking a sort of mediation between the elements of success that emerged in this genre: we have a standard attack, special skills and a dodge, with the need to complete the game in a single life and with few hearts available: the level of challenge is remarkable, as far as we have been able to try (the demo includes only the initial kingdom).

Here too, as in other titles of this type, we can meet merchants and friendly characters who can provide us with upgrades and new weapons, with the possibility of choosing between various options that involve bonuses and malus based on your style of play and preferences.

Cult of the Lamb, a screenshot In the initial section we were able to meet a sort of fortune teller who gives us a gift of a card of your choice based on some tarot cards capable of modifying the protagonist's statistics, as well as sellers who allow you to change the main weapon with others with different characteristics. The combat system is fast and dynamic, with a rather low amount of castable shots that keeps the tension always high, but the relative simplicity and intuitiveness that characterizes it makes us immediately immerse ourselves in the basic mechanics of the game, easily wedging into its loop .

Cult management software

Cult of the Lamb, the camp of cult followers The other mechanic that characterizes the gameplay of Cult of the Lamb, outside of the fighting, is the construction and management of the cult, in a game section that is somewhat detached from the standard hack and slash loop but with continuous references between one reality and another. At the end of the introductory level, the mysterious helper who assists us from the early stages of our new role as herald of the One Who Awaits leads us, through a portal, to a relatively quiet area, where we can build the basis for worship: it is a matter of a delimited but rather large game area, which progressively fills up with structures and actions to be carried out, even if in the demo it was possible to see only a small part of them. During the exploration of the "dungeons" it is possible to meet some NPCs, sacrificial victims designated by the "heretics" or other tapini in difficulty, which it is up to us to free but only to subjugate them in turn within the cult, or in the aforementioned reserved area in which they are sent on the spot.

Within the worship area we can assign adepts various tasks that have to do with gathering resources: the coven needs stones and wood to get started, and we can dedicate the subordinates to this task or take care of it personally, since sustenance remains a constant element of the game. The aim is to increase the group of followers more and more and build new structures to make the cult ever richer and more prosperous, with the need, however, to keep the subordinates healthy by procuring food through the collection of ingredients and cooking. In this way, survival elements are mixed with group management and more action phases, creating a truly rich and interesting mix.

Demons and animals

Cult of the Lamb, an illustration The graphic style is certainly one of the strengths of Cult of the Lamb, with which the contrast between the lugubrious and the facetious reaches its climax: tender animals then become the protagonists of shocking brutality, in a riot of blood and cuteness that surely remains imprinted. The particular mixture of 3D and 2D elements is managed with remarkable skill by Massive Monster, managing to give everything an extremely refined look without having to manage an impressive graphic amount. The characterization manages in this way to give a remarkable identity to the game, combining the disturbing trait of the "demonic" and esoteric elements such as tarot cards and various demons with the comic characters with which we constantly deal. We are waiting to see the potential variety of the settings, given that the first phases seen in the demo focused mainly on a single theme such as scenarios and chromatic choices, as well as the musical accompaniment appears a bit repetitive, at least for the moment. >
There is no doubt that Cult of the Lamb is among the most interesting indies in the near future: the strange gameplay, even if built on elements that individually do not represent particular novelties, promises to keep the attention high between phases action and management, while the general characterization certainly represents a strongly identifying element for this title, of considerable impact. It remains to understand how deep the different aspects of the game are, between the combat system and the construction / management of the cult: they are all rather derivative mechanics, but put together in this way they still manage to stand out, thanks also to a general characterization really over the top. br>


A mixture of bizarre and interesting mechanics Excellent aesthetics between cuteness and horror DOUBTS There are so many roguelikes now How far does the management of the cult and the combat system go? Have you noticed any errors?

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