With the spooky season quickly approaching, many gamers turn their attention to video games that contain the horror, gore and jumpscares that really scream Halloween. But if you want a more laid-back game that still evokes the spirit of Halloween, then Cult of the Lamb is perfect for you. Its adorable art design starkly contrasts with the dark decisions the player must make throughout the game, making for a spooky — but not too spooky — action-adventure game.
In Cult of the Lamb, the player begins their journey as a white lamb marked for sacrifice to the antagonists of the story, the “Bishops of the Old Faith” who rule the land. The white lamb is the last of its kind, the others having been sacrificed a long time ago. As the lamb is being killed, a fifth bishop who had been locked away returns to summon the lamb, and he promises to grant the lamb (or rather, the player) a second chance at life. The catch? The player must serve as the leader of a new cult and begin anew.
While leading a cult under the fifth bishop’s name (“The One Who Waits“), the player must indoctrinate members, go on crusades and hold sermons for current followers, all of which strengthen the members’ loyalties to the prophetic lamb. The player must also ensure that their members are well-fed and that no diseases are present.
If the player cannot keep their people healthy, then cult members will dissent and attempt to turn others from the cult. The player is then left with two options: to simply kill the dissenting member in a sacrifice, which can have harmful effects on faithful members, or throw them in jail and reteach them the lessons of the cult. While this is the slower option of the two, the faith of the current members becomes stronger once the dissenter is set straight.
Cult of the Lamb allows the player to decide exactly what kind of cult leader they wish to be. Their choices affect the cult members either positively or negatively, which can help or hurt the lamb in the long run. With choices ranging from sacrificing members to hosting funerals for those who have passed, the gameplay enables the player to craft their own identity, whether it be a merciful leader or an unforgiving tyrant. As long as “The One Who Waits” is pleased with the player’s decisions, then they are free to do as they choose.
The game is styled as a dungeon crawler in which the player explores and conquers five regions, each led by one of the five bishops; the final region is ruled by “The One Who Waits.” In these worlds, the player must defeat enemies in each randomly generated level, and they have the opportunity to meet new characters or slay the worshipers of one of the four bishops. Since the lamb is a follower of “The One Who Waits,” they are given a mysterious object called the “Red Crown,” which turns into weapons and special attacks that may be used during each crusade.
At the beginning of each dungeon in Cult of the Lamb, the player is given a weapon and a special attack to use during their explorations. As they continue their journey, they may be able to trade the weapon for something better or their special attack for something more powerful. Each weapon and special attack has its pros and cons depending on the player’s preferred fighting style. Some weapons are faster than others but extremely weak, while others are incredibly strong yet have a huge attack delay.
These weapons and special attacks can be upgraded throughout the player’s journey in Cult of the Lamb so long as the cult members’ faith remains strong. As the player gains experience through their members’ devotion, they can also upgrade tools and items within the cult itself, which can further increase devotion; the player can also assign cult members jobs to perform while away on a crusade.
In order to slay each bishop in Cult of the Lamb, the player must first defeat a mini-boss each time they explore one of the dungeons: Darkwood, Anura, Anchordeep and Silk Cradle. Once a mini-boss has been defeated four times, then the lamb can try to defeat one of the bishops depending on the chosen dungeon. With every defeat, “The One Who Waits” becomes stronger as the chains placed on them by the bishops begin to break. When these chains are all broken, the player enters the final dungeon, “The Gateway,” which is not an area to explore, but rather, where the lamb finally meets their savior.
There are two possible endings based on the player’s final decision: They can choose to be sacrificed or slay the final boss. If the player decides to be sacrificed, then the game is over. It is the bad ending because the lamb ends up in the same situation it found itself in the beginning — a sacrificial tool for a higher being. But if the player refuses to be sacrificed, then they must defeat “The One Who Waits,” which leads to the good ending to the game.
Cult of the Lamb was developed by Massive Monster and is available to play on many platforms, including computers (Windows or Mac), the Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation 4 and 5. The $25 game has received overwhelmingly good reviews since its August release, and the game’s developers have also released a $5 DLC, which unlocks more character designs for cult members.
If you wish to partake in the Halloween season without the scares, then Cult of the Lamb is the perfect spooky game for you! Featuring new activities all the time and with so many characters to interact with, the video game has an endless amount of entertainment that will certainly keep future players onboard for the entire spooky season.