Developer Massive Monster (The Adventure Pals) and publisher Devolver Digital have blessed us with Cult of the Lamb, a roguelike survival sim with a dose of action-adventure. Cult of the Lamb draws inspiration from occult-themed roguelike classics like The Binding of Isaac and Don’t Starve. But instead of braving the harsh wilderness on your own, you will grow and maintain your own cult. Keep reading for a gameplay summary and our opinion on how Cult of the Lamb runs on Nintendo Switch.
Play as a sacrificial lamb resurrected by The One who Waits, a powerful deity who tasks you with creating a cult in his honor to repay your debt. Your guide is Ratau, a fox who once led his own powerful cult for the deity but has since retired. With Ratau’s help, you will embark on crusades to destroy the non-believers, gather resources, and recruit new acolytes for your cult. New recruits are customizable in name and appearance, and they come with randomly generated traits which impact how they behave within your cult.
Cult of the Lamb is part action-adventure, part survival sim, but gameplay is not an even split between these genres. Especially when establishing your file, Cult of the Lamb plays like a survival sim with some action-adventure elements sprinkled in. You will get your dose of action-adventure when embarking on crusades, which often revolve around specific tasks to complete. For example, when Ratau teaches you about dark rituals that require the bones of your enemies, he tells you to begin a new crusade with the goal of collecting these bones so that you may perform your first ritual.
Crusades involve navigating through a series of interconnected rooms a la Binding of Isaac. Most rooms are swarming with enemies, but a handful of them contain weapons or other items like currency or raw materials. Some rooms allow you to draw a tarot card offering a helpful perk, like an extra half-heart or the ability to deal extra damage. At the end of each crusade, you will fight a final boss and return triumphant to your loyal followers. With options to play in easy, normal, hard, or very hard mode, this game is accessible for the vast majority of gamers.
Cult of the Lamb’s survival sim elements focus on caring for your cult over each day-night cycle, which lasts about 15 minutes in real time. Acolytes need food, shelter, and a clean environment free from disease, and although they help with tasks around the compound, it is your responsibility to ensure their basic needs are met. At first, your cult will eat from wild berry bushes, sleep in sleeping bags, and poop in the grass. But as you progress, you will unlock and build farms, shelters, and outhouses to meet these needs, and this is just a taste of what you will unlock and build in Cult of the Lamb.
But to develop a solid cult, you must also foster devotion and minimize dissent. There are several ritualistic tasks that can be performed each day to this end. The most basic task is the daily sermon performed in your temple, a structure that is unlocked and built early in the game. But as you progress, you will perform more complex (and twisted) rituals and adopt various doctrines to strengthen your followers’ fervor.
You can also interact with individual cult members each day to increase their devotion to you. The most straightforward method involves giving daily blessings to each cult member. You may also give gifts when you have them in your inventory. But simply talking to acolytes can also present unique opportunities. For example, one follower may present you with the idea of forcing another follower to eat a bowl of poop. If you turn down their idea, they may lose faith in you, but if you accept, the unfortunate soul who eats the poop bowl might get sick and die. The choice is yours.
Now we’ll talk about how this game runs on Nintendo Switch after playtesting on both Switch and PC. First, the controls feel perfect for Switch, and if you don’t like the default control mapping, you can customize the controls to fit your needs. And although the load times on Switch are decent, we must admit that the character animations on Switch are slower and choppier than they are on PC, but a patch or two could help improve these small performance issues.
Of course, we are well aware that any Switch port will never perform as well as its more powerful rival consoles. We have come to accept frame rate issues and less-than-perfect graphics on Switch. The draw for Switch has always been the option to play in handheld mode and take your console on the go, and with the arrival of the Steam Deck, this draw is arguably less alluring than ever before. But we love playing indies on Switch, even with the minor problems that plague Switch ports, and Cult of the Lamb is no exception. And despite the Steam Deck’s portability, it is so much heavier and bulkier than the Switch, so we still feel the Switch is a superior portable console for those who want to play on the go.
If you’re a fan of action-adventure, survival sims, dungeon crawlers, or roguelikes, this mashup is sure to please. Some players may be adverse to the game’s darker elements, but the cute graphics and silly humor help lighten things up. This is a well-designed game with a little something for everyone. It’s already loaded with content and talks of DLC are in the works, so there’s plenty of content to enjoy. We love to see the solid and innovative titles from developers that Devolver Digital is working with, and Cult of the Lamb has exceeded the high expectations we had for their latest offering. Are you ready for your indoctrination?
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Massive Monster
Genre – Action, Adventure, Indie, Strategy
Price – $24.99
Size – 836 MB
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.