When the American publisher Devolver gets involved in a project, we know that there is always something fishy. In this case, with Worship of the Lamb from Australian studio Massive Monster, there’s lamb under church. The ovine in question, saved on the edge of death by a disturbing deity, agrees to become his apostle in exchange for his own life. He then finds himself in charge of founding an occult community that will sing his praises all day long in the middle of the forest. What was not written on the contract, however, is that managing such a cult requires real stewardship.
Because once the first followers have been recruited and a brand new sacred statue installed in the center of the camp, trouble begins. We have to organize prayer, say the daily sermon, make sure that everyone has their own bed, take care of meals and even clean up the excrement of our flocks, otherwise they will fall ill. Constant micromanagement that tests your faith.
Especially since the resources needed to feed and house this beautiful world do not appear by a miracle. There will be a few stones and other trees to exploit on site, but it is in the dungeons that our charismatic lamb will have to dig up gold, materials, plans and new followers. It is thus a second part of the game that is revealed: after the management, the action.
Devotees not sorry
Behind his cute finery and his deceptively innocent smile, our guru shows himself to be perfectly capable of wielding the sword, the ax or the dagger in order to slay any miscreant who stands in his way.
The level structure will not lose the regulars of titles like The Binding of Isaac, with rooms arranged in small, simple mazes that rearrange with each exploration. Worship of the Lamb also shares a strikingly similar health system, represented by hearts of different colors and with varying effects.
If, at the beginning, the fights prove to be rhythmic – the animal responds to the finger and the eye when it is necessary to roll or cast spells –, they unfortunately become rough and boring over the course of the adventure. Indeed, the camera in three-quarter view as well as the false 3D that the game uses tend to make the action difficult to read, especially in the foreground. Nothing unacceptable, however, especially since the default difficulty is lenient.
There where Worship of the Lamb demonstrates brilliant demonism is that your camp continues to evolve in real time while you are away. We then quickly realize that no monster proves to be as terrifying as a notification informing you that your devotees are starving or worse, that one of them has passed the weapon to the left. Ideal for putting pressure on yourself to finish off with your quest (even if it means making silly mistakes in a hurry) and urgently going home to manage day-to-day business: repairing tents, cooking and picking up droppings.
In the name of the father and the sacrifice
Fortunately, and despite the mental load intrinsic to commanding this army of followers, the adventure does not remain hampered indefinitely. By dint of prayers and good words, the various progress bars representing the fervor of the cult fill up, the boss’s arsenal expands, new rituals with various costs and effects appear in your repertoire. Gradually unlocked skill trees later allow the construction of toilets, farms and other cleaning stations so that this spiritual offspring can gradually take responsibility. This allows you to go on a crusade with a little more peace of mind.
At the instigation of a animal crossing corrupted, over time, we become attached to these brave beasts. Especially since the artistic direction, at the crossroads of don’t starve and Happy tree friendsturns out to be particularly adorable and adapted to the half-cute, half-macabre subject of the title. To the point that we even feel a little pang in the heart when the inevitable moment comes to literally sacrifice them, with or without their consent, on the altar of sacrosanct progression.
The pixel grandfather
- the very clean artistic direction, very cute and perfectly at odds with the dismal subject;
- the management that puts pressure on exploration;
- the fights that we find dynamic at the beginning.
We liked less:
- the fights that we find rough at the end;
- lack of variety in environments;
- Repetitive tasks: cleaning, harvesting, fishing, again and again.
It’s more for you if:
- you have your BAFA and can manage a group of somewhat idiotic individuals unable to take care of themselves;
- you like The Binding of Isaac and don’t starve.
It’s not for you if:
- you don’t like camping;
- you don’t like to see animals suffer (even when they like it).
Note about pixels:
666 (out of 888)