Honey, I joined a cult, developed by Sole Survivor Games and published by Team17, is a funny Cult theme park building that goes stale fast. It runs on Linux with Proton and the flag PROTON_USE_WINED3D=1, but not without issues.
In this game, you develop your cult compound. Gather followers and find ways to extract more money from them with the most varied hoaxes, while joking about real life cults and pop culture.
When you start you can decide between the preset cults, something akin to real life, they range from religions to cult of personality. They have no effect on gameplay, only cosmetics, like the names and visuals of your cult. So, I decided to worship Pengulo*, my cult had a penguin idol and red fedoras on our flags.
The game art is reminiscent of Prison Architect, so it is most of the interaction. But in this game it felt more like I was developing a theme park, or a theme hospital. Using money, you build attractions, the hoaxes, where followers come in every day to spend Money and increase your Influence. You unlock more stuff, add more stuff, rinse and repeat.
|Element||Description (spoiler free)|
|Objectives||Grow your cult stronger|
|Challenges||Keep your followers and employees happy, so they don’t leave|
|Mechanics||Base building, Staff management|
All while managing your resources. Money, faith, influence, PR, heat, number of followers, number of employees/members/cultist, I am not sure what to call them, as I named them Tuxii.
The cult leader is mostly a freeloader, eating, shitting and sleeping, not doing much except for giving a sermon every day to your employees at 19:00, that rewards you with Faith. The employees are also paid in faith, how convenient. The leader becomes slightly less useless when you unlock Divine Inspiration that allows you to select a path of salvation, and your leader to improve some aspects of your cult.
You unlock features by researching, the tech tree looks similar to Civilization games, but unlike there, there is no benefit in focusing on something specific, you depend on technologies of other branches as some improve the life in the compound and others offer better ways to steal from followers.
The PR and heat are managed through missions you can send your employees outside your compound. You don’t see it happening, but sometimes it triggers some dialog boxes where you select a few things like a clown in the sewage is offering balloons, or you need to escape a labyrinth.
PR defines the quality of people trying to join your cult as followers, the quality means that they have more room for improvements and reach higher stats. The stats are used to define how well they perform their tasks around the compound, and the results of the missions.
You have a cap on the number of followers and on the number of employees. For a person to join your cult as a follower, you need to make room for them. The same goes for converting them into employees.
Some activities generate heat, as it increases you can have protesters in front of your base or police raids. Protests are manageable, as you just need to send people to talk to them. Raids not so much, they arrest the employees and confiscate items. You reduce heat by going on related missions.
As followers spend the time in your cult, so is the likeness of you being able to recruit them to be your employee. Then, they will live in your compound, and perform the various tasks inside, cleaning, fixing stuff, recruiting new followers, going on missions, or just performing hoaxes. You try to keep your employees happy and healthy with facilities, sermons or using your leader charm on them at the cost of Influence.
Lastly, random events such as people cutting their mouth while using the bathroom, or a bunch of Garys will run naked. Those random events are announced by newspaper, where it contains a brief story about it, the effects and how long the event will last.
On paper, it sounds fun, but the novelty wears off, and it gets boring fast. The only major change that happens is after 2 hours in, and even after that it gets stale soon. To gather more about the game, just in case I was missing something, I turned on the fast-forward and noticed it worked well as an idle game, so I used the time to catch up with my reading.
|+ Positives||- Negatives|
|Runs on Linux with PROTON_USE_WINED3D=1||Weirdly, would take only one screenshot per game session|
|Lots of accessibility features||Long loading|
I had to use PROTON_USE_WINED3D=1 because there was some problem with DXVK. I experience one major problem while playing, the game would freeze for when I tried to edit a room, and every time I used the filter to find the items. For that reason, I did the bare minimum in the rooms without spending too much time tidying it up.
Honey, I joined a cult is available on Steam, and gets out of early access on November 03.
Thank you for reading and be excellent to each other.
*Before publishing this, I checked if Pengulo means anything in any language, just to avoid anything terrible, in my mind was a nice word for a big penguin, but it means “a government appointed leader” in Kelabit.