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Sins of the Flesh adds longevity (and sex) to Cult of the Lamb

This is what it looks like when developers listen to the fans.

Engadget

Ask and you shall receive. On January 16, Massive Monster and Devolver Digital released Cult of the Lamb’s much hyped “Sins of the Flesh” update for consoles and PC, bringing, among other things, a form of in-game sex to its cute-but-brutal world of anatomically incorrect animals and false prophets. It’s exactly what some fans have been asking for, and since its announcement, everyone, including Massive Monster, has been leaning into the fun of “the sex update” actually happening. But it turns out calling it the sex update was a major undersell.

Warning: This article contains spoilers from this point forward.

In actuality, there’s so much more to it — just take a look at the patch notes. As much as it is the sex update, “Sins of the Flesh” is also very much the poop update; the fashion update; the personality update; the lore update; the absolute chaos update. It’s Sozo’s second chance at life.

In order to access the bulk of the new content, you’ll need to be pretty deep into the game. The new spiritual currency (Sin) and the experiences that come with it all unlock after you’ve defeated your third Bishop. If you’re at least that far in, the Sin elements will show up after the first sermon or temple activity you conduct once the update has been downloaded. Otherwise, if you’re starting fresh with a new save file, it’ll be a while before you see most of the new material. Except for the poop, that is. There will be poop everywhere from the moment you start gaining followers — in all sorts of colors and, in some cases, in piles as big as a farming station.

“Sins of the Flesh” adds six new styles of poop, each with its own power. And I hate to say it, but I was squealing with excitement as I discovered each new variant. Golden poop, for example, comes with coins when you find it, and if used as fertilizer it can grow coins and gold bars alongside your crops. Rainbow poop will make your plants ready to harvest in an instant, which is really handy if your followers are starving. You’ll get fancy broom upgrades the more you clean up followers’ excrement, making chores more efficient.

All that poop early on was just a sign of the ruckus yet to come. In the double-digit hours I’ve already spent with the new content, havoc has broken loose in my cult again and again.

Two followers fight in Cult of the Lamb
Two followers fight in Cult of the Lamb (Engadget)
A befuddled follower professes their love for the Lamb
A befuddled follower professes their love for the Lamb (Engadget)

My followers, wasted off Brog Brew, keep getting into fights that I have to break up, and sometimes they chase me down to profess their love or heckle me. I watched a certain mushroom-headed eccentric eat one of his acolytes whole after he begged me to bring them into the cult, then had to throw him in prison for dissenting. I’ve hatched outright abominations, the results of letting followers of different species and cosmic classifications hook up in the Mating Tent.

Basically, we’re having a great time sinning, my followers and I. As a new form of currency, Sin can be spent on follower experiences — yes, including sex — and temple decorations. Similar to how Loyalty has always worked, in which each follower has a Loyalty meter, your followers will accumulate Sin by way of rituals and immoral activities, like getting hammered (excuse me, “befuddled”) at the Drinkhouse. There are new, Sin-based doctrines to further shape the cult’s dogma, and rituals that go all-in on your followers’ wickedness.

Perform the Rite of Wrath and your followers will unleash the most adorable mayhem upon the commune, destroying decorations and beating each other up. (Going hand-in-hand with this, your followers can now become injured, and the process of repairing things has become more interactive, using the same mechanics as when you’re cooking a meal.) Engage in the Gluttony of Cannibals ritual and one of your followers will be eaten by the group. If you prefer to sin peacefully, perform the Rite of Lust, and your followers will dance naked around the flower-adorned shrine.

Cult of the Lamb Rite of Lust
Cult of the Lamb Rite of Lust (Engadget)

In some scenarios, you’ll need to designate specific followers to receive Sin — but be careful not to go overboard. Once a follower has taken on too much Sin, they’ll become damned and will leave the cult.

These characters aren’t necessarily gone forever, which is good news if you, like me, piled Sin onto your favorite follower (Webber <3) only to be sent into a spiraling panic when they’ve been damned. You’ll run into them again during crusades, and once you’ve killed them three times you’ll be able to bring them back with the resurrection ritual. Dissenters, too, now appear as fightable enemies in the dungeons, which I’ve enjoyed if only for the primal satisfaction of taking revenge on them for stealing from the cult and bouncing.

Multiple new structures tie directly in with the arrival of Sin. At the aforementioned Drinkhouse, your followers can consume beverages including Brog Brew, Juniper Drink, Grape Nectar, Eggnog and, I’m sorry to say, Poop Juice. The resources needed for beverage brewing, like hops and grapes, can be found during crusades or purchased as seeds from Rakshasa.

Webber becomes damned after receiving too much Sin
Webber becomes damned after receiving too much Sin (Engadget)

You can build a drum circle, where you’ll play a Guitar Hero-style rhythm game to generate Sin in the follower of your choice. It’s a very short, very basic mini-game that does a fine job of bringing a bit of variation into the day-to-day cult gameplay without feeling completely out of place. If you’re looking for a ‘Get Sin fast!’ sort of solution, it comes in clutch. It functions like a ritual, though, meaning there’s a cooldown period after you play.

And of course, there’s the star of The Sex Update: the Mating Tent. Now, not every character can partake in the activities that go down at the mating tent, and those who can have all been given the agency to reject a mating opportunity if they’re not into it. Sorry, The Lamb (aka you, the player), cannot mate with followers, nor can relatives — like the Bishops — mate with each other. Once you’ve chosen a compatible pair, you can pick traits from each follower to be carried over to their offspring. Then, they’ll seal the deal with a big smooch and into the tent they go.

That’s as explicit as it gets; Cult of the Lamb is no less wholesome with the introduction of sex. When the mating is over, your followers will come out exhausted and present you with an egg. It’s then up to you to make a choice: either crack that egg and feed it to one of your followers, or tend to the egg daily at the Hatchery, a structure that’s unlocked at the same time as the Mating Tent. If you go the cannibalism route, a yolk meal can be used as a youth elixir to give an elderly follower more time among the living. Or, you can make Eggnog. If you decide to hatch the egg instead, you’ll have to nurture the child until it reaches adulthood. As a Tamagotchi addict, I love this.

Cult of the lamb mating tent
Cult of the lamb mating tent (Massive Monster/Devolver Digital)

With the update, you’ll also be able to unlock the Tailor building, and during your crusades you’ll find cotton to use for garment-making and meet the silkworm NPC, Berith, who will have the blueprints for clothes. This will allow you to craft new outfits for your followers. That includes a French maid outfit, which appears after you’ve earned it by cleaning up a ton of poop, and a bunch of different robes and tunics. It’s great to have a way to customize your followers’ appearances and, by consequence, the overall aesthetic of the cult a little more. You unfortunately can’t deck out your entire cult in French maid outfits, though — unlike other clothing items, it can only be worn by one follower at a time.

Tidbits of lore are now scattered throughout the dungeons, and you’ll have a new weapon — the Blunderbuss — to fight with. I’ll admit the Blunderbuss isn’t my favorite, but weapon choice is really personal and there are probably some who love it. It’s capable of rapid firing to some degree, but just know you’ll have to take reloading time into account.

There are a few new follower forms, including snake, worm and a shaggy dog. That last form was made in honor of the Art Director’s deceased pet, which breaks my heart and warms it simultaneously. Additional follower traits have added a little more depth to the cult members themselves, too; it turns out some of my followers are absolute cowards. And, for anyone who was gutted to find Sozo dead after building the mushroom shrine, rejoice — he’s back with an extended questline. You just need to visit the Spore Grotto to pick up his mushroom hat so you can plant it back at the cult and resurrect him. But don’t trust him for one second.

Sozo's mushroom hat grows in a farm plot with the Lamb standing next to it
Sozo's mushroom hat grows in a farm plot with the Lamb standing next to it (Engadget)
Sozo, wearing a French maid outfit, cowers in fear of the Lamb
Sozo, wearing a French maid outfit, cowers in fear of the Lamb (Engadget)

If you’ve played all the way through Cult of the Lamb and have long since earned every achievement, “Sins of the Flesh” injects a welcome amount of freshness into the year-and-a-half-old game. It doesn’t expand the map in any significant way to give you more room for your cult, which may be a disappointment to some whose home bases have become overcrowded, and a new cap that prevents followers from exceeding level 10 will be a blow to players who have been trying to push Narinder to extreme levels of devotion.

But the promise of new discoveries and achievements for completionists to work toward gives you more incentive to keep venturing back into the dungeons. The cult life feels more dynamic now, requiring the player to engage a bit more with the home environment, and in turn letting you deepen your connection to your followers by providing more ways for you to keep up with their care.

Honestly, it’s hard to believe it’s all free. Kudos to the team for that. Alongside the update, the developers have also released some cosmetic DLC in the $7 Sinful Pack, which adds a few more decorations and follower forms — aptly including a Sphynx cat, a nude icon.