Our thoughts on building a death cult in Aussie-made Cult of the Lamb, as well as Rollerdrome, Spider-Man Remastered and the xScreen.
From the moment our poor lead became a literal lamb to a slaughter, we knew that Cult of the Lamb was going to be something special. Developed right on our shores by Massive Monster in Melbourne, it’s a game that walks a dangerous line as it balances its dark tone with spurts of humour, but never falters in that quest.
As a lamb sacrificed by four gods, you’re quickly resurrected by ‘The One Who Waits’ with a simple mission: get bloody, bloody revenge. Said mission is largely achieved by going on mini crusades to gain followers, pick up resources and build up your home base. These crusades highlight Cult of the Lamb’s pitch-perfect dungeon-crawling gameplay, as you hack slash and dodge your way through a variety of truly stunning environments. Perish, and you’ll be sent back to your base.
The most surprising element about Cult of the Lamb is how much of a focus is placed on the actual management of your cult. From shovelling poop to deciding whether or not to sacrifice members of your flock, there’s always something to do, but it never felt like busywork. While we perhaps enjoyed the smooth rougelite combat more, we wouldn’t be at all shocked if you fell more in love with the management side.
Home base is also where Massive Monster indulges in some of its laughably twisted sensibilities as members of your flock (which you can uniquely name) make some truly unexpected requests – from requesting meals of poop to pleading you sacrifice other members of the flock.
It’s a style of game that might not be for everybody, but if you like your games with a bit of quirk, Cult of the Lamb is a truly exceptional and highly polished affair. You can sign us up for more.
Cult of the Lamb is out now for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, XBO, PS4, Switch and PC.
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Also out now…
Rollerdrome (PS5, PS4, PC)
Playing like a blend between Tony Hawk and a frantic, bloody arena shooter, Rollerdrome is perhaps one of 2022’s biggest surprise gems that you should absolutely check out.
The premise is a devilishly simple one. It’s the year 2030 and a new bloodsport has become the new hotness. That’s because in Rollerdrome combatants enter a deadly arena and literally skate for their lives against enemy “house players”.
Your goal is to lead new kid on the block, Kara Hassan, to victory, and what a wild ride that adventure quickly becomes. By combing skating and shooting, Rollerdrome smartly uses one mechanic to directly influence another.
Performing tricks, for example, is the only way to get more ammo. Similarly, enemies are smartly positioned, requiring the odd grind or wall ride to nail the perfect shot, and you’ll need to do that while also making use of a slow-mo mechanic and dodging an endless barrage of sniper sights.
With a bevy of systems in place there’s a hell of a lot to keep track of and juggle simultaneously, but it’s to Rollerdome’s credit that it never becomes daunting. Our first few attempts were undeniably messy, but eventually everything just clicked, and before long we were easily nailing 20+ combos and looking damn good doing it.
It also smartly plays around with the idea of challenge. The main game can be wrapped up in only a handful of hours, but each level also contains its own laundry list of objectives that will often force you to think outside the box should you want to dedicate the time to completing them.
Spider-Man Remastered (PC)
Since its original release back in 2018 Spider-Man has been an absolute cash cow for PlayStation. So with the company continuing to make its move into PC gaming, it makes sense that this remastered version has transitioned over as well.
The good news is that it’s made the leap with flying colours, meaning swinging through the streets of New York continues to feel as exhilarating as it always has. What’s more, PC gamers will also be able to enjoy the benefits of the upgrade – namely being able to fine-tune the visual experience to how they see fit.
For those with capable machines it means being able to utilise DLSS or a frame rate as high as 120FPS. Things might not always work perfectly (but future patches should help iron out those kinks) but as a whole it breathes new life into Spidey’s superior antics. Being able to skip tiresome mini-games is also a massive boon.
If you’ve got a powerhouse of a gaming PC, Spider-Man Remastered will shine incredibly brightly. But even if you don’t, it’s a wonderful opportunity for a whole new group of Marvel fans to get hold of one of the best superhero games of all time.
Hands-on with the xScreen
Aside from its killer price, the biggest thing the Xbox Series S has going for it is its size. Incredibly sleek and compact, we’ve thrown the tiny wonder into our backpack for remote gaming sessions multiple times, although having to worry about HDMI cables and a capable television set is a constant pain. Enter the xScreen – a wonderfully nifty foldable screen that should be seen as an invaluable bit of kit for Series S owners.
Connecting to the Series S via a HDMI port and one of the console’s USB slots, it’s impressive just how seamlessly the xScreen just slots itself together. It’s a sleek and simple design that’s held in place via two side clamps (both of which have various colour options should you want to provide a bit of personal flair).
Once everything is nestled together, you’ll be able to enjoy the device’s 11.6″ IPS display. It’s packing a 1080p 60hz resolution, and although some modern features like HDR are missing in action due to the amount of power required, it’s a trade-off we were happy to accept considering how well everything worked during our testing. From tense games of Matchpoint: Tennis Champions, to multiplayer shootouts in Halo Infinite, the screen delivered in spades and didn’t present any input lag that we noticed.
Sure, it’s not going to offer the fidelity of a premium gaming monitor or television, but to expect that is missing the point of what the xScreen is offering here.
When you’re not using the screen, it folds down flush with the system, retaining a super slim profile that’s perfect for space management. It is worth noting though not to keep your Xbox running with the screen closed – such an act runs the risk of damaging the device.
If we had to nit-pick, the xScreen’s one downside is its speakers. We just found the output to be slightly flatter than we’d like, but again that’s understandable for the size of the device and perfectly adequate if you’re crowding around it with a bunch of mates. For any primarily solo experience though, we’d recommend throwing on a pair of headphones.
The biggest issue sounding the xScreen thus far was actually being able to get your hands on one. Thankfully though, that seems to have changed. According to UPspec gaming, the company behind the device, the xScreen’s logistics have been totally redone allowing for 2-3 day delivery for US customers. More importantly for our shores, it also means global shipping that includes all taxes upfront at checkout, which is a very welcome addition.
Whether you can justify spending almost the same amount of money on a portable screen as the console itself is up to you, but if you do pick one up we’d strongly suggest saving a little bit more pocket money and also grabbing the xScreen case while you’re at it. Even though the device remains incredibly portable, the custom-made protector is designed to snuggly fit your Series S and screen, as well as a little extra room for both your cables and a controller. You won’t regret it.
You can order the xScreen for $379 from the UPspec website.
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