• Kirsten Howarth

Early Access Review: Honey, I Joined A Cult

Reviewed on: PC

Developer: Sole Survivor Games

Publishers: Team17

Available on: PC

FYVG Score: 7/10

Honey, I Joined A Cult is a strategy and management simulation game about setting up your own Illuminati-esque cult.

Released into Early Access on Steam on September 14th 2021, it’s reminiscent of other popular strategy simulations in the genre (think along the lines of Rollercoaster Tycoon and Prison Architect), but with an added twist of psychopathic ego-boosting from your devoted cult followers. (Muahahaha!)

Cult of Personality

This kooky game starts out with a total disaster - your original cult, the octopus-hat-wearing Cult of the Spacefish gets raided by the feds! Thankfully, you’re the only remaining member to escape jail, and it’s now up to you to rebuild a brand new cult to recruit new slaves- err, followers.

Your new cult is fully customisable, allowing you to not only completely change your character’s appearance, but also your cult’s name, the Divine Being you worship, cultist symbols, uniforms, and even how your cultists refer to themselves.

Since my main character’s randomly generated name came up as Steven Cream, we unfortunately had to call my poor cultist followers the Creamers. (One Steam review I came across created a cult revolving entirely around Lord Farquaad from Shrek. That person wins the internet.)

Join The Cult-ure Club

Ultimately, your goal in this game is to run the best cult, recruit the most cultist followers, and earn the most bucks to stay afloat, all while keeping the ‘heat’ off you from cops, reporters, and even (gulp) other cults.

Micromanagement is the main way to do this - control everything from the layout of your cult’s encampment, the everyday tasks and additional quests your followers must undertake each day, as well as the all-important task of recruiting more and more cultists at every turn.

Upgrade your Research skills to unlock new perks, such as a PR team to keep the press off your back, or extra mechanics to make your cult management easier. Who knew that controlling people every minute of the day could be such hard work?

Cultist Conundrums

As time goes on, and as the cultist follower count starts stacking up, anyone who’s played a similar resource management game knows exactly what comes next - crunch time.

Staying on top of cult activities, skills, resources, buildings, extra questlines to earn more money, all while gently persuading the newbies to worship your strange Divine Being… It’s the weight of the world on your cultist leader’s evil little shoulders!

Personally, I found it quite straightforward to get through the HIJAC tutorial level. For anyone who’s trying out the management sim genre for the first time, though, this kind of information dump right at the beginning of a game might be quite off-putting and more than a little intimidating.

There’s so much to do even from the get-go, with a choice of building materials, overall aesthetic choices, and skills in the ability tree that it can be hard to know which way to turn first.

That said, the replayability factor is pretty high on this one, so once you’ve worked out a routine and gameplay style that works for you, you’ll be flying in no time. (Not literally, unless you chose a winged demon as your Divine Being, that is…!)

Cult Heaven or Cult Hell?

While there are still some niggles to iron out (which I can see the developers creating patches for as I write this review!), there’s still plenty to enjoy about this tongue-in-cheek game. You can tell that the development team-of-two care a great deal about this game, and not just by the quick-fix patches and Q&As they’ve been holding since launch into Early Access.

The humour is on point, the mechanics are generally quite easy to use and understand quickly, and for anybody looking for the perfect itch to scratch after playing the likes of Two Point Hospital, this is definitely one for you.

Fair warning that it does take some getting used to, particularly when you’re first starting out in the info-dump that is the tutorial, but it’s more enjoyable once you get into the swing of things. It’s still a great game that I’d strongly recommend if you don’t mind sinking hours into it!

Honey, I Joined A Cult is now available through Early Access on Steam. Get it today in the Steam Store.