Honey I Joined A Cult - The Path To Enlightenment
“You are all such beautiful people, every one of you. There I was, a man with the world in my hands until it was all stolen by those nasty, untruthful people.They don’t know how smart I am and how they are working for the forces of evil. Those poor, poor people. But we cannot help them if they don’t accept the TRUTH. My Grandfather was a great, great man. Almost as smart as me but not quite as handsome. He knew this world needed a leader that would be a genius, tough, loving and handsome. He knew the world would need me to step into this great and magnificent role. Now he passes the word from beyond, where everyone thinks I am doing an exceptional job by the way. The best religious leader that’s ever been born they say. Some of them say I’m better than even Jesus. Hey, not my words, just repeating what others are saying, but I’m sure you all agree don’t you because you are all very smart people.”
Excerpt from Tucker Flump daily sermon, 2022
If you ever wanted to know what it was like to run a cult without having to worry about being raided by law enforcement, or the moral quandaries of fleecing unwitting sheep of every dollar they are willing to spend, then Honey I Joined A Cult from Sole Survivor Games is the sim-management game for you. Starting with nothing but a few devoted cultists and an enigmatic figurehead, your job as the leaders’ number two is to grow and expand the cult, enticing unwitting followers to hand over their cash for your health and spiritual treatments, allowing you to add even more treatments and continue to expand your cult’s influence.
Starting the game, you have plenty of pre-designed cults to choose from. Pharaohs, Krakens, Dinosaur men and others are all available and you can edit certain aspects to be able to make it really feel like your own personal cult if you want. You also can create a brand new cult from scratch, though you will be restricted in the clothing and aesthetic choices to the pre-existing options. Whatever way you decide to go, all of the cults play precisely the same way so it just comes down to your personal aesthetic choices. Myself, I couldn’t help but choose the blatant caricature of a certain former American president who in some ways is already the leader of a toxic cult and an expert at grifting off anyone and everyone.
As with any management game, there are several systems you will need to familiarise yourself with if your cult is to be a true success. Followers won’t be spending money if all of your cultists take a lunch break at the same time, and some activities like the distillery only operate at night, so making sure you have your cultists spread their working hours throughout the day allows you to make sure there is coverage and save on the number of beds you will actually need. Thankfully there are pre-set morning, afternoon and night shifts that you can assign with a simple click, making the organisation of staffing so much easier. You can also set priorities for your cultists based on the skill points you have invested, getting the most out of them until you find someone better to replace them.
Finding good quality cultists is hard though. Followers who buy in will eventually be able to be recruited and join your ranks, but to start with you will only have the low-hanging fruit to choose from. As you build up your PR level you will have access to higher quality followers that can be recruited into your ranks but this will mean you will have to dismiss other cultists to make room, generating heat towards the cult. Heat is ever present and always growing, but will be boosted by dismissing cultists and followers or engaging in object acquisition missions. High levels of heat will bring protests from the local population and raids from law enforcement. These can be mitigated with heat reduction missions, but it becomes a delicate balance of building PR to attract quality followers while trying to keep the heat levels as low as possible.
The gameplay loop is fun, but it is a bit of a slow burn. A few times I found myself with the funds to be able to make changes and build new rooms but was restricted by the need to research the new treatments/rooms that would allow expansion. Being able to find better quality followers that can be recruited is very useful but the downside is that you will still get a lot of poorer quality candidates in the mix. You can only have a limited number of followers at one time, and every time you send a follower packing it generates heat for the cult. When you are trying to find these good-quality followers you are forced to frequently balance out the new heat generated with missions. This does take time to do, often leaving you feeling like you are spinning your wheels and unable to grow.
I also found an issue with the object menu that feels like it should have been fixed during the early access period considering how prevalent it is. All of your objects, from room-specific equipment to decor and lighting, are accessed through a drop-down menu. The problem is if I put down a rug and then wanted to switch to the light section, the drop-down menu would not work. Instead, I had to close the objects menu and re-open it before selecting the lights. It is not a major bug by any means but it is an annoyance and something that you would think would have been picked up on way before now. The only other bug-related issue I found was a cultist who would get some negative feelings because they were in a room that had a prestige level of less than seven, despite every room having a prestige level of eight or higher due to a task I had to do for the cult leader. None of these issues is a deal breaker though, more just a mild annoyance.
If you love your management games then you will enjoy the different take on the genre in Honey I joined A Cult. Whether you want to get into the nitty-gritty and micro-manage everything, or just do the basics and let your cultists do what they do best, you will be able to spend many hours building a cult that just might one day take over the world.
Honey, I Joined a Cult was reviewed on PC with code kindly supplied by Team17