Work can be Hell, but in Hell Architect, Hell is what you make it!
It’s common to wonder what awaits us on the other side of this life. Is it possible to achieve a blissful nirvana in the afterlife through our actions on earth, or will the weight of our misdeeds leave us suffering endlessly? The idea of spending any amount of time in hell is certainly frightening, but what would it be like to maintain such an awful place? How would a functional system of torture and suffering be organized to accommodate so many sinning souls? In life and in hell, it will take some organized efforts to bring dreams to life, or in this case, cruel nightmares. This is the goal of Hell Architect.
Hell Architect puts players in an obscurely hilarious middle management position in charge of your own lair in hell. This single player 2-D city builder will have you working alongside various demons to build a prospering environment to torture and punish wicked souls. You’ll be responsible for putting sinners to work and torturing them, while providing for some of their basic needs, or harvesting their life essence if you so desire. With the help of your demonic mentor Frank, you’ll learn how to build a circle of hell fit to serve your dark lord.
Gameplay requires you to manage sinners who arrive at your disposal. They can be used to excavate caverns for you to occupy with buildings like torture devices and hideous flesh farms. Dirt, metal, and coal are some of the basic building materials acquired by digging. In other cases, human essence and suffering is required to build more advanced structures and eventually mine more advanced resources like colored crystals and demonic artifacts. Each building has a time cycle to produce its resource, and time can be sped up or paused to assist in decision making.
Sinners are more useful when taken care of, if you call vomit inducing meals and water that’s made from human waste being taken care of. Without maintaining their needs their bodies will wither away and throw sinners into limbo. By murdering the poor souls in better condition, however, the rewards are greater. Keeping sinners in constant agony by being tortured generates suffering, which is another resource used to expand your devilish domain.
There is a bounty of demonic buildings to construct that provide resources or services under your control. There are portals available to bring sinners back from limbo, or summon helpful demons that will increase productivity by speeding up either labor, movement or production cycles. The torture devices used to generate suffering are classified into types like blood, fire, cold, claustrophobia and other severe discomforts. Sinners have a specific weakness to certain types of torture and will generate more suffering if paired correctly.
The comedic writing style and quirky background music sets a mood that’s ready for mischief. The charming cast of demons are brought to life through talented voice over work and are always good for a laugh. The tutorial stages that introduce the mechanics are made entertaining through your demonic supervisor’s sarcasm as you prepare to take on the various scenario stages, meet more characters, and apply yourself to your position in the underworld. Gameplay is also complimented by a soundtrack of instrumental jazz arrangements fit for an unhappy afterlife.
Managing a circle of hell is a lot of work but it’s fun to learn how to do the job. It takes some time to complete the first three tutorial stages but after being introduced to the story and more characters the mechanics become more fun to explore through the campaign scenarios. While legendary sinners and artifacts are better introduced playing through the campaign, there are some basics that aren’t fully covered initially. Knowing when and how to utilize the basic dirt, ladders, and floors to move sinners is key but glossed over by the introduction. The sinners are decent about knowing how to fulfill their basic needs and have a digging range of a few squares, but are prone to idling or possibly torturing themselves to death if left without constant direction, which puts a lot of emphasis on the micro-managing.
Their arrival in hell is based on a timer, but there is no signal or notification for when they arrive, and will sometimes require assistance if they get stuck digging somewhere on the map. The menus and interface function well but sometimes important feedback information is located in places that are a few clicks away from feeling smooth. While this doesn’t distract from the fun, the overall flow feels less intuitive than other strategy/city builder titles as it you take time to familiarize with Hell Architect’s mouse and keyboard setup.
With enough know-how and on the job experience, the side scrolling cartoon levels will eventually become your desired vision of the underworld. The experience of being hired by Lucifer to manage the punishment of sinners is a great time as the building strategies become addictive after getting to know the controls and mechanics at play. The tempting option to continue playing in sandbox mode after each level, allows for deeper exploration of the many buildings and multiple tiers of resources. Sacrificing sinners and causing suffering would be outrageous in day to day life, but in Hell Architect It’s all part of the job.
-Sarcastic sense of humor and storytelling with a dark twist
-Talented voice acting and writing
-Interesting variety of structures and resources to manage
-Menus and interface and puts useful feedback In hard to read places
-Introduction skims over some basics in favor of humor.
4 out of 5
Review code provided by PR. Hell Architect is Out Now!