The latest game to take on the life strategy simulation is Hell Architect.
As the name suggests, your cast in to the depths of Hell and it’s your job to run the thing somewhat smoothly.
The game has a tutorial, scenario and sandbox mode. The tutorial mode is actually fairly comprehensive, but not in a boring, hand holding way and it was a robust way to learn how to properly play the game. This is refreshing since you’re not always guaranteed that with this style of game.
Next is the scenario mode, which is really the story mode split into various sections. One thing I didn’t expect to do when playing this game was laugh, considering its subject matter. However, after loading up the cutscene for the first scenario, it really cracked me up. This followed on with the ingame dialogue as well. It was funny and to the point and helped to lighten the mood of what is an otherwise pretty hellish (heh) location. As you would expect in scenario mode, you’ve got a list of goals you need to achieve in order to progress.
Sandbox mode is really just a free for all. You’re able to what you want at your own pace and cause as much mayhem as you like.
In Hell Architect, you need to build things. This is achieved by digging up the surrounding environment for metal, dirt and coal. However, some objects also require a certain amount of blood, or suffering for construction to take place. For this, you need to build torture devices to get the right amount of blood and suffering to allow the main construction to continue.
One thing to bear in mind though is that the residents of Hell also need to be looked after. It sounds a bit counter intuitive since you’re in Hell, and it’s sadly something other reviewers have criticised. I feel this is poor to do so. It’s a video, and it’s clear that it’s not an ultra-realistic simulation. It’s a tight cycle between keeping the sinners alive and torturing them. Of course, you’re free to kill them, but then you need to wait for more to arrive (which happens periodically). Thankfully, there is a fast forward button, so you don’t need to wait for a long time before your next resident arrives.
I think it’s a great, balanced system and you do need to put thought into where the sinners are going to go. Added to this is the fact that each sinner that enters your domain has their own skills and abilities. This is a refreshing idea and I’m glad to see they’re not all the same useless idiots. In that respect, it’s not unlike the Sims where each Sim had their own pros and cons.
I also like the fact that there’s more than one difficulty level as well. This will dictate the resources that are available to you, as well as how well your sinners will fare and how long they’ll survive for when they’re deprived of their basic needs.
This does add to the longevity of the game overall and it’s good to go back to the scenarios and try them on more challenging difficulty levels.
One thing I really didn’t like is that you can pick up the sinners, but you can’t drop them to where you want them to go. i.e. an isolated area that hasn’t been mined yet. I can get the developers reason for this, but it’s just a bit annoying that there isn’t a free reign for this.
Graphics and Audio
It’s a fully 2D game, but it’s done really well. The animations in the game are spot on as are the player models.
The cut scenes that are present in the scenarios are really well done. They’re the same quality as a high quality cartoon, so the art department should be applauded for this.
The voice overs are spot on as well. They’ve got a nice touch of humour to them, as well as sassiness which is a welcome thing in a game like this.
The sound effects are really nice, too. They’re satisfying, but they are never gorey, grotesque or otherwise off putting. They fit in extremely well with the game, so between that and the visuals, it really is the whole package. A bit of variety in future updates would be nice with some different sound bites, but it’s nothing to really split hairs on. It would be nice, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Hell Architect is available now on Steam.
- Graphics and Audio
Hell Architect is a fun, engaging management sim which has a lot of humour. It has a lot of life in it, and you’ll be wanting to come back for more and more.
Sandbox mode is great for exploration
It’s annoying you can’t drop a sinner anywhere you want on the map.