Hell’s definitely going to mean different things to different people. For me? It’d probably be an Olive Garden. Sure, that might sound nice, but I’m thinking of an eternal Olive Garden where you can never leave, you can never stop eating the breadsticks and they never bring drinks. Sorry, I’m shuddering over here. Anyway, Hell Architect allows you to put together your own version of Hell where the breadstick supply is really up to you.
In Hell Architect, you’re going to run Hell! It’s a little like that old Lucasarts game Afterlife, only without any of that ridiculous “Heaven” nonsense and with a lot more inspiration from Klei Entertainment’s Oxygen Not Included. Much like Oxygen Not Included, you’re going to be managing some little people who’ll spend a lot of time Suffering. It’s just a little more intentional in this case.
Specifically, that’s Suffering with a capital S. That’s a resource produced by torturing Sinners. As you might imagine, that’s one of the more salient points of running Hell, so a lot of what you do is going to revolve around new ways of tormenting your Sinners. They’ve got their own fears and dislikes that you’ll need to exploit to get the most out of them. Lean into your role as mankind’s tormentor and you’ll find that Hell’s operations run pretty smoothly.
When they’re not getting wrung like sponges to produce delicious Suffering, Sinners are also your workforce, handling menial tasks like mining, cooking, construction and so on, with each Sinner improving at tasks that they do often. Careful management of your sinful squads is key to being a successful Hell Architect. That’s where ensuring that your Sinners are in good health comes in. You’ll need to build several different classes of upgradable buildings to offer food, water, lodgings and so on.
Yes, we’re talking about keeping Sinners in good health. In Hell. At least you’re feeding them poop water and meat from weird flesh-plants, making them sleep in cardboard boxes and things like that.
It makes slightly more sense when you consider that you’ll periodically need to pop them like pinatas for their delicious Essence. You’ll get more Essence from a sane soul than someone who’s already been driven completely bonkers, so it’s in your best interest to keep Hell nice and orderly. When you extract Essence your Sinner is toast, so not only do you want to ensure you’re harvesting the ripest of your infernal crop, you’ll want to make sure you don’t go a little too hard and run out of workers.
You’ve got a few different scenarios as well as a Sandbox mode for your Hell Architect-ing needs. Given how you’ll typically have to reconstruct much of your infrastructure between scenarios, the story might be a better option for patient players – it can be a pain to have to get things running again. That said, if you’d rather just handle torment in your own creative fashion you can go nuts in Sandbox mode.
Hell Architect’s interface and UI are all pretty conducive to running a productive abyss. Let’s be real, though, you’re not playing Hell Architect to worry about micromanagement, you came to torture some Sinners! Naturally, this game delivers in simultaneously adorable and horrifying fashion. There’s plenty of different suffering-extraction implements you can inflict on your workforce, from the classic iron maiden to more elaborate options, so go nuts. Sound-wise, well…there’s plenty of screaming. It’s Hell. I’d certainly hope there’d be screaming.
The idea of a Hell management simulator where you have to look after the needs of your “employees” is admittedly somewhat bizarre. Suspend your disbelief (or belief, I suppose), though, and you’ve got a pretty solid take on the Oxygen Not Included and Rimworld formulas that should appeal to fans of colony sims. The bottom line: you wouldn’t be playing Hell Architect in Hell. You’d be playing something worse. I’m sure we can dig up a copy of Arc of Alchemist or something…