Civilization 6 may be the biggest, most in-depth strategy game around, but like Cities Skylines 2, Crusader Kings 3, and many of its other contemporaries, it’s missing one thing: pure, unbridled, demonic horror. You can conquer nations, raise (and raze) armies, and – if you’re so inclined – cultivate a brutal dictatorship, but where’s the fire and brimstone? Where’s the sulphur? Where’s the gigantic swarm of apocalyptic locusts? If you want to be a real monster, a new strategy and 4X game, which serves as a full remake to an underground PC classic, is soon to hit Steam. Designed to stoke your paranoia, bring out your deviousness, and transform you into a scheming Machiavellian genius, this is Civilization in Hell.
Solium Infernum is one of the most promising new strategy games of 2024. A total remake of the solo-developed cult hit from 2009, it casts you as one of eight archfiends competing for rule of Hell after Lucifer suddenly disappears. Military might is one way to get the job done, as you build and command armies to violently seize territory from rival leaders. But the secret to success in Solium Infernum is psychology.
Whether in the single-player campaign or asynchronous multiplayer (log in, input your move, log out until your opponents have made theirs), you can forge fake alliances, betray your so-called comrades, and stoke diversionary conflicts between your rivals while you plot your route to victory. Solium Infernum’s latest playable archfiend, which PCGamesN is revealing today, embodies the hellish horror more than any other.
Meet Beelzebub – when the other archfiends want to scare their children into eating all their vegetables, they say ‘finish your dinner, or Beelzebub will come and get you.’ A “vile grinning maw consumed by evil hunger, with a ceaseless appetite,” Beelzebub was once one of the most powerful of all celestial beings. Now she’s transformed into a decaying, dreadful fly creature with teeth instead of a chest.
Solium Infernum’s other archfiends, like the intensely vain fallen angel Andromalius, and the fearsome military master Astaroth, seem as they could – on a good day – perhaps be reasoned with. Beelzebub on the other hand represents sheer, unremitting evil. Developer League of Geeks describes her as “the worst of the worst… for players who want to go full dark and horrific.” If you thought putting your Sim in the swimming pool and then deleting the ladder was the height of gaming evil, think again.
Each of the archfiends has their own abilities and stat boosts. In Beelzebub’s case, her fearsome reputation gives her a +1 ‘Command’ rating, allowing you to field an extra military legion to do your marshall bidding. Similarly, when Beelzebub seeks tribute – Solium’s equivalent of gathering resources, whereby you command your hellish minions to fetch you currency and supplies – it arrives faster than it does for any of her rivals. Finally, given she’s essentially a giant, evil fly, when you defeat an enemy army, they are turned into a fleshy mush – as if being dissolved by a digestive enzyme – and processed into tribute.
If you want to know more about Solium Infernum’s unique approach to 4X games, as well as the other archfiends, we have a full preview based on the recent multiplayer demo. The Solium Infernum release date is also, thankfully, not far away at all.