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Solium Infernum is unlike any strategy game you’ve ever played

Solium Infernum faces rivals in Total War, Civilization 7, and Ara, but the hellish strategy game is setting itself apart, with a free Steam download inbound.

Solium Infernum Steam Next Fest: A fallen angel with blond hair weeps a single tear in strategy game Solium Infernum

Solium Infernum has a unique twist on basically every strategy sim convention. Where you’d normally focus on construction and building up an army, Solium is about political machinations, double dealing, and bureaucracy. When games like Civilization, Total War, and the upcoming Millennia and Ara History Untold present you myriad decisions, League of Geeks, Solium Infernum’s creator, wants to cut down the number of choices you make, so that every single one is impactful, meaningful, and consequential. With a free Steam download trial coming soon as part of Next Fest, Solium Infernum, where you compete with other demonic archfiends to seize control of Hell, is unlike any of its strategy rivals.

Solium Infernum is a strategy game about manipulation, paranoia, and backstabbing. As you compete with the other archfiends, either in single or multiplayer, you’re presented with dozens of possible strategies beyond raw military might. Each decision has to be ratified in front of Hell’s political elite, better known as the Infernal Conclave. Check out the massive new Solium Infernum gameplay trailer below:

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If you want to draw an opponent into war, insult them in front of their peers, and see if they take the bait. If you want to control and crush them from within, offer yourself as their vassal, appear to do their bidding, then stick a knife in their back once the time is right.

We’ve discussed already why Solium Infernum is the coolest strategy game we’ve seen in years, but now League of Geeks reveals an extended look at its mechanics and gameplay, and outlines the principal ways it differs from rivals like Civilization and Total War. First of all, the bureaucracy. Although military power can prove the key to victory, especially as you play as Astaroth, the underworld’s most feared general, Solium is better played as a game of psychological manipulation.

Feign loyalties, stir controversy, and goad your opponents into fighting one another while you quietly consolidate your tactics. The best example comes from an ability you can choose at the start of each game called ‘Power Behind the Throne.’ With this equipped (no-one else knows you have it), if you successfully ally yourself with another player, if they win the game, actually, you win – help them to victory, then suddenly murder them just as they ascend the throne.

Solium Infernum Steam Next Fest: An angel spreads their wings in strategy game Solium Infernum

League of Geeks calls Solium Infernum a “friendship destruction simulator.” No matter which of the differently styled archfiends you choose, you’re always playing as the villain. This is the second pillar, secrets and betrayal. The more devious and cruel you are, the more likely you are to emerge victorious. This is Hell, after all. If you want to win the game by securing the city of Pandaemonium, it pays to be bad.

Solium Infernum’s creators also want you to “scheme in your sleep,” hence the asynchronous multiplayer. Log in, put in your turn, and wait for the other players to do the same. No-one can see what anyone else is doing, so you’re forced to imagine, doubt, plot, and deliberate all to yourself. It creates a terrific sense of competition and shared paranoia – games of Solium Infernum can go on for weeks, as you incrementally roll out your plans, and try to anticipate what your opponents might do next.

You can read more about Solium Infernum and its unique take on the strategy genre thanks to our exclusive interview at this year’s Gamescom. If it takes your fancy and you’re feeling devilish, there’s good news – a free demo of Solium Infernum will be available as part of Steam Next Fest, from Monday, October 9 to Sunday, October 15. There are a lot of great new grand strategy games on their way, but Solium Infernum is definitely one to watch.

Find out more about Millennia, the new strategy sim from Cities Skylines 2 publisher Paradox. We also have exclusive details on Ara History Untold, which aims to shake up the Civilization formula with a lot more player agency.