Check out the demo for this 4X where killer robots fight eldritch aliens on apocalyptic earth

A  new demo for 4X strategy game Zephon is out this week, encouraging you to chose a path for humanity between eldritch horror and technological subordination as you reclaim an apocalyptic earth in flux. The mission-driven 4X looks pretty promising with interesting choices not just in technology and specialization but in how you choose and execute tactics with your units, heroes, and strategic abilities.

The 50-turn demo for Zephon is pretty neat, if a bit short for those who—like me—enjoy diving headfirst into the long-term strategies of a 4X. The diversity of early units was interesting, with an immediate branch into the humanity, eldrtich, and technological paths for advancement giving meaningful and interesting choices first thing. The promise of a full ten technological tiers is really evident in the few choices you make in just four of them.

Zephon's world is definitely going to be a highlight. It's set after an apocalyptic invasion by aliens worshipping reality-warping gods leads to the awakening of a potent, hyperintelligent AI called Zephon lurking inside our existing technology. Humanity is reduced to a sideshow in the battle for their world, which eventually blows itself out. Now you're in charge of trying to rebuild and find a future for the species before it goes extinct.

Just read this paragraph from the game description, it's great: "Humanity emerges, hesitantly, into ruination. Almost nothing is left of the world as we knew it—settlements, forests, seas, mountains—all have been blasted into unfamiliarity. Horribly mutated animals hunt in packs through deformed woodland. Decrepit military robots stumble unknowingly through the ruins, sensors and logic centres blown. Alien soldiers, once impossibly powerful, cower in the wrecks of their ships, praying to heedless gods for rescue."

Proxy Studios are probably best known as the developers of Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War, a 4X set in that popular sci-fi universe that managed to transcend the limitations of setting and find fans outside the usual 40K bubble. It did that by focusing on the wargame side of things, building interesting tactical battles on the hex layer alongside the city building. Proxy's previous two games were published by Slitherine. Zephon will be self-published by Proxy Studios.

You can find Zephon on Steam, where it released a new demo this week.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.