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Former Command and Conquer devs have a new RTS game, out now on Steam

9 Bit Armies launches on Steam, as the new strategy game from former Command and Conquer devs at Petroglyph Games enters early access.

9-Bit Armies launches on Steam - Several red buildings in a base reminiscent of classic Command and Conquer.

Command and Conquer is one of those special RTS games that will live legendary in our minds forever. Ever since the first game in 1995 and C&C Red Alert just one year later, the series has long stood alongside the likes of StarCraft and Age of Empires as the poster children for the best real-time strategy games of all time. Now, a new game is out on Steam that comes from Petroglyph Games, the studio formed by ex-Westwood programmers that would go on to make the excellent Star Wars: Empire at War before partnering with EA to return to the series and develop Command and Conquer Remastered.

This is 9-Bit Armies: A Bit Too Far, the follow-up to Petroglyph Games’ delightful 2016 8-Bit Armies, and a spiritual successor to the Command and Conquer series that its founders worked on. Designed to be “easy to learn, a challenge to master,” its gorgeous voxel design captures that essence of classic C&C in a new-look style, and packs in just about everything you’d want from the best RTS games as it arrives on Steam in early access.

That voxel style gives you plenty of delicious destruction as you build out your land, sea, and air forces as either of its two competing factions and – of course – construct giant megastructures and devastating superweapons (yes, it has its own ion cannon). You’ll be able to make tactical decisions like destroying key bridges to limit enemy movement, and make use of tactical combat across its huge maps, which are four times the size of those found in 8-Bit Armies.

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You can take on its first of two campaigns, pitting you as The Sentinels in the fight against The Guardians (and perhaps another, unknown threat besides), either by yourself or in co-op with a friend. There’s also a daily challenge mode testing you to perform better than everyone else in a preset scenario against the AI, and the option for online skirmishes that can support up to eight players on vast maps.

Petroglyph Games invites everyone to try it out, even if you’re new to the RTS world. 9-Bit Armies is designed to be easy to understand and follow its tech tree, while veteran players can spend time mastering its fast-paced economy and the various unit abilities and strengths in battle. There’s also full mod support through the Steam workshop, allowing players to create everything from their own maps to completely reworked and rebalanced missions.

9-Bit Armies is out now on Steam. To celebrate the launch it’s also on sale for 10% off – expect to pay $17.99/£15.07, down from $19.99/£16.75. Petroglyph Games says it has no exact estimate for the length of its early access period, but explains, “The core game is largely in place, with both factions fully playable and a full campaign to play through. We plan to add more online game features, a second campaign, more weekly challenges, and expect to incorporate suggestions and bug fixes discovered between early access and our full launch.”

If that’s not enough, we’ve got more of the best strategy games on PC, or – if you prefer to take things at a slower pace – the best turn-based strategy games specifically.

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