Command and Conquer remains one of the most unique and stylish strategy games ever made. What could be a bland and somber military sim instead celebrates bright colors, inventive and imaginative unit designs, and a wonderfully heightened fictional world. Pair that against Civilization, the sheer scale and ambition of which is almost unmatched in strategy history, and you’ve got something very special. Taking over entire planets. Discovering whole-new worlds. We spend hours poring over our grand tactics and plans. And now, thanks to Cantata, a bold, big, and wonderfully surreal strategy sim just launched on Steam, all our favorite parts of the genre are combined.
Billed as the first ever ‘grand tactics’ game, Cantata takes the large-scale planning and management of grand strategy games and blends it with the seamless, moment-to-moment battles that you’d normally find in an RTS. Similar to C&C, Cantata allows you to lead multiple factions – on a distant and stylishly colored alien world, the robots are rebelling against their human rulers, while the people native to the planet of Shoal itself are also rising up to have their say.
You begin with a tiny number of buildings and units, and slowly develop while trying to manage the growing threat of the opposing factions. Maps are varied and vast, with aggressive wildlife and other traps that can scupper your plans before they even get started. And like any classic strategy game, if you want to dip out of the campaign mode, you have access to the full map editor to build your own matches.
Each campaign – the humans, the robots, and the aliens – has its own distinctive story, and you can also play online and local multiplayer. Cantata has now left Steam Early Access and made its full 1.0 launch. If you want a perfect blend of strategy, grand strategy, and RTS games, combined with a striking aesthetic and great soundtrack, you can get Cantata right here.