We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Amazing RTS game from Manor Lords publisher hits 1.0 after seven years

Like a miniature version of Command and Conquer, a stunning RTS game that's spent seven years in early access has finally arrived at 1.0.

Empires of the Undergrowth Steam RTS game: A frog being attacked by ants in Steam RTS game Empires of the Undergrowth

In RTS games like Command and Conquer you’ve got to think of the big picture: grand battlefield strategies enacted by individual units. Well, what if instead you looked at the tiny picture, and your individuals were all connected by a hive mind? That’s what Manor Lords publisher Hooded Horse’s ant strategy game Empires of the Undergrowth offers, and after seven long years in early access, it finally hits version 1.0 today.

If you like A Bug’s Life (and C&C) you’ll love Empires of the Undergrowth, an RTS game where you start with a queen and gradually build up your nest and army of loyal ants. You begin by constructing your nest, clearing out hexagonal spaces to expand your base of operations. Then you have to venture out for food and supplies, creating long trails of ants that can gather as well as fight off would-be invaders and threats.

Just like real-life ants, you give them orders via pheromones, with different smells relaying different commands and attack patterns. Things start small, just you against some annoying insects, but the threats get bigger, leading to raid-like battles against dragonflies and scorpions.

YouTube Thumbnail

There are even lab levels in the single-player campaign that focus on experiments being done to “mysterious Formica ereptor gene-thief ants,” as well as a series of documentary missions that follow the ants in their natural habitat. Completing missions in the documentary earns you resources to spend on your lab ants and lets you evolve them how you like.

After seven years in Steam Early Access, the full 1.0 launch of Empires of the Undergrowth introduces the savannah environment, a new ant, the conclusions to the single-player campaigns, and a new-game-plus mode, as well as some quality-of-life improvements.

If you’ve not already played it in the seven years since it first emerged, you can buy Empires of the Undergrowth for $29.99 / £24.99 over on Steam right here, but we’d recommend holding off until the 1.0 launch later today for a potential discount. Unbelievably, there’s also another ant RTS game called Empire of the Ants which we played at GDC.

If ants aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other strategy games you can try, or some city building games with some bigger structures.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.