Command swarms of warriors at an unprecedented scale of warfare in this blend of RTS and base-building. Lead ant colonies against the many fearsome threats of the insect world, while building intricate nests, developing pheromone-based tactics, and evolving to meet growing dangers.
Recent Reviews:
Very Positive (137) - 94% of the 137 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (8,721) - 94% of the 8,721 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Dec 1, 2017

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Since releasing our first demo we have received mountains of feedback from the community, which has been constantly shaping the game’s core mechanics and features. We feel this has ultimately resulted in a much better game and we want to continue moving forward with help and suggestions from players, and this has worked so well we're likely to continue that even after early access!

A side effect of this iterative community focused development, is that whilst we have been putting more time into tweaking the game’s inner workings to create the ideal mix of ant colony realism and compelling gameplay, it has put us behind schedule in terms of producing a final product that we can label complete.

While we are confident about the state of the game’s mechanics, and the amount of playable content currently available, there are additional game modes, creatures and abilities that we are still working on. All of these will need balancing, and that process works best with player input.

It seems to make little sense holding back the game’s release for months of development whilst we work on additional levels and features. We would much rather continue our work in the same manner as we have done for the past year: with the help of our enthusiastic ant-loving community.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“As of early 2023, we estimate a further 6-18 months of development to reach our version 1.0. However this can change as game development is by its nature an unpredictable process.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The early access version includes six (soon eight) stand-alone missions with unique creatures, music and narration as well as a “formicarium” story mode which has three (soon four) devious missions to test your colony. This content is considered to be complete and unlikely to be changed significantly between now and final release (except for bug fixes, performance updates etc). Therefore the experience should be similar to the final product. Over the course of early access, we plan to introduce new content as blocks of complete missions, ready to play. We are also releasing periodic extra missions that are not part of the main story campaign.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“We have re-structured some parts of the game specifically for early access. The early access version includes stand-alone missions with unique creatures, music and narration as well as a “formicarium” story mode. This content is considered to be complete and unlikely to be added to between now and final release (except for potential bug fixes, performance updates etc). Therefore the experience should be similar to the final product. Over the course of early access, we plan to introduce new content as blocks of complete missions, ready to play.

Bugs are also an inevitable possibility (the software kind), however we are beta testing separately and will make every effort to resolve issues before pushing early access updates.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“We may raise the price when we leave early access”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We try to facilitate community feedback and engagement wherever possible. Since the early days of the project, we have received thousands of feedback messages through our forums, social media and Discord server. We read all of these and they have significantly shaped the evolution of the game - especially when we start to see the same point raised by multiple people. We have a dedicated community manager who is very involved with the community that has sprung up around Empires of the Undergrowth.”
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About This Game

Forge your empire in the world of ants, building extensive nests and managing an intricate hierarchy in a way that puts the real-time strategy genre under the microscope. Control a variety of warrior ant species in intense battles, command your workers to build and supply an ever-expanding base, and protect your queen at all costs while navigating the unique threats and opportunities of the insect world.

Hundreds of warriors clash in a melee of gnashing mandibles as formic acid artillery fires overhead. Nightfall has come and the last of the workers are rushing back underground, dodging beetles to deliver food to the nest. The stockpile is empty, and without more, reinforcements will not hatch for the ongoing war between the duelling Empires of the Undergrowth.

  • Starting from a central room hosting your queen, order your workers to develop and optimise your nest – a vast network of store rooms, nurseries, and hallways. Dig through a hex-based maze of soil and bedrock, seeking food and fending off other underground dwellers.
  • Push beyond the confines of your nest to see what the world above has to offer – with seeds, nectar, fungus, other insects, and even amphibians on the menu, there's plenty to choose from, but each food source comes with its own strategic tradeoffs and challenges. Will you venture forth and fight off the ladybugs that eat and deplete your source of renewable honeydew drops, or do the surrounding nocturnal creatures present too much of a risk for your fledgling colony? Each decision you make has a ripple effect that can doom your colony if you aren’t quick to react to evolving circumstances.
  • Manage a multitude of species with different attack patterns, natural weapons, and evolutionary paths to tackle the particular dangers of your current biome. Nighttime sorties are at times essential as you look to secure food supplies, though unsuspecting ants might fall prey to the dangers that lurk after sundown. Come morning, you’ll find yourself competing with other ant colonies instead, entering enemy nests to attack their queens while defending your own. Prepare to operate and coordinate simultaneous war efforts across multiple underground and overground maps as your threats and opportunities change with each passing moment – there’s no single path to domination.

Workers scurry in from the surface. Few have returned, but they carry valuable sources of food that will help reinforce the front as a new wave of warriors pour forth from the nurseries, eagerly following the scent of pheromones that tell them where to go and what to do en route. They are the last bastion of the colony, born with a singular purpose – hold the line!

  • Design and organise multiple nurseries and assign them individual pheromone groups, with each pheromone group taking orders through the placement of pheromone markers, adjustable rules of engagement, and context. Learning to navigate the behaviours of your ants, as well as each species’ strengths and weaknesses, is integral to securing success.
  • Each pheromone group can be specialised on the fly, told to exclusively collect food, partake in combat, or do both – the right decision can turn the tide of battle. In desperate times, when the colony is starving and new eggs have stopped hatching as a result, will your warrior caste focus on gathering food at the risk of being picked off by aggressive enemies en route? Or will the soldiers divide into escort groups for your remaining workers, ensuring survivability at the cost of overall efficiency elsewhere? Don’t forget to keep at least some workers at the nest to dig, build, and maintain the placement of eggs, to ensure the survival of your ant economy.
  • Each species of ant presents its own set of strengths and weaknesses on the battlefield. In special game modes where multiple species can be raised in the same colony, your decision to raise and upgrade one or the other will completely change the way you do battle. Trap-jaw ants fight in melee, occasionally leaping back to replenish lost hitpoints. Leafcutter majors fulfil their natural role as protectors by drawing enemy aggression onto themselves to give allied ants an opportunity to flank, regroup, or escape. Wood ants can evolve to fire formic acid as long range artillery or in a more rapid, straight line. Find synergies between the multitude of natural strengths and weaknesses of each species, and prepare to defend against them when warring with rival colonies.
  • Your enemies are equally varied – apart from other ant colonies, you’ll engage in combat against arachnids, amphibians, crustaceans, and a wide variety of insect species. These powerful and often (comparatively) gigantic creatures present a unique threat to an unprepared colony, and only superior tactics can overcome them. An envelopment manoeuvre can circumvent the adult devil’s coach horse beetle's stunning spray, while tactically isolating and overwhelming hermit crabs one by one will bring their demise faster than they can hunker down to heal.

Victory is certain! Reinforcing troops arrive in the nick of time, fearless in the face of the horrifying abomination before them. Today the sadistic scientist has blended hermit crabs with scorpions into a terrifying new threat, but the colony has evolved wisely after experiencing such unnatural foes before. After a protracted battle the fearsome chimaera teeters on the brink of collapse, but a new foe arrives on the battlefield – piercing through the skies above, the hand of some strange being comes down to crush half the reinforcing troops, and from the great beyond the scientist lets forth an evil cackle. The tide has turned once more…

Apart from the classic RTS skirmishes against the AI and unique seasonal challenges, Empires of the Undergrowth also features a narrative-driven campaign mode. Follow the simultaneous progress of a lab experiment centred around the mysterious Formica ereptor gene-thief ants alongside a documentary series that explores the various species of ants in their natural biomes. Earn resources through successful documentary missions to upgrade your persistent lab colony and evolve according to your preferred playstyle as you put your ants through a multitude of brutal tests conducted in the name of ‘science’ – but not all is as it first seems…

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows® 7 64-bit or higher
    • Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-4340 / AMD® FX-6300
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 660 2GB / AMD® Radeon™ HD 7850 2GB
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.14.6
    • Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-4340 / AMD® FX-6300
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 660 2GB / AMD® Radeon™ HD 7850 2GB
    • Storage: 2 GB available space

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