Ant colony management game, in a fast-paced real-time strategy style. The player excavates their nest underground, constructing tunnels and chambers to store food and raise brood. On the surface, the ants claim territory, gather resources, overwhelm fearsome arachnids and clash with other colonies.
Recent Reviews:
Very Positive (72) - 93% of the 72 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (1,178) - 91% of the 1,178 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 in Spring 2016 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 better overall game and we want to continue moving forward with help and suggestions from players.

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 as “complete”.

We have now reached a point where we are able to release something far grander than the original demo. However, 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?

“We estimate 18-36 months of further development with community engagement.”

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

“The main difference between the full version and early access versions will be the number of playable missions. New missions will be introduced over the course of Early Access, and these will feature new ant species, enemy creatures and environments.”

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 four stand-alone missions with unique creatures, music and narration as well as a short “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 have no plans to change 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 we released our first demo last year, we have received over 1000 feedback messages that are publicly visible on our Stomt page. 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 more than once. Longer discussions take place on our forum and we always respond to Facebook messages, as well as anywhere else we find players who want to get involved with the game’s development.”
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Recent updates View all (35)

May 23

Update 0.2023 - Fixes and Languages (couple of minor features)

This is mostly a bug fix patch (should be the last before the freeplay update barring game breaking bugs) but also includes the final support for simplified Chinese and a couple of minor features.

As always do let us know if you find any bugs and we will continue to squash them as they come in!

  • Added the final simplified Chinese interface translations
  • Removed the default English setting, allowing those with localised languages to default to their language (German or simplified Chinese)
  • Purchase confirm dialogue now fits better with localised languages
  • Repositioned some victory / defeat widgets to prevent overlap with subtitles
  • Added a couple of missing German translations strings

  • Level setup dialogue no longer disappears off the bottom of the screen in certain languages with certain options
  • Fixed an impenetrable tile visual
  • Modified main menu textures so they do not stream (will appear full resolution when they appear)
  • Graphical overlay now correctly shows the positive upgrade points coming from speed tiles
  • Minor improvement of the positioning of numbers from tile upgrade overlay
  • Food will no longer fall through the formicarium on load, and food lost due to falling should be moved to the surface on load
  • Fixed an issue where the queen could get stuck doing the flinch animation
  • Fixed a crash that could happen when drawing the resource overlay
  • Fixed an issue where ants could get stuck inside formicarium plants and objects if fighting near them
  • Possible fix for floating de-buff issue (please let us know if this is still occurring)
  • Fixed an issue where rainforest creatures could only spawn in freeplay of woodlouse was set to spawn
  • AI effects (such as stun or confuse) now force creatures to drop any other creature they are carrying (fixed praying mantises walking around with creatures in front of them)
  • If carrying a creature but not using an ability, the creature is now dropped
  • Removed food gathering from ants spawned into the formicarium through the post gate level spawner
  • Possible fix for an issue where a tile was unbuild-able on after digging it out
  • Upon finishing challenge 3 the players queen is restored to full health. If somehow a queen has died and the game has saved that queen will be respawned on load in the formicarium
  • All sizes of whip spider capsule sizes reduced a lot (this prevents them spawning on top of objects when dropped into the formicarium but also meant more of them can get into a fight)
  • Fixed a bug with pressing a tab after an overlay button

Improvements / changes
  • Removed crystals from black ant tiles for minor performance boost
  • Added biohazard symbol to tiles affected by refuse tiles in the upgrade overlay along with minus numbers
  • Added in UI icons for tile upgrade, creatures and resources overlays to make it clearer they are available
  • Army ant major frenzy effect now looks like a red glow rather than a cloud
  • Added in an unlocked photo mode accessed through shift + photo mode key (F9 by default) - WARNING: Use of this will allow you to see off the edge of the map, under the floor, ect. We do not plan on changing these areas as they were never meant to be seen so bare this in mind.
  • Tile upgrades overlay has seen a significant performance boost (75% reduction in frame rate drop)
  • Creature info overlay has seen a moderate performance boost
  • Held resources are now loaded held
  • Fez hat now has physics
  • Removed markers from the minimap on the hungry spider level
  • Resources overlay will now not appear in the fog of war in freeplay, additionally some resources cannot be seen through the fog

6 comments Read more

May 10

Update 0.2022 - Fixes / Balances for Leafcutter Update + New Demo Level

Since we launched the update two weeks ago we have received plenty of bug reports and fixed most of them. Additionally we have made a couple of balance changes. We also now have full interface localisation for German, and almost full for Simplified Chinese.

Localisation changes

  • Added in interface localisation for both German and Simplified Chinese (Chinese missing some small areas) languages
  • Most user interface widgets in the game altered to allow more space for text, or made to stretch to text size
  • Corrected a sentence in German translation


  • Added the new demo level "The Crucible" into alpha demo levels (see - "Other Modes")

Changes / Improvements

  • Accept button is now visible but grey when on the reward selection dialogue
  • Tooltip added to the above button whilst disabled
  • The army ant progress bar is greyed out when they can no longer advance to another lane later in the day
  • Thorns have been disabled for projectile users
  • Hotkey for displaying resources has been separated from tile info hotkey (UI elements for these are coming soon) and it now directly affects the option in the options menu rather than being a per-level toggle
  • Scoreboard now mentions the difficulty played after the level name
  • Large praying mantis snatch ability cool-down increased to 8s (up from 6s)
  • Large praying mantis snatch ability healing reduced to 360 (down from 400)
  • Reduced creature spawn difficulty on 3.2 insane by 10%
  • Slightly raised the decal transparency to make them more visible
  • Leafcutter parent node in the tech tree now correctly greys out until the prerequisite is reached
  • Formicarium level select will now scroll to where you are once opened
  • Fixed an issue with the options dialogue and fullscreen / windowed / windowed fullscreen modes
  • Fixed an issue where surface transitions were less visible at night
  • Increased damage of level 3 rapid fire wood ants to 3.5 per hit (up from 3)
  • Increased damage returned by leafcutter "Sharp" upgrade thorns effect to 65% (up from 50%)
  • Added a warning about refuse de-buff to the tiles tooltip


  • Fixed an issue that would cause an infinite loop when deleting major tiles in the formicarium
  • All leafcutter chambers (including speed tiles in leafcutter) now refund leaves when deleted rather than seeds
  • Creatures now drop what they are holding when picked up (fixes the floating leaf praying mantis issue)
  • Fixed an issue that affects the time at the start of missions
  • Army ants no longer gather food if they are heading to attack your queen in 3.2 (fixes the permanent harvesting issue)
  • Fixed an issue where refunding tiles before they are built in leafcutter levels could sometimes award no resources back (and still leave you with waste)
  • Fixed an issue where constantly reloading formicarium 2 would give you free woodworms
  • More of the vine in 3.1 should be harvestable
  • Vines not sitting above a tile grid will now show up as harvestable
  • Fixed an issue where demo levels would always show victory on defeat
  • Fixed a freeplay creature setup issue which could untick all rainforest creatures if all of another type of creature were unticked
  • Upgraded leafcutter tiles will now correctly increase in storage to 20 / 30 / 40 (up from 20 / 20 / 20)
  • Tile upgrades will now always happen once the tile has been marked for upgrade and will no longer not happen if the upgrade points drop during the upgrade
  • Moved an item of foliage in the formicarium so it is no longer overlapping another
  • Removed an invisible food item on 2.1 and replaced it with a dead beach tiger beetle
  • Switch underground keys will no longer work in freeplay
  • Food being processed should no longer show on the minimap or UI overlay
  • Speed tile effects will no longer apply before the tile is built
9 comments Read more
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About This Game

"Your queen has set up home beneath a rotting log. She is fat, and vulnerable. Her first brood will need to move quickly if the colony is to survive. Their priority now is to find food, and there is plenty around; but there are other hungry creatures in the undergrowth. The workers will need to be vigilant."

Empires of the Undergrowth is an ant colony management game, in a fast-paced real-time strategy style. The player excavates their nest underground, constructing tunnels and chambers to store food and raise brood. On the surface, the ants claim territory, gather resources, overwhelm fearsome arachnids and clash with other colonies. Nest design, army size, composition and attack timing are key to securing victory.

Missions are narrated from the perspective of a documentary film maker studying the ants, who offers intelligent insight into the goings-on of the colony and the undergrowth beyond. The primary game mode in early access is Formicarium, where you take ownership of a home colony of unique DNA-harvesting ants as they work to assimilate the desirable traits of their foes. You can upgrade them by playing one-off missions, sometimes with your home colony and sometimes with other ant species.

  • Carve out and construct your underground nest to suit your strategy
  • Engage in fast-paced colony versus colony combat above ground
  • Play as different ant species and explore their unique traits and weaknesses
  • Encounter and overpower dangerous beetles, arachnids and other awesome arthropods
  • Grow your pet formicarium over time by completing missions

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • 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 10.12.6
    • 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
    • OS: Any reasonable new Linux distro (Ubuntu 16.04)
    • 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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