Here are the games like Age of Empires to play if you’re looking for a new challenge. Relic Entertainment released Age of Empires 4 in October 2021, and so it’s no surprise that you might be looking for a new real-time strategy game to sink your teeth into. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Not only will you find some of the best strategy games that you can play today on our pick of the best games like Age of Empires, but some surprise choices across platforms that aren’t PC – an Age of Empires 4 Xbox Series X release is rumored, but we’re still yet to see that materialize, and we know you console players out there are eager for some RTS good times.
So whether you want to get neck deep in resource management or just want to whittle away your evenings by planning military exercises, there’s something for everyone on our list of the best games like Age of Empires.
Developer: Shiro Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Vikings are hot right now, unless you’ve failed to prepare for winter in which case they’re all going to freeze to death. This indie game has you controlling your own clan as they build a settlement, finding success and renown through trade, conquest, and lore. Unlike your usual historical sims, Northgard isn’t afraid to lean into Norse mythology, with the gods playing an important role and undead warriors wandering the woods. Just keep an eye on the weather report, as a harsh winter is just as likely to end your saga as a band of marauders.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
A classic series for a reason, the real-time strategy icon combines a touch of history with a flair for the outlandish and FMV performances from Tim Curry and George Takei. The plot is a madness of time travel and there are three factions to play as, the Allies, the Soviet Union, and the Empire of the Rising Sun. Forget historical accuracy, the weapons you get to play with as you build bases and launch attacks include psionic schoolgirls, armored war bears, Vacuum Imploders, Proton Colliders, and nanoparticle shields. If only history lessons had been more like this.
Dawn of Man
Developer: Madruga Works
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
If your favorite part of Age of Empires is advancing your civilization through the different periods of humanity, Dawn of Man will give you plenty to do. You need to get your people from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, hunting mammoths, cave lions, and wooly rhinos and fighting off raiders. Keeping an eye on the seasons is key, as your technology tree is still a few years off adding radiators, so you’ll need food in your stores and clothes to stop your little people from turning into pink popsicles. Do well and you can construct Stonehenge style structures, do poorly and you’ll be singlehandedly dooming humanity. Fun!
Tooth and Tail
Developer: Pocketwatch Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
It’s a civil war, but a much fluffier version than we’re used to. Taking the role of a general in one of four factions – the Longcoats, Commonfolk, KSR and Civilized – you direct the action on the battlefield, attacks, and retreats, scouting and building, all at a crazy pace. Despite the illustrations – which will bring back memories of those weird, dark 1980’s cartoons – this game has a tough learning curve and will deliver a challenge to even the most battle-hardened RTS player.
Developer: 11 bit studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X
If you like your strategy games to be bleaker than an episode of HBO’s Chernobyl, Frostpunk has you covered. The world is now a frozen, harsh place, and as the ruler of its last surviving city, you must keep your residents alive and happy. That means building facilities and homes, looking after resources, and managing power (ensuring the city stays warm enough to support life is a constant battle) but also dealing with moral dilemmas. How will you deal with lawbreakers? Will you try to encourage people to follow religion to keep them content and docile? None of the choices are easy or obvious, and it’s worryingly easy to go from benevolent ruler to child labor tyrant when things get tough.
Surviving the Aftermath
Developer: Iceflake Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
Like in Age of Empires you’re building a colony, but the catch here is that you’re doing it in a post-apocalyptic world. That means as well as the usual management of food and power and housing for your people, you need to worry about pollution (that can cause radiation sickness), bandits, and what to do with other survivors that come looking for aid. To really thrive, you’ll also need to send some of your camp specialists out beyond your colony to scavenge for rare resources and increase your scientific knowledge, which lets you build more back at base. The game is still in Early Access and receiving regular updates, but it still has plenty to hook you right now.
Developer: Plausible Concept / Oskar Stålberg
Platforms: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One
If you like the tactical battles of Age of Empires but are less worried about telling people to collect berries or chop down trees, Bad North strips all the survival stuff away to deliver an addictive and brutal bit of real-time strategy. You have to defend your island from Viking invaders, who can land on any coast on your island and cause utter chaos. They come in waves, and success comes from managing your small units of soldiers and using the geography of your island to your defenders. It’s a tough game, but it helps that it looks like it fell out of a toybox so at least you’ll enjoy looking at it while you fail.
Developer: Colossal Order Ltd
Platforms: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One
Maybe you couldn’t give a monkey’s about the people in Age of Empires, you just like building sprawling towns. In that case, Cities: Skylines has you covered. Spend hours building a stunning city and then realize your traffic infrastructure is broken, no one has power, and that you really should have invested more heavily in your fire service. You’ll need to consider your economy and people’s needs, and you can even zone different districts. The game got rave reviews on release and since then has only expanded with add-ons and mod support, making it a must-play for anyone who likes to balance a lust for power with a healthy respect for how sewage systems work.
Developer: Limbic Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One
City building with a political edge, Tropico 6 puts you in the role of El Presidente, and leaves it up to you to be a ruthless dictator or a kind and cuddly statesman. As well as the usual building and resource management you can also decide to send your people out on heists to steal trophies like the Statue of Liberty, form alliances with revolutionaries and give inspiring political speeches. It’s a very tongue in cheek look at the challenges of ruling a nation, but one that comes with some seriously tricky campaign missions and a sandbox mode that you can lose days in. And if you’re playing PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’ll be happy to know that an upgrade version is set to release in March 2022.
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
It would be a crime to make this list and not include Starcraft 2, a game so addictive it’s still killing it as an esport. Sending real-time strategy into space, there are the humans (Terrans), and the Protoss and Zerg, alien species with suitably otherworldly powers. The game has a cracking single-player campaign, but its longevity is the result of brilliant balancing and map editor options that just keeps delivering tense and enjoyable matches 12 years since the game was originally released.
If these 10 great games like Age of Empires don’t grab your attention, you may want to check out this list of all the new PC games coming in 2022 and beyond.