Best Games Like Age Of Empires

If you enjoy strategy games, then you'll love this list of the best games like Age of Empires to play in 2022!

The Age of Empires strategy games task players with turning a small civilization into a mighty, formidable nation capable of standing toe-to-toe with any army.

While the original AoE explored history throughout the Stone and Iron Ages, later installments have shifted their focus towards the Middle Ages.

In this list of games, we will showcase the top games similar to Age of Empires to enjoy in 2024. These include the finest strategy games like Age of Empires for PC, gaming system, and portable devices.

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First up on our list, we recommend Age of Empires fans check out the dark fantasy survival RTS game Age of Darkness: Final Stand.

In it, players must construct and protect humanity’s final stronghold against an army of malicious creatures while eliminating the battlefield of a lethal mist.

The fog not only conceals enemies but also drains life from the player’s troops, requiring you to strategically place light sources to keep your units safe from harm.

It also features a day/night system that affects gameplay and an extensive skill tree that lets you advance your units and improve their proficiency.

Considering how far back both franchises go, there’s bound to be some overlap between the Age of Empires and Command & Conquer communities.

For those that find joy in both RTS series, we suggest picking up the recent Command & Conquer Remastered Collection released in 2020.

Co-developed by Petroglyph Games and Lemon Sky Studios, it features remasters of the first two entries in the series with completely rebuilt graphics, improved sound, and all previously released expansions.

Longtime fans will no doubt appreciate the amount of detail added to each game, including reworked UI elements, expressive sprite animations, rebuilt multiplayer, a map editor, and more.

Total War: Rome Remastered is another collection that’s sure to sweeten any RTS fan’s library, particularly those fond of military war games like Age of Empires.

Of all the games in the series, this one is credited with setting the tone and standard for Total War going forward by introducing 3D graphics and modding support.

In it, players guide one of the most advanced civilizations through history, creating legions of warriors from 38 distinct playable factions.

With the remastered version, Creative Assembly has refined the game’s graphics and gameplay enough to warrant revisiting one of the best campaigns the franchise has to offer.

While it may draw the bulk of its inspiration from Company of Heroes, Iron Harvest also shares some similarities with the Age of Empires games.

In it, players are tasked with managing squads of units as they try to capture resource points using cover-based tactics and an array of weapons that can be customized and upgraded.

There’s also a bit of base-building mixed in, though that plays second-fiddle in Iron Harvest’s central campaign, which can be played either solo or with a friend.

History buffs might feel at odds with the game’s loose interpretation of WWI-era combat complete with bipedal dieselpunk mechs but stick with it and you’ll be treated to some great RTS storytelling.

Those familiar with Ensemble Studios, the developer behind Age of Empires, will be aware that Halo Wars was their final project before Microsoft closed them down.

And while it may be a huge departure from the historically-inspired series they’re known for, Halo Wars is a fantastic adaptation of the sci-fi property with respect to the RTS genre.

It’s admittingly not as mechanically rich as Age of Empires, focusing more on storytelling and Halo’s extensive in-universe technology but manages to skirt by on the strength of its combat.

We suggest Age of Empires fans pick up the Definitive Edition, which bundles together all previously released DLCs with updated graphics, online multiplayer, and achievements.

Northgard is a Viking-themed RTS city-builder hybrid that sees you managing a clan of villagers as they gather resources, construct homes and workshops, and go through their lives.

Like Age of Empires, a large portion of the game is spent expanding your kingdom’s influence to neighboring territories and looking for opportunities to capitalize when they’re at their weakest.

The campaign is structured around different scenarios with unique starting conditions that will allow you to hone your skills and learn the ins and outs of all six included factions.

It also offers online multiplayer with dedicated servers and ranks to advance through as you grind your way to the top.

From playing as Vikings to defending yourself from Norse invaders, Bad North is a tough-as-nails RTS game with tower defense elements and a low-poly art style.

The game sees you defending your idyllic island kingdoms from hordes of Viking invaders by banding together with other small nations and combining your resources.

Much like Age of Empires, combat revolves around positioning and allocating units in order to counter your enemy’s strategy.

While the game is a procedurally-generated roguelite by default, you can enable a save mode that lets you pick right back up from your previous session.

In Tooth and Tail, players find themselves entrenched in a civil war among fluffy animal factions vying for control.

Assuming the role of general for one of the four factions, you’ll lead your troops into battle with coordinated attacks and retreats as well as scout and build defenses in real-time.

The game includes online competitive play in addition to local split-screen with the ability to save replays.

Despite its pixelated charm, Tooth and Tail has a relatively steep learning curve even compared to RTS games like Age of Empires.

Warpips is another RTS game with pixelated graphics that also throws auto-battler and tower defense elements into the mix.

Inspired by games like Command and Conquer, Nexus Wars, and Age of Empires, it sees you playing out strategic tug-of-war battles where the goal is to get your opponent to retreat entirely.

Instead of actively micromanaging units, players must draft the right squad for the job ahead of time by pulling from a diverse roster of infantry, ground, and air units.

Battles are randomly generated and provide room for deep strategic planning with complimentary unit synergies and absolutely no pay-to-win mechanics.

Our next recommendation to Age of Empires fans is the indie city-builder strategy game Becastled from Mana Potion Studios.

Set in a medieval fantasy world, it sees you building and defending your castle from sieges in a never-ending struggle between light and dark forces.

Players are tasked with training an army from the ground up, gathering and managing resources, and charging into battle as unique enemy formations approach from all sides.

While the game is still in Steam Early Access, the developer plans to extend the campaign and add more units and buildings via future updates.

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak serves as both a reimagining of the series and a direct prequel to the original Homeworld game.

Billed as a ground-based RTS, it sees you assembling a fleet and leading them to victory across an alien desert housing a mysterious secret.

Similar to Age of Empires, the game allows you the freedom to make significant choices regarding managing resources, assembling your fleet, and researching technologies.

What’s more, it features a wide selection of casual and competitive online multiplayer modes, including ranked matchmaking.

Civilization is a series like Age of Empires which has similarities in RTS gameplay and historically-based locations.

The series is littered with noteworthy entries but for the sake of this list, we’re recommending the most recent installment, Civilization 6.

Building upon the foundation of its predecessors, the game makes several refinements to streamline the process for expanding cities, utilizing the new districts mechanic, and restacking combat units.

Similar to Age of Empires, the Civ 6 modding scene is quite active as players continue to churn out new content in the form of maps, civs, and QoL features.

Another callback to the golden era of RTS games, the Cossacks series has played a significant role in paving the way for games like Age of Empires to carry the torch.

To celebrate the franchise’s historic run, we suggest picking up Cossacks 3, a notable entry that transports players to early modern Europe.

Here, you’ll be faced with a compelling mix of base-building and siege attacks at a large scale that demands tactical movement and thoughtful positioning.

While Cossacks 3 does little to shake up the RTS genre, it’s a great Age of Empires alternative that harkens back to a bygone age.

Considering we’ve already highlighted a ton of games inspired by Company of Heroes, why not include the real deal.

Regarded as one of the best classic RTS franchises, the series really started to hit its stride with the release of Company of Heroes 2.

In it, players are dropped onto WWII-era battlefields and must scramble to defend themselves and flank enemies using every tool at their disposal.

Like Age of Empires, the game’s difficulty ramps up considerably when switching over to online multiplayer, as even the slightest mistake can cost you an entire battle.

Crusader Kings is another historic strategy franchise the likes of which is right up there with Total War and Age of Empires.

Furthermore, it’s a great alternative for history buffs that have always dreamt of guiding a dynasty through the Middle Ages.

In Crusader Kings 3, you’re tasked with providing for your people, defending them from invasions, and expanding your empire by any means.

Along the way, you’ll have to squash peasant rebellions, travel and conquer distant lands, and stand your ground against Viking invaders.

If you’re looking for a military war game that plays like Age of Empires, look no further than the realistic WWII strategy title Steel Division 2.

Serving as a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Steel Division, the sequel sees players commanding Soviet forces during the historic Operation Bagration in Bielorussia.

In contrast to more casual RTS games, Steel Division’s combat occurs on a massive scale with sprawling maps and tons of units to keep track of during the heat of battle.

While this can make it seem intimidating to new players, Age of Empires players should have no trouble keeping up.

Next up on our list is Stronghold Crusader 2, another historically-rooted RTS city-builder that maintains the same gameplay structure as its predecessor.

However, unlike the original, Crusader 2 takes place in the Middle East during the Crusades and introduces new Arabian units to command in battle.

Aside from combat, gameplay entails gathering resources by farming on oasis grass and mining for ore.

Doing so allows you to stockpile materials and either sell them for a profit or use them to construct fortifications to defend your people from enemy attacks.

Seeing how pivotal of a role Blizzard has had in shaping the RTS genre, we’d be remiss not to include at least one of its franchises on this list.

So where the original StarCraft holds a special place in the hearts of many, StarCraft 2 perfected the formula by expanding the campaign and adding multiplayer.

In it, players are tasked with establishing and defending galactic outposts from waves of aliens while advancing character-driven story chapters.

The best way to play StarCraft 2 today is via the free-to-play version reissued by Blizzard in 2017.

Ensemble Studios created Age of Mythology as a mythological spin-off to Age of Empires free from any historically-accurate obligations.

Set in the mythical world of Atlantis, the game centers on Greek, Egyptian, and Norse myths, legends, and civilizations come to life.

Similar to Age of Empires, gameplay is focused on building up an army, gathering and managing its resources, and using it to overpower rival civilizations.

We recommend picking up the Extended Edition, which includes the base game and its expansions along with improved visuals and Steam Workshop support.

Last but not least, our final recommendation comes from celebrated game designer Brian Reynolds, best known for his work on Civilization 2 and Alpha Centauri.

Leveraging his experience with both series while occupying a similar space as Age of Empires, Rise of Nations is a historically-rich RTS where players control one of 18 civilizations across 8 ages.

Each civilization features its own distinct units and traits detached from reality, allowing you to focus on the key objectives of expanding territories, advancing technology, and conquering enemies.

Similar to Age of Mythology, Rise of Nations is most enjoyable through the Extended Edition’s improved visuals, included Thrones and Patriots expansions, and complete Steamworks integration.

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Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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