Real-time Strategy is probably one of the earliest genres in gaming. Although the term “real-time” was not yet coined by the time it was introduced, there were multiple video and arcade games in the early 80s that emphasized elements that most of the RTS games that we enjoy today. So, what really separates RTS from other genres like RPG (role-playing games) and TBS (turn-based strategy)? Generally, the focus of an RTS game is to encourage the player to manage resources, build bases, and lead armies or troops in real time rather than taking turns.
In RTS games, the action unfolds continuously, and players must make decisions on the fly to achieve their objectives. These games often involve elements such as resource gathering, base construction, unit production, and strategic combat. Interestingly, there is a great and seemingly interminable number of Real-time strategy mobile games on the market today. Popular titles like “Age of Empires” and “Warcraft” dominated the RTS world.
Today, we are listing down 10 of the best RTS games in the app market that you should definitely add to your device. We have selected free-to-play games and excluded the premium ones.
Rise of Empires: Ice and Fire
For a real-time strategy game, the medieval time is an excellent period to explore. These are the times when civilization is just starting to emerge, a perfect way to incorporate RTS’ city or empire building element. Rise of Empires is a game developed and published by Longtech Network Ltd, the same team behind the “Last Shelter”, “Last Empire”, and “Call of Magic” to name a few. This medieval-inspired RTS follows the story of a small town invaded by the Eastern Dynasty. The game also highlights dragons who are controlled and corrupted by the so-called Death Harbrigers who mysteriously appear in their town.
The core objective of the game is to defeat the Death Harbingers and bring the town back to its former glory. The mechanics are generally simple and somehow, formulaic. You start with a small village, and you will be asked to gather resources to upgrade or add new facilities. The player will also be asked to train troops so he can deploy them on the battlefield to conquer other territories and defeat enemies. Interestingly, aside from deploying troops, you can also summon powerful dragons in the field. The game also has a unique hero system, alliance warfare, and a generous reward system to explore.
From the creators behind Rise of Nations and Kingdom of Amalur, DomiNations is yet another impressive real-time strategy game that is optimized for mobile. It is interesting to note that the founder of Big Huge Games was a former designer of some well-acclaimed RTS video games like Civilization II which seems to become a major influence on this game. As the title of the game suggests, the core objective of DomiNations is to dominate the world and battle through different areas of history. These include various civilizations such Roman Empire, the Japanese Empire, the Chinese dynasty, and many more.
DomiNations is not different from any standard RTS. You start the game with the Dawn Age and it will eventually evolve as you progress. Much like any RTS game, you start with a small village and you will need to gather resources through logging, mining, and hunting. You can collect materials to build buildings or upgrade the facilities to strengthen your defenses. You will also be asked to train troops and deploy them on the battlefield to defeat enemies and expand your territory. Appearance-wise, this game is an absolute visual delight that treats you with a beautiful and dynamic atmosphere that changes every time you switch to a new civilization. Absolutely worth exploring.
The Battle of Polytopia
If you are tired of the classic RTS graphics that often feature some medieval or dark fantasy-inspired atmosphere, The Battle of Polytopia will surely take you to an entirely different environment. Described as a turn-based strategy game, The Battle of Polytopia takes you on an exciting adventure. In this game, you have chosen to rule the Imperius Tribe. The goal is to explore the world and expand your empire. However, this task is not going to be easy because there are a great number of tribes that will also attempt to conquer your kingdom.
To prevent this from happening, you must build a stronghold and train warriors that you can confidently deploy on the battlefield to stop the enemies from breaking through your defense. Similar to RTS games, you start the game with a small territory. To unlock the other areas, you must upgrade your facilities and conduct research. As you unveil new lands, you will encounter villages that give you opportunities to conquer and expand. The bigger your territory is, the bigger the number of resources you need to gather. What really separates The Battle of Polytopia from the rest is the unique graphic style that brings an entirely new atmosphere.
Game of Empires: Warring Realms
Developed and published by Droupnir Entertainment Ltd, Game of Empires: Warring Realms takes you on another amazing adventure. What makes this RTS game unique is the player’s ability to select his preferred starting civilization. As soon as the game begins, you will be asked to select among the five available civilizations, including the Britannia, the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of France, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Japanese Empire. Interestingly, each civilization comes with its unique design and units, making them more distinctive from other civilizations.
The mechanics are generally simple and easily manageable and just like any other real-time strategy game, you start the journey in a very small land. Apparently, your previous land has been compromised and you need to find a new land to start over. The goal is to rebuild your empire and bring it back to its former glory. To do so, you must upgrade your village by collecting resources and upgrading your buildings. Every time you upgrade the town hall, you will reach a new age. You will also be asked to train troops to defend your kingdom from barbarians. If you think you can build the best civilization, feel free to explore this RTS game and see how far you can go.
Developed and published by 4flash, US Conflict takes you to an action-packed military real-time strategy battle. The game takes you to a fictional World War II setting that embraces the idea of how if Germany attempts to invade the US during the infamous war. Your main objective for this game is to take control of the US army and prevent the enemies from breaking through your defenses. As soon as the game begins, you will be provided with enough resources that you can use to construct buildings that produce tanks and infantries and deploy them in targeted locations on the given map. Unlike other RTS games, US Conflict is not an empire builder and will rely mainly on combat.
Each campaign comes with a different objective and all of which require you to establish the most effective strategy to maximize your chances of winning. Some of these campaigns require you to capture bunkers, destroy enemy reinforcements, protect convoys, or infiltrate bases. Unlike your typical war-themed games, US Conflict requires real-time tactics. The result of every campaign depends on how smartly you strategize your battle. Just because you managed to conquer an area doesn’t mean your troops are completely safe because enemies can always reclaim your territories. Therefore, you must track the enemies and always have a backup plan if the first tactic fails. If you think you have what it takes to win the epic military battle, feel free to explore US Conflict and see how far your skills can take you.
RTS: Rex Tribal Society
Anything is impossible when it comes to RTS games. Developers can use different materials to make their games unique and engaging. For instance, this game gave RTS an entirely new meaning. Rex Tribal Society takes you to a prehistoric era where dinosaurs are still existing. The main objective of the game is to deploy your tribe along with the dinosaurs to conquer and defeat other prehistoric tribes. Unlike typical RTS, this game will focus more on combat rather than building an empire. You can, however, establish buildings to summon more tribes and to make them more efficient in the battle which will help you maximize your survival.
Please be mindful that enemies will also approach your base and you must prevent them from breaking through. If your base is destroyed, the game is over, and you must start the same level back from the beginning. A level is clear once the enemy’s base is destroyed. As you progress, more species of dinosaurs and more types of warriors can be unlocked. What makes the game even more fascinating is the retro-inspired atmosphere that makes you feel that playing an old PC game, providing players a nostalgic gaming experience.
Download: RTS: Rex Tribal Society – Android
Medieval: Defense & Conquest
After spending a lot of time exploring the sea, your troops finally found an island to settle. However, the people on the island are seemingly uninviting and they are trying to kick you out by brute force. Now, your goal is to defend your newfound settlement and eliminate all the people who attack your newly proclaimed territory. Medieval: Defense & Conquest by Vojtech Jesatko is yet another unique take on a real-time strategy game. The game is unique in many ways! For instance, Medieval features a nostalgic 2D-pixel art-style atmosphere.
The game will also take you to two phases: the battle phase where you must defend the village from invaders and the building phase where you are encouraged to build houses to improve your stronghold and to increase your resources. Similar to a Tower defense game, as soon as you enter the battlefield and welcome the new wave, you just have to summon as many troops as possible to prevent attackers from breaking through and destroying your defenses. You earn gold for every enemy you kill and the money you collect can be used to purchase new buildings which will later unlock other functions such as trade system, farming, and more. You can also use the money to upgrade your warriors and make them more efficient in the battle. If you think you can survive the island, feel free to explore Medieval: Defense & Conquest and see how far your journey will go.
Developed by Ndemic Creations, Plague Inc. is a well-acclaimed PC game that was eventually ported into mobile. Interestingly, the game is visually simple. It doesn’t feature any immersive graphics or even colorful animation. What really makes the game more intriguing is the concept itself. Plague Inc is not a zombie game that requires you to survive a deadly outbreak but the other way around. In this game, the core objective is not to stop but to spread the plague all over the world. To do so, you must find the most effective and quickest way to infect the people.
Your pathogen has infected “Patient Zero” and from here, you must bring an end to humanity by allowing the virus to evolve. It is up to you how you want the virus to be transmitted, define its resistance, and more. You will be presented with a world map in a realistic manner, and you can track how the plague spreads and how humanity response to it (via AI Outbreak management technology). Unlike other RTS games, you no longer need to build an empire or engage in epic combat. Currently, there are 12 types of diseases that you can spread and more than 50 countries to infect. How much catastrophe can you do? Feel free to explore this unique game to find out.
Clash of Clans
When it comes to Real-time strategy, it is impossible not to include the well-acclaimed Clash of Clans by Supercell. The game was released in 2012 and has instantly become a massive hit. The game’s strength comes from its multiplayer elements. Clash of Clans’ core objective is to build a village out of the resources that you can earn by attacking other villages. To do so, you must send your best troops to attack. As the title clearly suggests, the game’s main highlight is the clan war. here, players can form a community known as a “clan.” Each clan is composed of up to 50 people (online players) who can go to war with other clans, hence the title.
Participating in Clan wars is beneficial in many ways. For instance, clan members can donate resources to other players to expedite upgrades and construction time. You must focus on strengthening defenses as well as training your troops to make them more efficient in battle. Appearance-wise, Clash of Clans is also an absolute visual delight. It features cartoonish characters that make the game more appealing to all types of gamers. Due to its massive success, several spin offs were developed by Supercell, including Clash Mini and Clash Heroes.
Mushroom Wars 2: RTS Strategy
If Clash of Clans is not cute enough, then you might consider exploring Mushroom Wars 2 by Zillion Whales (published by Azur Interactive Games LTD). The game is exactly what the title suggests – Mushroom Wars! The mechanics of the game are generally simple and easily manageable yet require players to establish the most effective strategy to win. Your goal is to become the mushroom commander and conquer every mushroom village on the map.
There are two types of villages in this game, the neutral village that can be conquered by simply sending mushroom armies that are more than its population, and the enemy’s village that can deploy armies also conquer your territory if it is outnumbered by them. The level only ends if you manage to conquer all the villages. Interestingly, there are elements in the game that you can take advantage of to maximize your winnings. First, you can upgrade the village to increase the population (which means that you can deploy more troops). Second, you can target special buildings like forges and towers to improve both your defenses and offenses in the battle. The game is generally simple yet surprisingly addictive and not to mention, it is absolutely adorable!
If you are looking for a great RTS game that will measure your skill, feel free to try any of these games above and see which one can challenge you the most! Have fun!
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