Variety is the spice of life (and death) in Empires Apart

By Joe Robinson 23 Feb 2018 0

Empires Apart is an upcoming real-time strategy game from Slitherine. Inspired by Age of Empires, it’s launching at the end of March and comes at an interesting time. With the recent Age of Empires: Definitive Edition release and Age of Empires 4 on the horizon, challenging the series’ hold over the RTS community is going to be no easy feat.


We haven’t covered it properly yet, but we’ve dabbled behind the scenes – it’s definitely got that AoE-esque charm to it. The art style is especially unique, and the game’s focus on multiplayer/skirmish has allowed it to be creative with the game’s competitive environment, and the number of game modes on offer.


In a post released yesterday, Slitherine ran through what the different options for skirmish were.

The basic game mode is Conquest – tried and true, the goal here is to simply eliminate your opponent’s town centre. They have a limited window with which to rebuild it either say, right where it was if you manage to repel the invaders, or somewhere else if you’re going to abandon ship and set up elsewhere.

Assassination can be thought of as a new version of Regicide. For most Skirmish game-modes, players will not only choose from one of six factions (Aztecs, Chinese, French, Mongols, Arabs or Byzantines), they will also choose a ‘Hero’ to fight with as well. In the Assassination game-mode, your job is to kill the other enemy heroes by any means necessary (as opposed to the Regicide-unique ‘King’ unit from Age of Empires II).

Diplomacy is less of a mode and more of a variation on existing modes – it adds the possibility for different civs to team up via Alliances and win as a group, although its possible for allies to betray each other. We’d be interested in seeing if there’s some kind of incentive other than bragging rights to winning solo or with fewer allies (as opposed to ganging up one or two people), otherwise this mode might need a bit of tweaking from the off. You can also play ‘Assassination’ with diplomacy enabled as well.

One mode we weren’t expecting that could be pretty fun is Survival. The RTS equivalent of a ‘Horde’ mode, players must build up their economy, base and army as quickly as possible during the day. Come nightfall, they will be subjected to an ever-increasing number of enemies (we assume split into waves, but its not clear). The attacking units can be from any civ’s unit pool, and attacks will come from all directions. Naturally, the longer you last the harder it gets.

Another mode that’s not your typical RTS fair is Challenges:

Every Civilization has [six] Challenges you can test yourself with. They are situations designed so that they require both problem solving and mechanical skill in order to be completed. They are a great way to learn and master the gameplay mechanics specific to every civilization.

Skirmish matches can feature up to 7 players, with eight different map types in four sizes, along with other options as well. The basic gameplay loop is very familiar – gather resources (food, wood, gold, stone), build up your village/base and then amass an army of conquest. It’s a shame they haven’t thought to include one of Age of Empire’s more progressive features, which was the ability to win by simply turtling up and building a giant statue.

Still, given the reservations we had about the need to re-make Age of Empires 1, a modern, fresh take on Microsoft’s legacy is definitely something we’re ready to try out.

Empires Apart is launching exclusively on Steam on March 29th, 2018.



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