Strategy is among the oldest gaming genres in human history. Whether it be board games or even card games, we’ve been playing strategy games since long before there was ever a computer. Strategy games have come a long way. But, the basic premise of using your brain to beat your opponents remains true even to this day. It’s a fantastic way to test yourself and see how strategic you can be.
Real-time strategy (RTS) games are among the most celebrated and technical types of strategy games that exist. Combining resource management, battles, and map control, they require you to think on your feet and find ingenious ways to secure victory. There may be some more exciting gaming genres on mobile, like role-playing games and MOBA games, but RTS is here to stay. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best RTS games for mobile.
Best RTS Games on Android and iOS
Plague Inc. is an RTS game that no one saw coming. It is a smash hit that combines an interesting premise with incredible gameplay. You play as a pandemic that begins in any country of your choice. You will then have to spread yourself across all countries in a bid to wipe out humanity.
This might not be something that people would want to play, but people did. And this makes it one of the best mobile real-time strategy games of all time. Plague Inc. is available for free with in-app purchases on Google Play Store and the App Store.
Originally a PC game, Company of Heroes’ mobile port is a welcome addition to the long list of enjoyable RTS games to play on mobile. This game focuses tightly on World War II as you lead your army to take control of the most iconic battlefields such as the Battle of Normandy. It doesn’t have the element of resource gathering that you would normally see on Warcraft-inspired RTS. But, Company of Heroes’ fast-moving campaigns and dynamic combat environments will take you to the edge of your seat.
The problem with real-time strategy games that are a direct port of a PC title is that they tend to be loosely developed, but not Company of Heroes. Its touchscreen controls and combat style are optimized for mobile, keeping the heat of the battle at all times.
The game is worth $14 on App Store and Google Play.
ROME: Total War is another desktop classic that has been successfully ported to a mobile RTS. In this game, you take control of one of the many factions as you work your way through Imperial Rome. The goal is to take over the city. In all, ROME: Total War is a faithful port of the original PC game known for the unique mix of real-time strategy and turn-based tactics. It was able to pack the same exhilarating battlefield with thousands of troops and has captured the essence of the game we’ve come to love.
Although there are some complaints about its touchscreen controls in battles, ROME: Total War is one to play if you want a journey down memory lane. It has a decent in-game tutorial to familiarize yourself with its ins and outs.
You can buy ROME: Total War for $10 on App Store and Google Play.
From the same people who made the wildly popular Plague Inc., Rebel Inc. is yet another take on RTS. Instead of taking control of sickness, this game will challenge you of mending a country that just finished a devastating war.
Aside from winning over the locals by providing amenities and basic comforts, transitioning between government types, and dealing with inflation and corruption, you’ll also have to contend with rebel groups that will pop up every game in order to harass your fledgling government. This delicate balance must be protected because if even one part of your government fails (whether due to corruption or lack of faith by the locals), the whole thing falls like a house of cards.
This tightrope of gameplay makes it one of the best mobile RTS games out there currently. Rebel Inc. is available free on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Dungeon Warfare 2 is the anticipated sequel to the original Dungeon Warfare on PC. It’s a challenging RTS Tower Defense where you take control of a dungeon and protect it from those pesky adventurers trying to take the treasure inside its depths.
With a lot of innovative ways to eliminate these intruders and retro-style graphics that’ll take you on a nostalgia trip, Dungeon Warfare 2 is a must-buy for Android and iOS users alike.
This real-time strategy game is available on Google Play Store and App Store for $4.99.
Clash of Clans took the world by storm in its early days. Although its following has slightly dropped, it doesn’t seem to be going away from this list. Combining the elements of real-time strategy games with tower defense, Clash of Clans is one of the best Android games that came out with over 100 million downloads. A name that speaks for itself, you will have to create a clan and defend it by any means (like improving your warriors, building special facilities, destroying other players’ clans, and so on), fight other clans (with some of those clans being other players), and establish yourself as one of if not the best clan out there.
Clash of Clans is free on Google Play Store and the App Store.
Mushroom Wars 2 is a conquest game about building up forces in villages in order to dominate new settlements and take over a map. In this world, it has been fungi rather than primates who wound up achieving sentience, so you’re a mushroom commander of mushroom soldiers who live inside mushrooms and are at war with mushrooms. The game’s title is certainly accurate.
Mushroom Wars 2 combines quirky storytelling with tight gameplay. The addition of heroes and tower defense gameplay only added to how good the game is. Combine that with a head-to-head multiplayer and colorful visuals, Mushroom Wars 2 is something that you want to play. The only thing that would’ve made this game better is if the campaign is free as well, but those missions are locked behind in-app purchases.
You can download Mushroom Wars 2 for free on App Store and Google Play.
The Iron Marines are a space-trotting, world-saving team of elite squads tasked with putting out fires and defeating hostiles wherever needed. There is a home base that has to be fortified and defended, additional refineries to secure more resources, and just a handful of units.
If Starcraft were to ever go to a mobile platform, then it will be Iron Marines. Combining Starcraft-like aesthetics and factions, Awesomenauts’ graphics and art style, and Halo War’s gameplay makes Iron Marines one of the best paid RTS games on mobile.
From these simple, intuitive elements, the game ekes out a good sense of micromanagement and delectable real-time tension. Its enemies have unusual abilities and synergies, and its difficulty is no joke, especially on the higher levels. Yet, the game also retains Ironclad Studios sense of long-term planning and strategy present in its tower defense titles.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth is a game with PC roots. A celebrated sequel to the original Anomaly and Anomaly 2, it continues the story made in the first two games. It combines squads gameplay (where you choose the right people for the job, arm them appropriately, and choose where that squad will go), RTS-style gameplay, and an engaging story. All these elements make Anomaly: Warzone Earth a worthy addition to any RTS games list.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth is available on Google Play Store for $3.
If you combine Warcraft 2 graphics with Command and Conquer units, you’ll get Rusted Warfare. This RTS game sets itself apart by giving its smartphone players a true taste of what real RTS gaming is on PC. Putting emphasis on player skill and timing with unit understanding, Rusted Warfare is one of the games worth putting in the money for.
The game has over 50 unique units that enable huge battles to run smoothly. It also has different modes of play, whether you like an offline single-player or an online multiplayer. The best thing about Warcraft 2 is that it has something most games can’t pull off — cross-platform compatibility between Windows, Linux, and Android versions.
Rusted Warfare is available on Google Play Store for $2 and on App Store for $2.99.
To fans of Red Alert, Red Sun would be a blast of the past. It’s almost a copy of the original Red Alert but adds a few tweaks that allow it to be played on a mobile platform. Although the game is still under development and has a bit of a bug, you’ll have a good time playing it. The game already has all the elements of an RTS game where you control a troop in real-time, build a base, and plan attacks.
Red Sun is available on Google Play Store and App Store for free.
From the same guys on Red Sun, Expanse is another homage to the Red Alert series with almost the same UI interface and gameplay. You’ll play the role of one of three factions — the scientists, the military, and the workers — as they fight for supremacy in a newly colonized world after leaving Earth. Who you choose to support and lead to victory is ultimately up to you.
Expanse is available for free on Google Play Store and App Store.
Auralux is what happens when you retain good and tight gameplay with simple, yet incredible art direction. The gameplay’s simplicity adds to the charm that the game offers, and with a lot of levels that you can play with and enjoy.
The game starts with a single planet that you have to manage and upgrade once you have enough resources. As your planet flourish, you have to expand your dominion by colonizing planets owned by other players. Your battles are available on local and online multiplayer.
Auralux is free to download on Google Play Store and App Store. It is also available on Steam, but players are confined to those that have the same operating system.
The Battle of Polytopia is an excellent real-time strategy game in the spirit of the legendary Civilization but more simplified. You select one of the four available nations (the rest can be unlocked for real money) and set off to explore a new world.
Initially, the capital brings two stars each turn. These stars are spent on discovering new technologies, such as agriculture, hunting, fishing, roads, construction, and others. Also, this main resource is spent on various activities like building farms around the city and picking fruits.
The more you build buildings and produce products, the faster the population of your city grows. Raising the level of the capital, you get some kind of bonus; for example, hiring a super unit. Around you are many villages that need to be captured, thereby expanding the borders of the empire. The captured settlement is developing; as well as the capital, increasing its level. The polygonal design of the game immediately catches the eye. It looks unusual, especially for a game of this genre. The Battle of Polytopia is a small masterpiece that many players will love!
The Battle of Polytopia is available on Google Play Store and App Store for free.
Machines at War 3 is the third installment of an RTS game series that has a reputation for challenging the mental sharpness and quick thinking of its players. In this game, your goal is to save the world from the verge of extinction by finding the missing group of scientists that created a weapon for mass destruction. The real-time strategy comes in on how you send and command your army in numerous battles as you go on to investigate.
The gameplay is similar to many real-time strategy games on PC and features a compelling campaign mode, several custom maps, and PVP online multiplayer. You can spend a lot of time playing this game and not get bored, which is a pretty good indication that the game is one of the best RTS games on Android and iOS right now. Machines at War 3 costs $6.99 on both mobile platforms.
Viking Village is a unique mix of real-time strategy games and sandbox — it’s like Clash of Clans meets Minecraft. You create a Viking village and wage war with other villages to achieve supremacy.
In this game, you have to collect resources to build an army and allow your village to flourish. Once your unit is strong enough, you can start attacking enemy villages and destroying them. But your dominion is open for enemy attacks too, so you have to defend it by upgrading heroes and adding barbarians and dragons to your defenses.
The game also allows you to play in a third-person view when attacking or defending. All in all, the game is a good addition to any RTS fan. The game is available for free on Google Play Store and App Store.
DomiNations is like Clash of Clans in concept, but only with a more modern setting. Command huge armies in a PVP setting where only the greatest nation can prevail. Expect a tough fight ahead as you will need to constantly improve your troops to maintain dominance. If you’re a fan of that, then DomiNations is the game for you.
DomiNations is available for free on App Store and Google Play.
Element RTS is a real-time strategy game with a unique proposition — it’s the RTS for people who have no time, fitting for its linear gameplay. With a streamlined design that makes it accessible to newer players, the game allows you to manage resources and colonize planets, all the while trying to survive the depths of space. There will be some bad guys that will try to get in your way who you must defeat to maintain the balance between the elements.
Element RTS is available for mobile and PC, but it doesn’t include cross-platform compatibility. It costs $2.99 on App Store and $4.99 on Google Play Store.
Oil Rush is a 3d Naval RTS taking place in an alternate timeline where nuclear war melted the polar icecaps and changed the maps forever. Featuring group control and global-scale scenarios and decisions, the game would have you command giant naval armies and lead them to battle. It has several mission types like tower defense and defeat-the-boss, but the goal is the same across the board — to control the last remaining supplies of oil.
With 3D graphics, unique environments, and compelling gameplay, Oil Rush is a decent RTS that you can sink your teeth into. Oil Rush’s mobile version is exclusive to Android.
Tropical Stormfront is like Advance Wars but for mobile. It kind of looks the same, it plays the same, and there are some similarities between the series and the game. The only thing that changed is the factions that you get to play. It has at least 25 campaign missions where you command different units to fight battles and take control of major islands and military structures.
Tropical Stormfront also has a multiplayer mode, including a co-op play over a local network and online. The game wouldn’t hold your hand on playing, though, and it’s up to you to figure out the mechanics. Nevertheless, the gameplay and overall aesthetics of the game are one to enjoy.
Tropical Stormfront is available on App Store for $4.99.
Pick Real-Time Strategy Games to Play
That ends our list of the best real-time strategy games to play on mobile. Admittedly, these titles have some limitations on the functionality and features in comparison to their PC counterparts; but that doesn’t make them less enjoyable and fun. These games have the potential of standing the test of time and can stay relevant in years ahead. Think of the Starcraft franchise; the RTS game is still being played professionally and watched by thousands today, 20 years after its release.
We’ve shared our favorite real-time strategy games. It’s time to pick yours!