Banished was released in 2014 and though critics seemed to have mixed emotions about it, fans always seemed to love it a little more than reviews suggested they should. The city-building strategy genre has produced some great games of the past couple of decades and if you do feel that Banished leaves something to desire, or even if you loved it and want something in the same vein, we’ve got you covered here.
18 Games Like 'Banished' For All Real-Time Strategy Fans to Play
1. 'Age Of Empires'
The Age Of Empires series focuses on real historical events, with the first game covering events in Europe, Asia, and Africa from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. The second game is set in the Middle Ages and the next few games were set in the early modern period. The first game was released in 1997 and since then, four main series games have been released, with Age Of Empires IV expected in 2021.
Just like Banished, Anno is a strategy game that focuses on building. Players must establish colonies on a small island while taking care of things like managing resources, trading with other civilizations, and exploring the region. If you’re interested in this one, Anno 1800 is the most recent game and it was a welcome return to the old school building mechanics that fans loved with new aspects like tourism.
3. 'Cities: Skylines'
In terms of the freedom to build, this game is one of the best options on this list. Released on different platforms from 2015 to 2018, Colossal Order’s Cities: Skylines is considered by many to be the best city builder to come out during the 2010s. Players start with a small plot of land, an exit, and some money and from there, the world is your oyster. As if the game didn’t have enough options, it’s also mod-friendly.
4. 'Company Of Heroes'
Both of the Company Of Heroes games are set during the Second World War, but the second one focuses on the Eastern Front. Both games are great, but the second made some improvements in key areas. For example, Relic Entertainment added the ColdTech weather-system which makes weather such a major factor. Think of this like the way Arthur Morgan reacts to the heat and cold, but on steroids. Players will die of frostbite, move slower in snow, be able to shatter ice, and more.
5. 'Empire Earth'
If you’ve heard bad reviews about the third game in the Empire Earth series, don’t let that turn you off of the first couple. Empire Earth III was received negatively but the first two in the series will still be appreciated by fans of Banished. The first game spans 500,000 years of world history divided into 14 epochs. The sequel features 15 epochs, 14 different civilizations and Korean, German, and American campaigns.
In Factorio, you play as an engineer who crash lands on an alien planet and must create a rocket to escape. However, it’s not that simple. To build the rocket, you must create the means to do it. That means harvesting resources, crafting machinery, and maintaining an automated factory-style system. You can win by making the rocket, but you can also advance past that point too.
7. 'Folk Tale'
Folk Tale is a single-player fantasy village builder RPG. Just like in Banished, you start with next to nothing and must loot and recruit to build civilization. One of the best parts of this game is fighting against minions who want you to fall. Some criticize the game (or rather, its developers) for abandoning it too soon. Either way, it’s worth giving it a try.
In terms of mechanics, as a city-building survival game, Frostpunk pretty much functions as you’d expect it to and ticks a lot of the boxes that fans need from the genre’s offerings. Where it differentiates itself is in its environment. Frostpunk takes place during a volcanic winter in an alternate version of 1886. If you’re a fan of a game called Steampunk, this game borrows from many of its aspects.
9. 'Judgement: Apocalypse Survival Simulation'
No awards for guessing the context of this game. Players control a colony of survivors during an apocalypse where you must keep them alive and defend against demon attacks. Combat is a key part of the game. As well as defending against attacks, you can equip some survivors with weapons and have them fight in other randomly generated areas.
Kenshi is a sandbox game that takes the focus off of a linear story in an attempt to give players more freedom. It was developed in 2006 by Chris Hunt, who worked on the game for over a decade before its release in December of 2018. You start out with no skills in an area where it is incredibly difficult to survive. Being difficult was one thing Chris wanted for the game and he considers himself an enemy of the player. The only bad news about this one is it’s only available on Windows.
Don’t mistake Northgard for being inferior just due to the fact that it’s one of the smaller games on this list. Developed by French indie company Shiro Games, Northgard is inspired by Norse mythology and in it, you control a clan of Vikings who must survive against giants, wolves, and harsh winters to conquer land and create history.
Pharaoh is one of the oldest games on this list. It was released on Halloween of 1999, but don’t let that put you off of it. It still consists of the classic city-building aspects that you’ll love. You’ll be in charge of keeping people alive and employed in, you guessed it, Ancient Egypt. Even if this one does feel a little too old for you, don’t worry, because a remake called Pharaoh: A New Era is on its way for 2021.
Building up an entire planet from the start is a popular choice for this genre of games and Planetbase, as the name suggests, does it well. Madruga Works’ game sees players in charge of colonists, telling them what to build and where. As well as building a self-sufficient planet with a booming economy, survival is key, so you’ll also have to supply food, water, and oxygen. There are four different planets you can do this on, all with their own unique problems to work around.
Similar to Factorio, the end goal of this game is to escape your surroundings on a ship. Although it is a construction and management game, there’s definitely more to it than just building. You must protect a colony of people against various random in-game events that have been praised for their unpredictability. In 2016, this was Indie DB’s Indie of the year.
15. 'Rise Of Nations'
Big Huge Games’ offering is a real-time strategy game that was released in 2003. In Rise Of Nations, 8 ages of world history are playable with 18 civilizations. The main aspect of this game is territory. Rise of Nations was widely considered the best strategy game of 2003 with PC Gamer US saying that it should be the blueprint for games going forward. That’s high praise and it’s a must-play in the genre.
16. 'Stronghold HD'
Originally released in 2001 by Firefly Studios, Stronghold has all of the infrastructure development elements that fans of Banished want to see in a similar game, but it also puts emphasis on military conquest and expansion. In fact, the game features both an economic campaign and a military campaign. If you’re a fan, there are a bunch of sequels and this OG game was re-released in HD in 2013.
17. 'Surviving Mars'
As the title suggests, this game takes place on Mars. It’s not just a cool name for a game that could take place on any fictional planet either. You’ll actually utilise drones and rovers to manoeuvre around and it is modelled after real Martian data. Your job is to prepare the red planet for human habitation and to do this, you’ll make decisions about which resources to bring over from Earth and which to produce on Mars.
PopTop Software’s Tropico gives players the chance to become El Presidente, the ruler of a fictional Caribbean island. The game takes place during the Cold War and puts a humorous spin on otherwise serious topics like electoral fraud and totalitarianism. Democracy is key because the goal is to keep your people happy and stay in power, an interesting spin on the genre.