15 Games Like 'Starcraft' To Play Now

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Real-time strategy games are nothing new but it seems the most popular ones adhere to a sort of playbook. Most have a dark ambiance, bombastic characters, epic stories, and extremely high stakes. In a lot of ways, Starcraft, released in 1998, was the blueprint for many of the real-time strategy games that dominate the landscape today. 

It combined stunning visuals with gameplay as intuitive as it was addictive. As the years passed, its fanbase steadily grew, eventually becoming fodder for professional competitions. Those days, however, are in the past. While Starcraft doesn’t shine as brightly as it once did, there are others that are running with the torch of real-time strategy.

1. 'Disgaea 4'

Disgaea owes much of its success to the goodwill that Final Fantasy Tactics generated among an entire generation of fans. While aesthetically different, the gameplay echoes between Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics are hard to miss. 

Disgaea may be a different kind of strategy game than Starcraft, but it has many of the same elements. A colorful cast of characters has remained a staple across four different games. Like other strategy titles, the game becomes progressively more challenging as the enemies employ more complex strategies, forcing players to adapt. Despite its cartoonish appearance, Disgaea is a solid member of the strategy game family.

Buy Now, $70

2. 'Super Seducer'

This one is a bit of a gag. The original Super Seducer hit the markets in 2018 and instantly became a meme, thanks to … well… the games outlandish, if not questionable content. Quite literally less than a year later, Super Seducer 2 was released and doubled down on what made this game a hit among its fans. 

While the mere act of making a game out of love and relationships might seem unscrupulous, because it is, Super Seducer does so with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. While the game may have a comedic streak that isn’t present in Starcraft, the strategic elements are there, sort of. I admit, choosing which dialogue option will get you the desired outcome doesn’t make for much of a strategy, game but players can expect at least a few hours' worths of enjoyment from this title.

Buy Here for $6.49 on PC

3. 'The Banner Saga'

Easily one of the best strategy games on the market. The Banner Saga, released in 2014, the game has managed to garner a small cult following due to practical gameplay combined with excellent storytelling. The game also employs stellar animation to give it a certain unique aesthetic. 

The strategy elements in The Banner Saga are two-fold. While the combat is forces players to plan out their method of attack to minimize damage, players are also tasked with successfully managing a caravan by making sure reserves are stocked and spirits are high. It’s a balancing act that requires players to carefully weigh the possible outcomes of all their decisions, no matter how mundane.

Buy Now, $16

4. 'Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark'

Fell Seal Arbiter’s Mark has a lot going for it, even if it is technically one of the more obscure titles on this list. This is another game that takes its strategy cues from Final Fantasy Tactics. Players often find themselves fighting monsters and other enemies on grid-laden maps where players have to take advantage of different players' movement and attack strengths.

While it may seem simple enough on the surface, the game is as in-depth as Starcraft when you take into account you wield an incredibly diverse cast of allies, each with their own unique quirks. While the game isn’t anything to write home about, visually speaking, it does boast an interesting combat system that is easy to get into. This one is worth a look. 

Buy Now, $30

5. 'Gears Tactics'

Gears Tactics questions the assumption that the Venn diagram of Gears fans and strategy games fans are two distinct circles. Gears of War has always been quite the cerebral game, even if the dialogue and characters screamed anything but. Just watch a game of top Gears players and it becomes obvious strategy does, in fact, play a role. 

Gears Tactics cranks up the strategy element of the game, forcing players to move their characters like pieces on a chessboard in an effort to eliminate the enemy while minimizing the damage on your end. It may not be as robust as Starcraft but it’s still a contender on this list.

buy here, $30

6. 'TABS'

TABS critics, of which there is a handful, argue that the game is too reliant on sheer luck. After all, it is possible for Player 1 to win a match with a certain infantry only to turn around and lose the second match despite nothing changing on either side. 

I would argue that those people simply don’t understand the intricacies of this amazing battle simulator. TABS, much like its television predecessor “The Deadliest Warrior” gives players the chance to determine, definitively, which kind of warrior would win in a fight. Can an inquisitor best a Viking? Cand a Musketeer outduel a Legionnaire? Does a mastodon have what it takes to overpower a Norse frost giant? TABS is the only game on this list with the courage to both ask and provide an answer.

buy now, $15

7. 'XCOM 2'

XCOM 2 is another cult favorite for a number of reasons. The game combines an interesting science fiction story with gameplay that sticks to the strategy game playbook. While other strategy games are busy trying to reinvent the wheel, XCOM 2 sticks with the tried and true tactics of what makes a strategy game good. To complete some stages stealthily, while others require to go in guns blazing. No two stages are the same which is why this game is well worth a buy.

8. 'Smite'

Smite owes its existence to gaming developers’ desire to create MOBA’s that are as successful as Starcraft and League of Legends. For a time, Smite was the king of the hill, though it, like Starcraft, lost ground to League of Legends. This hasn’t stopped the game's most loyal fans from continuing to play the strategy game. Smite boasts a unique pantheon of characters fashioned after real-world gods. The story, like Starcraft, is told at an epic scale, which is what likely hooked characters in the first place. This game is definitely worth a buy.

Download for Free

9. 'League of Angels-Heaven’s Fury'

Another obscure title. Lilith Angel of Darkness echoes many of the aesthetics and mechanics you find in other MOBAs. While the game may not be as grounded in science fiction as Starcraft, most Starcraft players can pick up Lilith Angel of Darkness and be right at home with the controls and combat, a fact that earned it a spot on this list.

Download for free

10. 'Baldur’s Gate 3'

There isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about Baldur’s Gate. One of the most popular titles on this list, Baldur’s Gate has been around since 1998. Comparing the original to the recent release of Baldur’s Gate 3 you can see just how far the genre has progressed. And that doesn’t mean just visually. Everything from the gameplay to the story’s depiction is top tier.

buy here, $60

11. 'Loop Hero'

Devolver Digital’s Loop Hero is one of the newest titles on this list. Like other games with a more cartoonish style, fans shouldn’t take Loop Hero as a joke. The game tells a visceral story that, in the month since the game has been out, has enthralled players. 

The game pits players against The Lich, an all-powerful wizard who, I’m more than willing to bet will kill you at least once as you make your initial way through Loop Hero’s dungeons. The Lich is more than a match for the player, but there are also other dangers the player must contend with.

In all, Loop Hero is a balanced game and welcome addition to the genre.

Buy Here, $12.74

12. 'Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun'

A medieval strategy game that takes place in Japan rather than Europe. This is one of the ways Shadow Tactics Blades of the Shogun manages to stick out from the pack. The game also boasts a diverse cast of characters and gorgeous maps. 

The gameplay isn’t as snappy or optimized or Starcraft, which is fine. Few games are. But what it lacks in gameplay it more than makes up for in style and storytelling.

Buy Here, $15

13. 'Total War: Warhammer III'

Few intellectual properties have spawned as many spinoffs as the Warhammer series. Of them, the Total War series is among the most popular and for good reason. The third installment in the franchise is among the most ambitious both in gameplay and style. Warhammer III takes full advantage of modern technology by having players take charge of vast swaths of characters. Whether you’re a micro-manager or a big-picture kind of strategist Warhammer III has something for your playstyle. It really is a testament to how much thought developers put into the game.

buy here, $60

14. 'Total War: Attila'

Attila is one of those expansions that are so good they overshadow the original game. While Total War boasted, at the time, one of the most comprehensive was simulators, Attila took it a step further, by familiarizing the player with the depravity of war. 

There are no heroes in Attila but, if you’re lucky, you might be able to survive the hordes of ancient legions fighting to take your resources. 

Everything from rival factions to the weather is out to test your edge as a military commander. Total War Attila is one of the most uncompromising strategy games and it is well worth your time.

Buy Here, $44.99

15. 'Spy Tactics'

It doesn’t get much more tactical than 2019’s Spy Tactics. The game’s premise is simple. Each mission gives you, the player, an objective that you must complete without arousing suspicion or getting caught. 

To this end, you have to delve into a bag of tricks. While the game may seem like a glorified board game, at first blush, its intricacies become immediately apparent the more you delve into the game’s mechanics. For those craving an intellectual challenge, Spy Tactics is your game.

Buy Here, $2.99

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