A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Buy Now$19.99 USD or more

Please note Empires of the Undergrowth is currently in Early Access.

Empires of the Undergrowth is a fast-paced ant colony strategy game. Underground you will excavate your nest, constructing tunnels and chambers to store resources and raise your brood, before venturing above ground. Here, your ants will claim territory, gather resources and overwhelm fearsome creatures. Nest layout, army size and composition along with knowing when to attack or retreat are key to securing victory for your colony of ants.


  • Carve out and construct your underground nest to suit your strategy
  • Engage in fast-paced colony versus colony combat above ground
  • Play as different ant species and explore their unique traits and weaknesses
  • Encounter and overpower dangerous beetles, arachnids and other awesome arthropods

The Formicarium

The fully-voiced campaign in Empires of the Undergrowth has two elements to it, first is the formicarium where you start with just a queen and a few workers. As the game progresses, you will have to withstand the experiments of a mad scientist, growing stronger and genetically adapting your ants to survive his machinations. The Formicarium also acts as a hub in which you can launch scenario missions, which allow you to take control of a variety of ant colonies. To unlock the next tier of scenarios you must withstand the aforementioned experiments.

Documentary Scenarios

"Your queen has set up home beneath a rotting log. She is fat, and vulnerable. Her first brood will need to move quickly if the colony is to survive. Their priority now is to find food, and there is plenty around; but there are other hungry creatures in the undergrowth. The workers will need to be vigilant."

Scenarios are narrated from the perspective of a documentary film maker studying the ants, who offers intelligent insight into the goings-on of the colony and the undergrowth beyond.

The scenarios are presented in "tiers" with five planned for the full release (three are currently live). Each tier's missions are presented in a nature documentary style, and vies to be scientifically accurate whilst also being fun to play. Each tier allows you to play as a different species of ant, each with their own differences and play style. The settings for each level also vary, to reflect the environment in which you would natively find that species.

Updated 20 days ago
StatusIn development
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
AuthorSlug Disco
GenreStrategy, Simulation
Made withUnreal Engine
Tagsants, dungeon-management, Real time strategy, Unreal Engine
Average sessionA few seconds
LanguagesGerman, English, Chinese (Simplified)
LinksSteam, Homepage, Community


Buy Now$19.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $19.99 USD. Your purchase comes with a Steam key. You will get access to the following files:

Empires of the Undergrowth - Linux 3 GB
Empires of the Undergrowth - MacOS 3 GB
Empires of the Undergrowth - Win32 3 GB
Empires of the Undergrowth - Win64 3 GB

Development log


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and they spit acid

leaver ants live in trees and make leaves pertect there queen or make there nest thats why campiaign 5 should be leaver ants

there are more ants like leaver ants and more there should be a campagin 5 


Ohhh boy! I just found this gem and it reminds me so much of a game I had as a child (around 15-20 years ago) and loved to death! I always wished for a game like this to fulfill my craving for ant colony strategy games

I remember buying this game 2-3 years ago and ever since I switched pc's I forgot which account I bought it on :( I really wanna play it and I fondly remember playing it at 10 fps on my crappy mac

SlugDisco, could you add a setting into the options so that you can chose if the player wants to have their wood ants spraying acid that collides with the other characters collision bounds. Because i really whanted to try it out but i got the game to late

Hey everyone, our latest development newsletter is now live: http://slugdisco.com/november-2020-newsletter/

when are the leaf cutters and rivaling colonies going to be a feature in freeplay?

We are currently running a beta for leafcutters in freeplay on steam. If you grab your steam key you can join in there:


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I'm a little late to the party, but I decided to give the demo a try!

Very fun, yet challenging game. Was a bit difficult to learn at first, but you get the hang of it the longer you play. That being said, my queen got killed brutally..

It is definitely a game I'll have to try again some time and dig into it deeper!

I've also made a little video on my experience playing the game. Feel free to have a look!

meu Jogo trava Nos levels da leafcuter vocês sabem o porque acontece isso?

can you play this game on a chromebook

Unfortunately not, the game requires a dedicated graphics card that chromebooks do not have!


slug is there any way I can get this game free cause I am a kid and my dad said he will not me this game

Do you still want to play this game?


There is a demo version available on steam, indieDB and GameJolt


You have to honor your dad - he has authority over you.   Ask though, and maybe he will change his mind. 

Why does nobody say child anymore

but  now it will not load and it is taking liike 30 min. any suggestions???

You might want to try the forum on our website, someone may have had a similar issue (forum.slugdisco.com) make sure you describe your issue well and there will usually be people around to help.

I purchased the game and cannot open it in my download section.  It brings me back to purchase again.  Any suggestions??


You need to contact Itch for that I am afraid. This page may be of help:


when are the leaf cutters going to be added to freeplay, also, what speices are you going to work on next?

I do not know I hope it is a cool ant and strong

I love your game so much

HI slug dico


slug disco can you make a demo for free play mode so i can play it if you agree

Hello, Slug Disco,

I am wondering if I'll be able to play this (i.e. 20-30 fps) on my Intel HD4000 (on ultra low settings & resolution, obviously).



There hasn't been any new content in the early access version, right?  Can we maybe have a couple new maps to play with? Maybe a simple random map generator, just for a nice game every now and then? I've played it like three or four times now, and I'd love to have something new :)



Do you developers have to ruin steam alternatives - that some of us explicitly use to circumvent valve as a company - by turning them into trial/demo/steam key resell sites? Do you have to come here and advertise "Hey we're on steam" in the second sentence of your page? Really? At least give alternatives to the monopolistic monstrosity of a DRM distributor that takes a third of the global PC revenue a chance and stop spreading the steam plague everywhere you go!

I went here to look for DRM-free games and to not support the inventor and popularizer of online DRM. If you advertise steam first thing, why would I trust you to keep this version up-to-date, to not include DRM eventually, and why would I browse your game on a site other than steam, if I bought from there anyway?


Sorry Meezl, we will keep this version up to date. We had a rocky launch which made us think we would not be able to launch on steam for a week so we were pointing people here, then that changed so we wanted to point them back to steam in case they really wanted to buy there.

Either way that is over now so there is no need for that sentence any more. I will remove it!


Hm, thanks for a civil answer, I guess. But please also understand my apprehension towards steam and the abuse alternatives to it get; even here, almost every download section contains steam key downloads and a big chunk of questions deal with steam availability; really, I'd prefer if referrer links were disallowed and only content itself could be hosted. Both humble bundle and GoG already act as resellers or transfer sites, respectively, and frankly it should be stopped. The billion-dollar heavy industry monopolist doesn't need any more free traffic or advertising.

gog doesn't really sell games that are steam only games like humble bundle. if you buy a game on gog you don't need steam to play it. they do have a program in which you might be able to get a free key for steam games that you own to get them on gog and bypass steam altogether. their isn't much going the other way (buying on gog then getting a steam key to play on steam).

if you pay attention to the icons on humble bundle you will see a steam icon for games that you either need steam to play or get both a steam key and a humble download.

i get your apprehension, not a huge fan of steam either, though it is a nice platform with some strong points in favor of it. ultimately using it give the customer more choices probably shouldn't be discouraged.

Awesome work devs, I'm really enjoying this :)

I am to are you good at the game??? hope that y you are

Price is a bit steep if its anything like the free version!!!

im sorry but how can i download the version that is free??

We still have the old free version available at GameJolt and IndieDB


dommage qui ai pas en Français car je comprend rien sur le jeux se trop dommage ! ! :(

Hey Slug disco where can i report a bug?


You can do so on our forum:


If you get a crash we would appreciate the crash dump files. This post on steam forum explains what to do with them!



I like it a lot so far! Hard mode is actually a good challlenge in the first two levels I have played. The meta game is a really good idea, but I'll have to play a bit more to better see what I really like and what might need improvement... So far I'm really glad I bought it!

That is great! We tried to keep harder difficulties challenging! Let us know if you have any thoughts for further improvements.

get a new ant the fire ant would be cool and other ant is fine to 

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Where do I find my key?

You may need to speak to itch about that. Maybe try accessing the page with a computer?

If that does not help I would contact itch support.


Try again, it should be there! Sorry about the delay

Is a steam key a key that lets you get it for steam when it is advalable? I know this is a dumb question but I need to know

Also, will the game be cheaper on steam?

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A steam key is a key that you can use to activate a game on a steam account. After that, you own the game on steam as if you had bought it. Obviously you can only do that once.

It doesn't seem to be cheaper. For me it's 19.99€, which actually sucks because 19.99$ is less. But that's how steam cheat us. 

How do i get the steam key? I confirmed my email address and bought it. I wasnt sent a steam key...

This may help:


But you should head to the page you were sent by itch and it should have a button to get the steam key!

20 is really a lot... I hope the game really is worth that much. Also if it is released cheaper on steam, more like 5-7 dollars, you might attract a larger crowd to play the game as not everybody wants to spend lots of money on games. It looks really cool though. I always thought ant games looked cool, but i have never come across something named other than "ANT SIMULATION GAME SIMULATOR PLAY NOW ANTS!" Looks cool.

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It is cool! 20 is a lot for an early access title, but I think it's worth it! If you can wait a couple of weeks, you might get lucky and get it a little bit cheaper in a sale AND have any game-breaking bugs taken care of already! I couldn't wait though and I don't regret it. Unfortunately, even good ant games aren't as popular as they deserve to be, so I'm happy to support (with money) those developers who are brave enough to do it anyways AND do it right.

There was a kickstarter 2 years ago with a really impressive looking game (Formicarium - but it wasn't successful and the developer stopped working on it. It broke my heart.


Steam release will happen TODAY after all, we have been approved! just working out the details! FULL STEAM AHEAD!

How can I know my key?

This page should help:


Hey, so i really want to buy the game right now but i live in brazil and 20 dollars is alot (20 dollars = 65BRL) I was wondering  if in steam they will reduce the price as it is a Early acesss game, do you guys know something about the prices for other countries?

Steam sets the prices differently in various locations and we have just gone for what steam suggested to yes it could be different on steam. Itch do not do this.


No brasil o preço ficou por R$ 37,99.

You let you backpackers buy the game again, as i bought high level backpacker state that would give me early access to both demo and beta that not that nice to buy the game twice

Having a minor issue with backers and getting an itch key to them, give us a moment.

Chil man you know how hard it is to release a game without making a mistake

We have sent a message out to backers now!

I know i know it not easy

I dont know if its worth to buy this game for 20 bucks. I dont really know what the EA version is all about. Can someone tell me?


My son have been following this game for LONG time! He have been talking, talking and talking and  watching for release date, and when he did see December 1 he got sooooo happy! He has not sleep well the past week. And today when he get home from school, he is going to be very sad and upset.  What em I going  do now????  

Hello Tidus, I am a child that has been waiting for a year now, too and I am very, very dissapointed and sad but I will get over it and your son should too. Best of luck for you and your son!

Hi! Sorry to hear that! You can purchase and play the game through this site at the moment! The purchase includes a download (this is the full early access version that will be up on steam next week) for you to download and run now and also a steam key that will allow download of the game through steam next week. So if your son can cope with running the game without steam for a week you can purchase and play the game here now!

It tells me;

Claim Steam key (<- doesnt work)

Check your email for the confirmation link.


I cannot get the steam key

I tried to confirm my email but it says "We couldnt find your page" when I try to confirm my email

I know I cannot play it on steam right now but I'd like to get the key

I'm downloading the game for win right now

But what about my key?

Hi Raux. Did you get this sorted? You may need to contact Itch support if you cannot get the key.

This page may help:


You can request the email again and on your page should be a link to get the steam key.

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i 'm a backer. Download and play the game is ok. I have 'Hold out' level but when  Rising Tide level release? Or i have to download more patch?

The game is currently going though Beta testing on steam. Only a few weeks to go and there will be  plenty more levels! Make sure you get your steam key.

i buy game by visa card on itch.io. i just recieve email with link download backed game. how do i get steam key?

This should help:


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