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Characters / Empires of the Undergrowth

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The myriad minions you can control.

Gene Thief Ants

Scientific name Formica ereptor, these are a fictitious species of ant, able to absorb traits from other ants and use them for their own purposes.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Despite being able to create both leaf cutter ants (which feed mostly on fungi) and wood ants (which are predominately carnivorous), these ants feed primarily on poppy seeds. Justified, though, in that the ants only steal the form of other ants, so it's possible what is on the inside of the ants is different from what is on the outside.
    • Additionally, there is no type of ant in the genus Formica that has the level of physical variation seen in this species. If that was the case, though, the game wouldn't be nearly as fun.
  • The Goomba: Enemy ones functions as this, since they are made up entirely of workers. The ones you control are Worker Units, but can be upgraded to have attack as strong as level 1 black ant soldiers.
  • LEGO Genetics: Can absorb the traits of other species of ants, allowing them to breed members of other species (so far, though, it only extends to warrior castes, but this will probably be increased late on).
  • Leitmotif: A piano piece, which plays whenever the player is in the Formicarium. Even the combat music for the area is simply an alteration of said piano piece.
  • Original Character: They are completely fictitious, and exist mostly to justify how multiple species of ants exist side by side.
  • The Protagonist: As they lack the mental capacity to be good or evil, this is the best way to describe them.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Seeds, particularly poppy seeds. While all ants can eat seeds, only ereptor actually gather them in large numbers, as it is what the scientists use to feed them.
  • Worker Unit: Their unique unit. Can be upgraded so that they suffer no speed penalty for moving over nursery hexes, or given a damage boost.

Black Ants

Scientific name Formica fusca, these ants are relatively generic among the other breeds in the game.

Wood Ants

Scientific name Formica rufa, these ant are playable in 2.1 and 2.2, and have two types of warriors: melee ants and acid spitters.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Can be upgraded to either have slow but powerful or fast but weak attacks. You can only choose one for your formicarium, and the choice is permaneant.
  • Glass Cannon: The ranged ants do a fair amount of damage, but aren't particularly durable.
  • Shown Their Work: Wood ants mainly subsist on honeydew and other insects. In the missions where you play as them, the primary sources of food are insects killed by the rising tide and honeydew produced by root aphids.
    • In mission 2.1, you start with 3 black ant worker and a dead black ant queen next to you. In real life, a new wood ant queen will secrecty infiltrate a black ant nest, kill the queen, trick the black ant workers to work for it till the first few wood ant broods are born.
  • Stone Wall: The melee wood ants are the opposite of the ranged ones - plenty of health, but with little in the way of damage.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Insect corpses and honeydew.

Leafcutter Ants

Scientific Name Atta cephalotes, these ants will be playable in section three of the game. These have the most different types of ants except for ereptor, being able to create four different types of ants, with the largest being the ones the ereptor can use. They will be added into the game on April 25, 2019.
  • The Big Guy: Among the playable ants, as the variety used by the ereptor colony is the majors, who, for reference, are almost as big as the gene stealer's queen. Ironically, their colonies also have the smallest variety of playable ant, the minims, who are so small enemies cannot target them. You don’t actually create or control the minims yourself - they are automatically created whenever other castes’ nurseries are made, and will carry out certain domestic chores.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Well, relative to the other ants - leaf cutters have massive size difference between their castes, to the point the largest of their warriors are almost as big as an ereptor queen.
  • Extreme Omnivore: They are the only ants in the game to avert this - they can only consume the fungi they cultivate in their gardens. This means no harvesting corpses for food.
  • Foil: To the wood ants.
    • Wood ants are predators whilst leaf cutters are fungivores.
    • The wood ant levels are set on the shores of beaches which constantly flood, while the leaf cutters live in the rainforests of Ecuador yet never get problems from the rain.
    • The wood ant's specialist unit is a ranged acid shooter which, by itself, is a Glass Cannon, and which must be protected by their normal warriors to be used to its true potential. By contrast, the Leaf cutter's specialist unit is a massive Mighty Glacier whose full potential involves using it to protect the other warriors, who can attack faster and more often than the leaf cutter major.
    • Rather ironically considering their preferred food sources, the wood ants are encouraged to play their levels defensively and turtle up to defend their nests, while the leaf cutters are encouraged to be aggressive and take the fight to their enemies, either to stop them form stealing their food or to send the army ants packing.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Just like with the wood ants, leafcutter ant warriors have a choice of two abilities when you unlock them, and the choice is permanent - they can either use taunt or stun.
  • Stone Wall: With a powerful but slow attack, lots of health, and only slightly below average speed, this is their main advantage, excluding whichever ability you chose: they are designed to soak up hits so that your other ants can lay on the hurt.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Fungi, cultivated in their fungus gardens. Notably, it's the only food they can eat, with the devs outright stating that, should they be chosen as the playable ants in Freeplay, the map will replace most food collection spots with leaves that the leaf cutters can harvest.

Slave maker Ants

Scientific name Formica Saguinea, these ants are the only ones that cannot be controlled in the game. They act as the primary antagonists of Mission 1.2.
  • Foil: While the two never meet, they are this to the Gene Stealer Ants, as both use ants from other species in order to survive. Yet while the slave makers do this by stealing larvae from other colonies (which has the downside of forcing them to frequently raid other colonies for more slaves), gene stealers outright absorb the other species' genetics into their own, allowing them to breed other species' warriors from their own larvae.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Subverted, since they lack the intelligence to be truly malevolent, but the Narrator certainly makes them sound evil.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: As they have no unique physical traits, they are not usable in the Formicarium or Freeplay.

Trapjaw Ants

Scientific Name "Odontomachus baurii", known for their incredible bite force, these ants will be one of the enemies faced in Missions 3.1.
  • Foil: To the leaf cutters. Both have incredibly powerful bite forces, but while the leaf cutters use their maws to carve up plants, these ants use their jaws to kill prey.
  • Heal Thyself: When low on health, these ants fling themselves out of battle and heal.
  • Man Bites Man: While obviously not human, these ants are well known for their biteforce - they can close their jaws faster than can be perceived by the human eye. Their bites don't do as much damage as their real life counterpart.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Currently, they are only set to appear in Missions 3.1, and are unlikely be usable by gene-stealer ants in the formicarium. They can be usable by gene-stealer in future side mission though.
    • They also show up as the enemy ereptor colony's basic warriors in the 3rd challenge.

Army Ants

Scientific Name "Eciton Burcheii", one of the most feared ants on Earth, these ants will be the main enemy faced in Missions 3.2.
  • Foil: Are another one to the leafcutters. Both have specialized warrior strains that are important for gathering food, but whilst the leafcutters are fungus farmers, the army ants are migratory hunters.
  • Glass Cannon: All of them - they hit hard, but aren't able to take much damage in turn. Their numbers, and the major's damage increasing Status Buff, though, make this more than enough to win.
  • Scary Teeth: The warriors have what are essentially giant meathooks for mandibles.
  • Shadow Archetype: They're essentially carnivorous version of the leafcutters, down to having an extremely powerful warrior that has an incredibly dangerous bite. Fittingly the enemy ereptor colony uses them instead of Leafcutter Majors in the 3rd challenge.
  • Status Buff: Majors can increase the damage of their allies, by releasing pheromone cloud after fighting for a while, allowing the ants to shred through even leaf cutter majors (who have more than twice their health and plenty of armor) and large insects in a matter of seconds. The cloud was changed into PowerGlows for better game performance.
    • Shown Their Work: In real life, alarm pheromone is produced in their mandible glands. The pheromone is released whenever the mandible is opened for biting, which creates an intense, but short-lived, response by others in the colony, calling more ants to take down the prey.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Currently, they are only set to appear in Missions 3.2, and will not be usable by gene-stealer ants in the formicarium. The devs have stated that their nomadic lifestyle is hard to implement with the current nest-building playstyle.
    • They also show up as the enemy ereptor colony's main damage dealer in the 3rd challenge.
    • The devs have implied they will use these ants as the area challenge for the Rainforest Freeplay map.

Bullet Ants

One of the stretch goals, these ants are known for their incredibly powerful stings. They were unlocked as part of the first kickstarter goal.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Their signature weapon, and one of the most well known examples in the insect family.

Fire Ants

A South American ant species known both for their aggression and using their bodies to build rafts and bridges. They are set to be the fourth major playable ant species in the game. They are planned to have new grabbing and stinging animation, with venom-type damage and the ability to spawn multiple ants from one tile when upgraded.
  • Actually Four Mooks: Multiple fire ants can be spawned from a single tile once fully upgraded.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: They focus on stinging enemies, and have unique animations to go with it.
  • Human Resources: Well, Ant Resources, but again, these ants build bridges and rafts using their own still living bodies.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Their attacks inflict venom-damage, something that is currently only inflicted by wood ants.

    The Humans 

The Scientists

Two scientists observing a colony of Formica ereptor.

The Narrator

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, narrates all non-formicarium related game modes (Missions, Freeplay, and Arena).
  • Narrator of Another Story: While the two scientists study the gene-stealer ants in the formicarium, he is busy examing wild ant species that are just trying to survive.
    • He's also the narrator of Freeplay Mode, and has unique dialogue for that particular avenue of play.
  • The Stoic: The other two scientists have plenty of personality, but he doesn't.
  • The Voice: Justified - if he showed up in person, he'd likely scare the ants away.

    Other Creatures 
The various beasties you will need to fight to survive.


Weevil larvae, these are your primary source of food in Missions 1.1 and 1.2.
  • Harmless Enemy: Are literally incapable of damaging you. They’re meant to be used as food, so this is expected.
  • The Woobie: When every other enemy in the game will kill them if the ants do not, they definitely qualify.

Devil's Coach Horse

A type of beetle, and the first real enemies you encounter.
  • Elite Mooks: The adults are this, being able to take quite a pounding before dying, whilst also being able to inflict confusion on your ants.
  • Mooks: The juveniles are the most common non-ant enemies you will face. They also make a good source of food once you have the numbers and strength to kill them without casualties.


Armored arthropods that show up in Missions 1.1 and 1.2.
  • Harmless Enemy: Are incapable of attacking your ants. They aren’t entirely defenseless, though.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Unsurprisingly. They have very high health and armored, and have the ability to bunker down onto the ground, sacrificing mobility for EVEN MORE ARMOR. Once you have enough ants, though, this isn’t really a problem.

Funnel Web Spider

One of two spiders in the game, their funnels are filled with food, but the spiders are unwilling to part with their meals.
  • Chest Monster: A variation - their funnels are filled with insect remains, but entering them is certain death for a lone ant.
  • Fragile Speedster: Moves fast and can instantly kill one ant, but goes down quickly when faced with a swarm.

Beach Tiger Beetle

One of the fiercest creatures in the game, and the main daytime hazard for Mission 2.1. There young are the hazard for Section 2's challenge mode.
  • Antlion Monster: The larvae - except they can leave their burrows, and can actually be killed when they do so.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: They are used as endgame enemy for many demo levels and as guard for food location in mission 2.1.
  • Lightning Bruiser: They’re tiger beetles, it comes with the territory. Heavy armor and high speed make these guys quite a challenge to take down.
  • Standard Status Effects: Can stun your ants. Numbers helps mitigate this ability’s effect.

Hermit Crabs

A crustacean known to inhabit snail shells, they appear in Missions 2.1 and 2.2.

Beach Wolf Spider

The second of the two types of spiders in the game, and by far the more dangerous of the two.

Root Aphids

Plant eating insects that show up in Mission 2.2.
  • Escort Mission: Must be defended in Mission 2.2 from Ladybirds. They can last the day without support, but if you don’t defend them at night, you’ll likely find yourself down a ranch.
  • Helpful Mook: They make honeydew, which your ants can eat. Of course, you need to protect them if you want to have permanent access to that food source.


Aphid eating beetles, appear as a obstacle to completing mission 2.2.
  • Harmless Enemy: Cannot harm your ants in any way. The aphids your ants farm, however, are not so lucky.

Rove Beetle

A carnivorous variety of beetle that will appear in Missions 3.1 and 3.2.
  • Underground Monkey: Are essentially reskinned Devil's Coach Horse Beetles. Justified, as this is the case in real life - both are members of the rove beetle family. The dev made their model from scratch with significant different from their European cousin though.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Phanolinus Auratus and Plochionocerus fulgens, you don't find much information about these species online.


A type of spider that appear in Mission 3.1 and 3.2.
  • Dirty Coward: Will only attack solo ants/small insects. Everything else is avoided. They even run away at low health.
  • An Arm and a Leg: They drop a leg as distraction at low health and run away.

Jumping Spider

Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Dirty Coward: Will only attack solo ants/small insects. Everything else is avoided.
  • Fragile Speedster: It can easily kill lone ants, but is weak enough to be overpowered by a small group should it be surrounded.

Spiny Devil Bush Cricket

Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: They can inflict damage through their spike when being attacked, while dissing out AreaOfEffect bleeding damage, shredding through your army and resources. You don't want to encounter a swarm of them.

Leaf Mimic Mantis

A rainforest mantid.
  • Heal Thyself: Via eating a smaller enemy. Be sure to overwhelm it with lots of upgraded ants so that it can't heal fast enough to outlast all of them.
  • Mighty Glacier: Annoyingly tanky, combined with the ability to heal thyself and invisibility on map makes them this. Even army ant major can only kill them by staying in group and buffing themselves up. Players are forced to have leafcutter major to be able to deal with them.
  • Nerf: In mission 3.2 on insane difficulty, the number of mantis in later days is so ridiculous that they can take down the entire army ant army by themselves, without lowering the progress bar, forcing the player to quit. Eventhough many players are able to beat the level, they still request a nerf to the mantis stat and spawn rate.
  • Slaying Mantis
  • Stealthy Mook: Can never be seen on the minimap and will only have its health bar shown when engaged in combat.

Whip Spider

An absolutely massive creature, with a large one acting as a sort of Boss Battle in Mission 3.2
  • Bonus Boss: An absolutely massive one can be found in Mission 3.2, hidden under a piece of wood. It will emerge on its own after some time has passed (three nights on normal, two on hard). While killing it isn't necessary to win on mission, it does guard one of the largest leaf providing plants on the map.
  • Kaiju: The giant one is bigger than most uber creatures!
  • Spiders Are Scary: Not really a spider, but certainly scary.

Formosan Termite

One of two arthropods that could be included in the game if the stretch goal of 17500 Euros was reached. They ultimately won out over the European wasp.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The developers' comments on Steam suggest that they may be playable in the future. If this is the case, then they will be the only playable creature in the main game that isn't an ant.

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