Xenonauts is a strategy game in which you control a multi-national military organisation defending a Cold War-era Earth from alien invasion, using small squads of persistent soldiers to eliminate the extraterrestrials and recover their technology in turn-based ground combat.
User reviews: Very Positive (1,641 reviews) - 91% of the 1,641 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 16, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"With deep strategic systems, omnipresent dread, and clean turn-based combat, Xenonauts is a triumph of rebooted game design."
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Recent updates View all (34)

October 6

Mac / Linux Builds Updated

Just a quick note to say there's been a further patch to the Mac / Linux native builds that were released last week, bringing them up to V1.60.

This should address some bugs that were only affecting the Mac / Linux builds, the most annoying being the crashes / freezes during the alien turn that were making the game unplayable for some. Initial reports seem to suggest that the majority of these issues are now fixed but the porter is continuing to work hard on the stability of the new ports.

If you're a Windows user, your version of the game will remain at V1.59 as all the fixes have been made to the port rather than the actual game code. You're therefore not missing out on any gameplay updates as a result of being on V1.59.

Please keep us posted about any issues you're having with the Mac / Linux builds on the forums and we'll do our best to resolve them for you!

0 comments Read more

September 29

Native Mac / Linux Builds!

Xenonauts now has native Mac and Linux ports available rather than the WINE-wrapped Windows version that we previously used as "ports" for these platforms. These have been produced by a porter who works with the Humble Bundle team and are not directly being produced by us.

This is obviously great news and we've just made these versions available on Steam (the WINE builds are available in the Legacy branch). Unfortunately, these ports are still a work in progress and the porter is still busily working on making them fully stable.

If you're trying the new native ports and you're struggling with bugs - sit tight, more updates are incoming!

Hopefully we'll be done with the worst of the bugs by the weekend, but if you're really having problems then perhaps give the old WINE builds on the Legacy branch a go as they are known to be largely stable ... despite being a bit fiddly to set up!

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“The result is a deeply engaging, indie version of an alien invasion that stands toe-to-toe with X-COM—the classic and the reboots.”
85 – PC Gamer

“Xenonauts is a faithful modernization of a classic. It retains the features that made X-COM such a tense and memorable game, with base invasions and a gigantic open-ended campaign of depth and freedom. If Firaxis' revamped take on the series felt a little too directed and linear for you, then Xenonauts is likely to delight.”
80 – Strategy Informer

About This Game

Xenonauts is a strategy game in which you control a multi-national military organisation defending a Cold War-era Earth from alien invasion, using small squads of persistent soldiers to eliminate the extraterrestrials and recover their technology in turn-based ground combat. A detailed strategic layer allows you to co-ordinate the defence of the planet, using your interceptors to shoot down UFOs and researching captured artefacts to learn about your foes and unlock new combat equipment to use on your missions.

Xenonauts is a spiritual successor to the classic X-Com strategy games from the 1990s. We aim to improve the graphics, add new content and streamline the interface whilst still retaining all of the key mechanics of the original games. Devoted fans should love this game, but we're also keen to introduce the joys of old-school grand strategy to a whole new generation of players who might not otherwise experience it!

Please note that the native Mac / Linux versions of the game are still in beta, however older WINE-wrapped "ports" are available and known to be stable whilst development of the native ports is still ongoing.

Key Features

  • Ground Combat: Xenonauts delivers tense turn-based combat across realistic, varied and fully-destructible battlefields, against almost fifty different variants of enemy. Missions range from capturing crashed UFOs or alien bases to defending cities (or even Xenonaut facilities) against alien attack. You'll experience the chill of encountering a new alien for the first time and the joys of test-firing a new weapon for the first time. Deeply asymmetric combat keeps the battles interesting - after all, you're fighting intergalactic invaders with 1970's ballistic technology!
  • Strategic Management: You will also be managing the defence of the planet, dealing with the invading alien UFOs with your customisable interceptors. You need to balance the needs of your funding nations with your own. Your funds are limited - are you going to spend them on battlefield equipment, more scientists, or expanding your coverage of the planet? Your priorities must be balanced carefully if you are to win the war.
  • Research Tree: Xenonauts has an extensive research tree with almost a hundred projects to unlock, each with its own unique description and painted artwork. It slowly reveals the intentions and origins of the invaders, while also unlocking new battlefield equipment, aircraft and vehicles for you to use as you harness alien technology and turn it against them.
  • Persistent Soldiers: Soldiers in Xenonauts are persistent from mission to mission, improving their stats and gaining ranks with combat experience - but their deaths are always only a single bad move away. You will grow to care about the brave men and women under your command as they slowly grow from green rookies into hardened veterans, but that only makes it more painful when their heroic tale is cruelly cut short by a burst of plasma fire...
  • Detailed, Emergent Simulation: Xenonauts contains no scripted missions, just broad rules setting the pace of the invasion. As such, no game plays out the same twice. If you shoot a Scout UFO down over a polar area, you get a Crash Site mission where you can capture a crashed Scout UFO in an Arctic tileset. Commence a battle at night and you'll be fighting the mission in the darkness with reduced sight range. If your base is attacked, you fight the defence in a perfect replica of your base. A lot of time has gone into weaving the two very different halves of the game together into something that feels both natural and enjoyable.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS:Windows 8 / 7 SP1 / Vista SP2
    • Processor:Intel 2 GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive:3 GB HD space
    • Sound:Integrated
    • Monitor:1280x720 pixels minimum
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant Video Card
    • Hard Drive:Solid State Hard Drive
    • OS:OSX 10.6 or better
    • Processor:Intel 2 GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive:3 GB HD space
    • Sound:Integrated
    • Monitor:1280x720 pixels minimum
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant Video Card
    • Hard Drive:Solid State Hard Drive
    • OS:Any Linux distribution since 2010
    • Processor:Intel 2 GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive:3 GB HD space
    • Sound:Integrated
    • Monitor:1280x720 pixels minimum
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant Video Card
    • Hard Drive:Solid State Hard Drive
Helpful customer reviews
104 of 111 people (94%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
109.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 22
I think that one of the best ways to define Xenonauts is as a "spiritual remake" of X-Com: UFO Defense. By that I mean that the developers attempted to recreate the original X-Com as faithfully as possible (while at the same time improving on the classic's flaws) but had to use a different setting, considering they don't own the rights to the X-Com franchise (hence the "spiritual" aspect). What is the result of said remake? Simply put, the best X-Com game that I have ever played. Xenonauts succeeds admirably at perfecting the formula that made the original game a timeless classic, and while it does have a few flaws, it is nonetheless a fantastic turn-based strategy game. It also brings forth a very nice artistic design, and streamlines the original's cumbersome UI, thus successfully bringing the original concept into the modern era of gaming.

In Xenonauts, you act as the commander of the titular organization tasked with defending the Earth against an alien invasion set in a Cold War-era setting. The game is divided into three separate components: a real-time administration simulation with 4X and sandbox elements where you manage the bases of your organization (assigning all kinds of tasks such as research, manufacturing of equipment, and building of annexes) and monitor for UFO activity in a map of Earth; a real-time with pause minigame where you engage UFOs with your interceptor aircraft; and a turn-based strategy component where the actual combat against the aliens happens. This last mode is where the meat of every X-Com game lays, and in the case of Xenonauts, I'm happy to state that said combat missions are every bit as challenging, tense and satisfactory as they were in X-Com: UFO Defense. Furthermore, the turn-based combat has been largely improved from the original, featuring more deep, complex mechanics, a wider array of weaponry and artifacts, and a healthy dose of streamlining where it was needed.

You have to keep in mind that this is a very challenging and difficult game. Every choice you make has consequences, and actions are irreversible. Furthermore, if you play on Ironman (a mode which I recommend activating from your very first playthrough, as these kind of games are clearly designed to work that way) you will not be able to reverse to a previous save state. You'll have to learn to go on with your choices, both good and bad, and I can't emphasize how fulfilling it is to achieve victory in these conditions. Remember though that if one of your soldiers dies, they're gone. Forever.

A rather notorious addition that Xenonauts made to the X-Com formula is the air combat. As I mentioned earlier, this is a real-time with pause minigame where you direct your aircraft against the UFOs in a radar-like interface, trying to maximize the damage you deal to them while avoiding their deadly attacks as much as possible. While I think this mode is far from perfect, as many times I felt it was a bit shallow, it is nonetheless a huge leap from UFO Defense's barebones interception system, and I think it succeeds in getting the job done.

The only real complaint I have with Xenonauts is with the way that psionic attacks works. This was a huge flaw in the original X-Com, as psionic abilities were hugely overpowered. In Xenonauts, they tried to fix this by making psionics unavailable to humans and making it a bit less powerful in aliens. Unfortunately, the result is that many times you feel completely powerless against psionic attacks, as there's no research that allows to counter it (something like the Mind Shields in XCOM: Enemy Unknown would have helped a lot in making it a fairer mechanic). Still, it's not a game breaking flaw, and the game it's still an excellent one even with the annoyance it poses.

At the end of the day, I don't see any reason not to recommend this game to everyone interested in a deep, complex, and tactical experience. For classic X-Com fans, this is a no-brainer, and for newcomers the lower difficulties are forgiving enough to make learning the basics of the game a smooth experience (keep Ironman mode activated though, that's the way to play this, in my opinion). Go for it.
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33 of 38 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
128.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
First off, air combat is great - I mean, finally - this has always been a very important part of these games and it irked me that XCOM 2012 pretty much ignored it. Here it's way more important, plays better, and has a much better consequence spiral.

I wanted to like this game - I have hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in the original X-COM games. I've finished TFTD on superhuman ironman. I've played a ballistics only UFO Defense... I even made my way through XCOM Interceptor...

♥♥♥♥ this game though - and for one simple reason - the Aliens always know where you are. And this isn't the X-COM: EU type of alien squadsight where if they see one troop, they can see all your troops. This is where if you are within range of an alien, even one that's never looked outside the UFO, it triggers a special AI. This is the kind where if you have a wall between you and an alien, the alien will be facing you through the wall.

Remember how in TFTD there would be those little closets where aliens would get stuck because of a pathing bug? And to kill that last alien you'd have to either eat up its reaction fire with rookies or blow through the walls from another direction? Well, this is half of the aliens in this game. And you can't blow through the walls. UFO breaches, depending on the layout, are either brutal or tedious. Most of the time the aliens will just sit behind the door in their command center, full TUs, waiting to reaction fire as soon as you make a move. And that's nothing compared to alien base assaults.

Jesus effing Christ - the beginning of the assault are fun - about a third of the aliens on the map will make their way to the LZ and try to push you out. The next phase is classic XCOM - carefully make your way to the control room, removing opposition as you go. The last phase is just mind-numbing tedium - 1/3 of the aliens in the base are sitting in a single room, barely moving so they can keep their TU high for reaction fire. Problem is that there's something like a 60% chance that if they hit your fully armored guys, they will kill you in one hit. They, on the other hand - take 3-5 hits, on average to take out. Now, add in the lovely 'Dread' effect and half your team will have 30% of their TUs removed. Just 'cause. It's like they combined the worst parts of all the XCOM games - Alien PSI spam, Lobstermen Bullet Sponges, XCOM 2012 projectile/cover dynamics, Apocalypse AI camping - and they put it all into a single room.

Then we can talk about LOS issues - they are everywhere. The number of times I have gotten shot (or have shot) through a wall is ridiculous. Or aliens shooting through solid obstacles from the fog of war. Or sitting in the middle of a roof and having an alien along the wall of the building be able to hit me. How about trying to throw a grenade over a knee-hgh wall, only to realize that you don't *throw* grenades so much as you fire them in a direct line from your chest.

Moving past the map issues, the way ballistics work is just broken. In the original X-COM, you shoot a bullet, it will fly in a straight line until it hits something (Wall, scenery, alien, back of your team mate's head) or it goes off the map. It's simple, it worked - your accuracy percentage was your chance to hit a target at 20 tiles, that accuracy determined the size of the cone the bullets leaving your weapon would travel. The game didn't care what you were shooting at, just put the bullets in that cone and they did what they did - whether it was boring a hole through a house or taking down a floater. Here, you have a) a chance you'll hit the alien (XCOM 2012) and b) a chance to hit anything in the way. (XCOM 94)

Let's say that you're shooting at an enemy with a LMG. There's a bale of hay between you and the enemy, but you know that your LMG can shoot down that hay bale if you get 2-3 shots into it. So, you force target the alien and the first 3 rounds of your 10 round burst do indeed destroy the obstacle between you and the bad guy. You expect to see the 7 remaining bullets proceed to kill or even just supress the alien on the other side. Unfortunately, the remaining 7 rounds just *poof* disappear, stopping where the hay bale used to be because that chance to hit an alien is determined before the first shot is made. That's the XCOM 2012 binary hit / miss calculation ♥♥♥♥ing everything up. Even if you have a clear path between you and the alien, the bullet will still disappear at the alien's square and you'll get a *miss* text pop up over the alien's head. It won't continue past them on these occasions, possibly hitting the explosive barrels on the tile directly behind them, just another *poof*. That game said you had 95% chance to hit that alien, and even if your bullet had perfect dead-center trajectory, that 5% will kick in and eat that bullet.
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22 of 28 people (79%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
67.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 9
Xenonauts is an alien fighting game where you play the CEO of an organisation outside of any secret intelligences the earth posses. You have been assigned to fight the impending invasion. You'll start off with ordinary weapons and aircraft, your only advantage is the planets atmosphere and the manoverability of your aircraft -- the aliens haven’t quite developed their ships to handle these conditions... yet.

You'll manage a handful of scientists and engineers as well as an army of special forces. Bring down the ships, salvage the resources and research new technologies. Capture and interrogate the aliens to work out their motive. Stop the invasion!

Xenonaughts is a top down strategy based game with a dynamic storyline; expect to do quite a bit of reading as the game progresses and you discover more about the alien technologies and the invasion in general.

This game is not for people looking for something mindlessly fun and quick to play. You will need to contribute many hours into Xenonaughts to experience its full potential. It's a 'seriously-fun' game for people who love strategy and get a kick out of having full control of everything.
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16 of 22 people (73%) found this review helpful
39.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
Xenonauts is a quite fun turn-based strategy, closely similar to XCOM.

++The A.I. is very smart on higer difficulties.
++Nice 2.5D eye-pleasing graphics.
++Absolutely no P2W.
+Detailed air combat: Control your planes. Ability to disallow use of certain weapons, too.
+Excellent cover system, akin to XCOM.
+It's the Cold War: You won't have advanced weapons. This is true in Xenonauts, as you start with quite weak 1960's era weapons.
+Weapon technology: Once you get more advanced, you get better weapons.
+Amazing autopsy system: You can see the insides of every alien, robot and organic, and even study them.
+Amazing research trees. In-depth research trees with about 100 projects to research.
+True-to-the biome maps: Artic tileset on Artic biomes, Desert tileset on Desert biomes, etc.
+Cold War airplanes, and more: As you get more advanced, your planes get more advanced, too.
+/-The A.I. is quite dumb on Easy-Normal difficulty.
-Sometimes-dumb plane AI. I had a plane circle a Corvette, not firing its' torpedos.
-Crashes: The game will sometimes crash when you start a mission.

Conclusion: This is my first detailed review, and I hope it's good. I cannot give enough praise for this game: it is absolutely brilliant. In my opinion, it is DEFINENTALLY worth the 24.99$.

Final Rating: 9.8/10.

Edit: grammarfix
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
62.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 5
This is the only faithful remake of the original 1994 game UFO: Enemy Unknown (aka X-COM: UFO Defense). It has numerous flaws, but in the end it captures enough of the original X-COM magic to be well worth playing. (The recent Firaxis game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is an excellent game in its own right, and probably a better game, but is not faithful to the original X-COM formula.)

The game improves on the original X-COM in several ways. It helps reduce end-game grind by allowing you to skip the ground combat after shooting down a UFO, in exchange for greatly reduced rewards. It eliminates the X-COM problem of having to laboriously track down the final alien. It updates the interface to more modern standards of user-friendliness. It adds a proper cover system (albeit a frustratingly bad one). It adds an air combat mini-game to make shooting down UFOs more interesting. And, it adds some mod support to the game. Soldier advancement is pretty well-designed too, allowing rookies to get better without you having to force them into dangerous situations so they can get kills, although I think the original X-COM was okay in this respect.

Unfortunately, the flaws are many.

The AI is quite stupid. Aliens (and civilians) often run around in circles, or run back and forth through a fire until they die. Your squadmates don't seem to care about friendly fire during reaction fire, so if they have a 25% chance of hitting an alien and a 65% chance of hitting a teammate, they'll still take the shot. You want to keep your machine-gunners behind you because they're not very flexible, but then you have to worry about them slaughtering a team member if they decide to do reaction fire. Or, you want your infantry to advance behind a tank for cover, but they might shoot and blow up the tank trying to hit an alien on the other side. And there's no way to disable reaction fire to avoid this.

The cover system appears nice at first, but it's quite bad. It's just nonsensical what kind of objects can block your shot or grenade. If you're next to a tall box, and on the other side of the tall box is a short box, you can shoot over the tall box but the short box will block your shot even though that's impossible. Etc.

There are unforgiveable flaws in the game simulation. If you know an alien is on the other side of a flimsy fence, you might think "time to blast through it with my machine-gunner", but no. The first bullet may destroy the fence, and the other nine bullets will just hit the empty space where the fence used to be. This makes machine-gunners far less useful, since they can't punch through obstructions to hit enemies behind. Also, there's no gravity. A favorite tactic of mine in the original X-COM was to get the drop on enemies by blasting a hole in the ceiling and dropping in on them. In Xenonauts, you can make a hole, but you won't fall through. Even with a big hole, you can just walk around in the air where the floor used to be. (Similarly, if you kill a flying enemy, its corpse will just float in the air.)

Other, less important omissions from the simulation that existed in the original X-COM: no negative effects from smoke inhalation, temporary unconsciousness, etc. Also, sometimes in Xenonauts, you can see through walls. So presumably the aliens can see you through walls.

The maps are small, few, and not randomized, unlike the original X-COM which had random maps. You'll see repeat maps pretty often by the end of the game. The ground is entirely flat, unlike the original X-COM which had hills and whatnot. The alien ships are linear and thus safer to assault compared to the original X-COM ships which could be quite treacherous.

The game fails to capture the tension and fear from the original X-COM, at least for me. When you start the original X-COM, you have 14 men (with the least-upgraded transport ship). Before you even exit the transport ship, plasma bolts start flying your way. You can't even see who's shooting at you. Your men are dying. You're diving for cover, or trying to. The aliens are blasting your cover apart. Gotta find new cover. Shoot back, or keep moving?? Finally, you get to a good spot or kill the immediate attackers. Three men are dead, and two are wounded. And now you can start trying to complete the mission... The aliens in the original X-COM are dangerous. They can see further than you, their weapons are devastating, and they frequently ambush you. In Xenonauts, I never really felt threatened in the same way. The aliens aren't very aggressive, they can't see further than you, and there isn't as big of a difference in weapons. You never have to fight in the dark, and almost never in buildings. You can fight every mission in daylight. As a result, it's easier than X-COM and it doesn't feel as satisfying to turn the tide of the war because you don't start so far behind. That said, there's an iron-man mode, which should help add some of the missing tension back into the game.

Alien psionics are devastatingly random. There is no way to effectively defend yourself against them. No matter how strong-willed your men are, no matter how high their morale, health, etc., they will frequently be mind-controlled or worse. Combined with the fact that psionics don't require line of sight, it's just frustrating rather than fun, especially if you want to play iron-man and can't reload the game.

The game lags even on a modern system sometimes. For instance, after I added a hovertank to my team the game started lagging pretty noticeably.

The developers seem a bit incompetent. When flaws like those mentioned above were pointed out (e.g. why the cover system was so bad), they said they couldn't fix them because "it's too hard". X-COM did many of these things better in 1994, and many other games do them better today, so I think if it's too hard it's because the developers aren't good enough at their jobs. (Also, I've been programming for decades so I know something about what things should and shouldn't be hard to do.)

In addition, there are numerous small bugs, but they're not too annoying and at least the game seems stable. It has never crashed for me.

In spite of all those problems, if you're a fan of the original X-COM, I believe you'll enjoy this game.
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