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:
Mostly Positive (26 reviews) - 76% of the 26 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (1,896 reviews) - 90% of the 1,896 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 16, 2014

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February 4

Xenonauts 2 confirmed and expected in 2017!

We have now officially confirmed we are working on Xenonauts 2, and we're currently hoping for a 2017 release for the game!

The full statement and some basic details on the sequel can be read here (with more to follow in the next couple of months): http://www.xenonauts2.com

Thanks to everyone that has supported us by buying the first game - the experience we've gained making it and the feedback received from the community should allow us to create something even better second time around!

105 comments Read more


“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
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (26 reviews)
Very Positive (1,896 reviews)
Recently Posted
( 62.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 29
[20$ tier Kickstarter backer]

Yet another x-com remake, this time in realistic-cartoon art-style, streamlined, simplified and with tycoon mechanics being completely cut-out.

Ground combat is pretty standard and since standard is what makes this genre, that means it's good (unlike XCOM, which plays more like JSRPG than TBT). But with smaller scope of the whole game and cutting out of a lot of mechanics from x-com, ground combat is the thing which you will do a lot, so much, that you'll start to use airstrike button to skip it. Which makes lack of auto-resolve button on some other mission-types, like terror, slightly annoying. Chasing aliens on the big map with lots of civilians and slow-thinking AI starts to wear thin after 30th hour.
With new balance and items, you won't be playing with squads of highly trained army-men till the endgame, but with lots of spec-ops assault doods holding riot shield and throwing grenades everywhere, since it's extremely effective.

Meta-game is significantly shrank, compared to the x-com, tech tree is smaller and manufacturing is not constant concern, but used for single time upgrades. Instead of Lord of War simulator, now your whole economy is based on governmental dotations and looting crash-lands. With it all storage management is absent, everything which is not falling in line with developer's vision is automatically sold. Using alien\civillian weapons is possible only during missions and with great penalty, which kinda creates negative possibility space. Same goes for prisoners, everyone is auto-executed, all bodies are destroyed; no more supplying disneyland xenopark with new live exhibits. Even the bases do not become outdated, but automatically upgrade themselves for free.

Air combat features new mini-game, which should be improvement over x-com, but it's so convoluted, cluttered with unreadable GUI and overall unnecessary, that you can just use auto-resolve all the time and fly in bigger squadrons.

Art-style isn't striking or beautiful, but it's that clear, realistic cartoonish look, which is often used in 2d indie tycoon-games, so it makes it peculiar to see it in the different genre. Game works fine in UHD UWS Surround by using pillar-boxing. It's kinda pity to lose all that additional space, but as far as i can remember it works just out of the box. Though it's easier to scroll with keys than with mouse edge scroll because of that.

Technically game isn't in perfect condition, some events are causing crashes, so better to save more often. But overall at least nothing is game-breaking.

Overall it's very streamlined and simplified x-com with not much new mechanics, but it is serviceable and utilitarian, despite being buggy. And most important — unlike XCOM it's not a soapy console movie in the completely different genre, all-while being equally\more buggy but from rich AAA publisher churning out DLCs and not small crumbling indie development team.

Will now wait for aquaxenauts bug-fix-re-skin-expand game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 6.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 29
This game is what happens when you take a competent development team, the classic X-COM, filter out all the '90s stuff, and add some new features.
Standard operating procedure: Build bases, launch interceptors to shoot down UFOs, send teams to assault crashed UFOs, Watch them die in droves to the aliens' superior weaponry
"Naming your soldiers after friends or family makes their deaths more tragic/hilarious."
-Actual tip from one of the loading screens
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 85.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 28
I'm not sure how I ended up putting 82 hours into a single round, but this is a classic and authentic tribute to X-com. The aerial combat is much better, and the cover based system feels better, and right. If you're looking for that fix that only turn based, gritty survival combat can bring, this is worth asking - and even better on sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 19.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 26
Less flashy than XCOM but with all the right stuff - I actually prefer it to XCOM, and that's saying a lot. It has all the best parts like the planning, base building, turn based tactics and air combat elements but the best thing for me is the overall feel of the game, its a good take on the alien invasion scenario with enough identity that makes it feel like more than an XCOM clone (like the setting in 1979; seeing the world divided up as Soviet Union, Indochina etc along with troop backstories showing combat experience in Vietnam/Afghanistan and the awesome music makes the game much more immersive). Basically it feels to me like Men In Black 3, MGS3: Snake Eater and XCOM had a love child.

I *would* however reccomend watching a couple letsplay videos on youtube if you arent used to XCOM/turn based squad shooters, as a bad first impression can ruin any decent game. That being said the game is more than fair, one of the reasons I prefer it to XCOM is that strategy actually works, as opposed to experiencing "that's XCOM, baby" when the RNG decides to f*ck with you. Repeatedly.

Tl;dr - a cold war version of XCOM that doesnt need to be flashy to be awesome.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 1.9 hrs on record )
Posted: July 23
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 76.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
Some tips for playing this game:
1.Play Iron Man mode.
2.Get your veteran team through 30+ missions.
3.Get them the best equipment.
4.Watch them kill each other in the near end missions.
5.Uninstall the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 27.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 18
A worthy successor to the XCOM crown, albeit substantually less glitzy than 2K's reboots.

Still, an enjoyable way of killing a few hours and proof that catching a retro feel doesn't need pixel art style graphics
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: July 12
This game is literally unplayable on my screen, I tried every single resolution available and the text is always way too small to read, It's not just hard, it's impossible to read.

They promised better UI, but that was back in 2013, I just wasted my money on this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Binary Stylus
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 11
I'ts great... But Another game where the aliens NEVER miss but you will fire shot after shot after shot after shot and every time they will miss. It's just not fun to play. I'm 1 and a half hours into this. And my soldiers HAVE NOT landed more than a single, solitary, hit on the enemy. I have had to keep reloading and trying again. I think this is what people call "hard core". Yeah - I haven't even managed yet to get all my troops off the back of the helicopter. It's like that bit in Saving Private Ryan, at the beginning where they are trying to get off the life boat things, except the American's can't hit a thing and they have machine guns, and the germans have a pistol and every shot they fire kills a GI.

All of the XCom games have sort of done this and I've always thought it sucked. The worst were the games in the UFO trilogy. I imagine that this game NEEDS you to have a maxed out Stat squad to stand a chance later on in the game? So you simply CAN NOT tollerate taking a casualty? Is it another of those? Because if you have to replace someone with a Private later on and they come out like this.....

The game has been a hugely dissapointing and not-really-fun waste of an hour and a half so far.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 49.2 hrs on record )
Posted: July 7
This game is wonderful if you prefer X-COM over XCOM, but with Xenonauts 2 nearing release it's hard to recommend this game to any fans of the original. Xenonauts 2 might not fill the niche it needs to, however, so keep an eye on this one.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
460.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 2
I heartily recommend this game once you install several mods:

1. Most important -- the Xenonauts: Community Edition (X:CE) which is an improved version of the original game, including additional bugfixes and various new features that do not fundamentally alter the intended game experience (rather, they just make it play better).

I also used:

2. Skitso's Map Pack
3. Reinforcements
4. Instant Grernades
5. Random Map Pack Artic Collection
6. Random Map Pack Desert Style
7. Khall's More Protraits
8. Khall's Tundra Tileset

The game play is faithful to the original XCOM game. Your primary concern overall is money. You must keep nearly all of the countries satisfied and contributing funds or you will lose. Tips on how to keep them satisfied:

1. Destroy alien bases immediately as they are discovered.
2. Stop terror attacks as soon as they start.
3. Stop bombing attacks as soon as you can.
4. Shoot down as many UFO's as you can.

Radar coverage of the map is key to all these. I used only three bases, leaving only South America uncovered. The loss of South America alone is not too damaging to your funds (I completed the game with almost $2 million in hand) My bases:

1. North Africa. First base, positioned (coords 4822/1707) so that three radar's coverage included all of the african continent, all of Europe including Great Britain, and extending to east into Indochina and the Soviet Union.
2. North America. Positioned (coords 1827/1358) on the North America/Central America border, with radar coverage extending from the artic icecap to cover all of Central America and all of North America with the exception of Alaska.
3. Indochina. Positioned (coords 4574/1527). Coverage of all of Indochina, central Soviet Union, and half of Australia.

Base contents.

North Africa.
1. 3 Radars
2. 4 Batteries
3. 5 Hangers (4 fighters, one troop aircraft)
4. 1 Hospital
5. 2 Research labs
6. 2 Workshops
7. 2 Living Spaces
8. 1 Storeroom

North America
1. 3 Radars
2. 5 Batteries
3. 6 Hangers (5 fighters)
4. 1 Research lab
5. 1 Living Spaces

1. 3 Radars
2. 5 Batteries
3. 6 Hangers (5 fighters)
5. 1 Living Spaces

To build new fighters you transfer one fighter from North Africa to one of the other bases, and then build the new fighter at North Africa. 5 batteries are sufficient to prevent aliens from succeeding in attacking and destroying your bases, so there is no need for soldiers in North America or Indochina.

Major Spoilers for Air Combat
You will need to use manual combat for the air once the alien craft get dangerous because you can't afford to lose your aircraft. Fortunately there is an easy way to do this. When your fighters intercept the alien craft, always select one of the "Follow" options. After a few seconds you can click on your fighters again, and this time select engage. Your fighters will appear directly behind the enemy ship. Turn on all after burners and wait until your craft launch their missles. Immediately stop the battle and set your craft way points so the they fly behind the enemy craft. Once they are clear, click on the X to get them to exit the map.

Bombers are always escorted by two fighters. Use two fighters to lure the alien fighters to the east and west. Have your third fighter move to the tail of one of the alien fighters and shoot it down. Get the second fighter in the same way, then exit. The bomber will now be an easy kill for another of your flights.

Second flights are necessary not only because two are needed for bombers, but also because as the alien craft get bigger and stronger they can not be killed by the six missiles carried by one flight. Only three fighters can be in one flight, but fortunately each base can put mulitiple flights into the air at once. Simply click on the UFO and select intercept, and assign three planes to attack. Then click on the UFO again, and you can assign a second flight to the same UFO.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
Less flashy than XCOM but with all the right stuff - I actually prefer it to XCOM, and that's saying a lot. It has all the best parts like the planning, base building, turn based tactics and air combat elements but the best thing for me is the overall feel of the game, its a good take on the alien invasion scenario with enough identity that makes it feel like more than an XCOM clone (like the setting in 1979; seeing the world divided up as Soviet Union, Indochina etc along with troop backstories showing combat experience in Vietnam/Afghanistan and the awesome music makes the game much more immersive). Basically it feels to me like Men In Black 3, MGS3: Snake Eater and XCOM had a love child.

I *would* however reccomend watching a couple letsplay videos on youtube if you arent used to XCOM/turn based squad shooters, as a bad first impression can ruin any decent game. That being said the game is more than fair, one of the reasons I prefer it to XCOM is that strategy actually works, as opposed to experiencing "that's XCOM, baby" when the RNG decides to f*ck with you. Repeatedly.

Tl;dr - a cold war version of XCOM that doesnt need to be flashy to be awesome.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
52.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 2
I really love & hate this game. The entire premise is fantastic. What I really hate is that aircombat is frustratingly stupid (fighters won't fire their missiles even when they have a lock sometimes). Ground combat has the oddity of even seasoned soldiers overreacting and shooting your own guys when they see an alien. These buggy bits could be argued to be realistic... but only slightly. Also everytime your soldiers are in sick bay and then come back they conveniently forget all the items they were carrying into battle before. I know you can make new roles... but it's all a huge pain in the rear.

You can't lob a friggin grenade anywhere you can't visually see... which is pretty much how grenades are supposed to be used.

The ultimate armored suit doesn't seem to be that effective (pretty sure my guy gets hurt just as much in that thing as out of it.

Berserking is stupid... your guy will decide to turn around and shoot his own people.

Also... no one warned me you could lose countries and not gain them back. Even though the death toll only states there's a few thousand killed. It makes no sense unless the aliens really did cleanse the earth in those places, which they didn't.

This has the makings of a great game. Xenonauts 2 will hopefully improve upon this because the idea is really really great in conception but not execution. Just too many frustrating things (especially the combat that leaves a 95% burst with 0 rounds impacting on target) Also the heavy machine gun should carry about 200 rounds per drum... but you only have 30 rounds per.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
In many ways an impressive game.

With many hours of extremely fun gameplay.
It's a game you should own and should have played.
I finished the game offline and Steam did not count my hours, but I spent probably 80-100 hours playing it.
The first two tries I failed than I played at easy and with a changed strategy.

It's very close to the original XCOM which IMO is a really good thing
as it is still one of the best games to ever have been made.
But the graphic of the original is dated and this game even improves
some over the original.

Because its depth, atmosphere and gameplay.
Many remakes have been tried and failed because they lacked
one thing or the other that made the original so good.

They lacked turn-based rounds, they lacked how high the soldiers
were standing as a tactical part of the game or buildings were not destructible etc.
This game have it all! The music has the exact right kind of atmosphere.
The graphics is not too cartoony as some in the first new XCOM by Firaxis, its just right.

It is not an easy game to remake, as it has a lot of depth but Goldhawk made it
very good and in some ways even improved upon the original.

Also the graphics is much cooler than on the screen-shots.

There is no such thing as a perfect game but this comes close.
What brings it down is the difficulty level of the game.

I played it to the end and when I look back they made the game
a little too hard even on easy, which will cause a lot of frustration.

The best tactics you are supposed to use to complete the game is not
explained. This means that you may end up spending a lot on new weapons
to your soldiers, but that makes it impossible to complete the game which
you will only discover after 12-20 hours later on in the game when you have
lost a country which means you will get too little money to build new bases,
and new airplanes, which means you will lose other countries.

In this way it is old-school and close to the original game, which you could easily
spend 100 hours on and still not manage to complete.

For those that want to avoid having to replay here is a winning strategy:

To be able to complete the game one
strategy is to try and as soon as possible establish three bases with up to 3 radars on
each and with mainly lots of hangars and fighter-jets.
As shooting down UFOs will mean that the countries will raise your income and you will
keep the alien invasion under control and when you attack a UFO with the maximum amount of fighter-jets.
you will almost never lose a plane.

Do not put too much into producing expensive soldier weapons at first.
Do not spend money on missile defense as those are not needed in the first 10 hours of the game.

What is not perfect.
When on missions it is almost
impossible to not get soldiers killed, which later on in the game
becomes frustrating as the soldiers after completing 20 missions
are much better than new recruits.

They aim better, can do much more during a turn and can carry much more.
This makes new soldiers frustratingly bad when you are in the middle of the game.

In order to manage this, you have to either constantly have twice the amount of soldiers
that you cycle through on missions, which is just tedious and also slows down the
leveling up of your soldiers, but could easily
also affects the game in that later on in the game
some of the weapons are very expensive and takes very
long time to produce and if you produce them for every single one of your soldiers you
have wasted money on weapons instead of base upgrades fighter-jets. etc.

One way to save that money is to reuse the same weapon for whatever
soldier that you are sending on a mission, sure it is nice to think of that as a way to save money similarly
as to how governments try to save money, but swapping the weapons before missions just to save money is not
that fun in the long run.

So what you will end up doing later in the game instead of cycling through several soldiers and swapping their weapons is kind of cheating.
You will save very often, almost after every action a soldier has taken,
and if a soldier of yours is shot down you will reload and replay.
Because the game will force you to do so in order for you to know that you
will at least stand a chance of being able to complete it.
The problem is that you can do everything right, you place your soldiers in strategic positions guarding all exits and entrances.
Letting them have time units left to react and fire at any aliens that comes around a corner.
But they still get shot at because an alien can see from a longer distance than you or your soldiers can lose
their mind and start to fire at their own squad.

So even if you do everything right you will lose soldiers in a somewhat unfair way which makes you grow tired
and you feel forced just starting to save often and replay instead.

In that way they should had made the game much easier and more forgiving on Easy.
Easy right now is what you would expect normal or hard to be.

However the game is still extremely fun and entertaining during many many hours.
And for many reasons it is one hell of a game.

One of the things that makes it so is how research works.
Unlike other games you do not know really know what
the result of researching a new technology or interrogating an alien will be.
This makes it hard to stop playing as you find that you just have to research that new
weapon or technology to find out what it is and when you have you find out it is an
awesome new weapon that will toast the aliens. Now you just need to produce that weapon.
Than you get greedy and want all your soldiers to have it so you continue playing and
along the way you discover new things to research and your intelligence will report new
things they have discovered to you.
And just when it starts to get tedious a new element is
The AI of the aliens is also quite good and you will find some of them doing quite smart things later on in the game.
Don't put your squad members to close together or they might throw a grenade at your group!

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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
386 of 397 people (97%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
101.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 22, 2014
I finally completed my first Normal Ironman run in Xenonauts after many rage quits, forced restarts... and forgetting to deactive my C4 explosives only to pink mistify half my squad (way... waayyyy too many times). There were many moments that had me mumbling at my screen in frustration or outright had me getting up from the computer, going to the gym, and lifting things up then putting them down over and over again to get the angst out.

It was incredibly frustrating to have some of my wet-behind-the-ears soldiers survive a few missions and pulverize some Xeno scum, only to watch them get one shot by a well placed shot or devoured by a Reaper I didn't plan for. Cover isn't intuitive (or at least for me it wasn't) and there were multiple times I took position only to watch the alien turn, smirk at me, then plant a plasma bolt square between the eyes of one of my soldiers. Refer back to the rage and lifting portion.

Eventually, after epic (and possibly unhealthy) amounts of nerd rage and QQ'ing over cheating alien scum, how insanely difficult breaching UFOs is (Corvettes! I'm specifically hating on you!), and having to make aggrevating economic decisions... I learned from my mistakes (gasp!), had to learn to accept losses, and got better.

I actually started using squad level tactics like hugging walls, throwing down smoke grenades if I absolutely had to turn a blind corner with no indication of what could be waiting on the other side, NOT sprinting down the middle of the street with my entire squad, then getting upset that I got sniped from a random window, making liberal use of explosives even if it meant I lost some money breaching UFOs, and generally just accepting I'm supposed to be out gunned.

The game is remarkably well paced, freakishly so. Due to the ticker implementation RIGHT when you finally have outfitted your fighter jets or soldiers with the appropriate gear new bigger, badder aliens show up that almost make your hard fought gains obsolete. One step forward, two steps back is a common theme throughout the game that makes you BETTER because you have to actually think about WTF you're doing and why.

I'm a father of three, married, and I have a job that has me at work anywhere from a standard 40 hours a week to almost 60, so it took me a month to get through the game. I guess I could've used the common complaint/logic "I don't have that kind of time" or "I want something I can sit down and beat in a few days" but this was far more rewarding. Yes, there were days where after a 12 hour shift I certainly didn't come home and boot up any games, but the time invested was worth it.

I'm glad I stuck with Xenonauts despite my initial frustrations and will be putting many more hours into it either by tweaking the config file or by downloading mods. I actually tried playing XCOM: EU again and couldn't bring myself to do it.

If you've made it through the wall of text (hurray!) I guess I'd split it into three categories:

The Good:

-Excellently designed game that gives you total freedom, no ♥♥♥♥ty tutorials shall be thrust on you here.

-The pacing is genius! I don't know how long it took them, but the game ups the difficulty at the right moment. (unless you're playing bad, then you'll never catch up)

-Soldiers have no role, you determine what they do based on what equipment you give them. Have a guy with high TU (action points)? Make him your scout! Have a guy with amazing accuracy but maybe his HP is kind of low? Sniper! Found a meat shield with high HP and incredible strength, but he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at point blank range with a fully automatic weapon? Give him a metal shield and let him be a bullet sponge! Or don't do any of those things, it's up to you.

-Aliens appropriately out tech you through out pretty much the entire game. You genuinely feel an overwhelming sense of dread as you play the game.

-You will take losses, but that doesn't mean you'll lose the game. You can have pretty substantial set backs and still come out on top. (kind of like how life is!)

-Using squad level infantry tactics ACTUALLY works and is necessary.

-Well thought out tech tree and research progression.

-You can mod and edit the crap out of the game to your liking.

-Music is well done and adds to the setting.

The Bad:

-Even on Easy this game will be too much for a lot of people. This will be viewed as an "elitist" comment, but I think that's more indicative of the gaming industry as a whole and not to Xenonaut's detriment. Nintendo games were soul crushingly difficult and only had one mode, now many games I can hand my six year old that he can beat without having to read any of the text.

-Still some glitches/bugs, namely shooting through walls. It doesn't happen too often, but it can make a huge difference to how that one map will play out.

-The game doesn't explain a lot of the mechanics adequately. This can amplify frustration or make it more rewarding as you progress, depends on your perspective.

-Mind control late game is a bit out of whack. I thought it added a great deal of intensity and dread, but it was depressing to watch two of my colonels that had managed to survive +30 missions get possessed and murder each other. I think it's a great (and necessary) part of the game, but still needs tweaking in either lower % success rate (which you can do yourself) or a turn delay the same way Wraiths can't teleport and shoot in the same turn.

The Ugly:

-Graphics. Eventually they grew on me, but it was admittedly jarring at first.
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373 of 385 people (97%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
70.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
Xenonauts. It's greatest strength is that it's X-com. It's greatest weakness is that it's X-com.

If you're an older gamer, played the original X-coms, and just wanted them to get a graphics update and maybe some mods on being able to better organise your units and maybe a few updates, look no further. You've found it.

If you don't know what this "X-com" business is about, both X-com and Xenonauts are tactical and strategic games where you defend earth from an alien invasion through a specialised organisation and squad who deals with the aliens.
You'll respond to the aliens by shooting down the UFOs using regular human fighter aircraft, and then landing a squad of soldiers with just plain old human guns near them to clear out the survivors. After that, you'll begin to research better technology. Laser rifles, faster aircraft to take down the UFOs, armour that protects from the alien weaponry, and so on.

You will meet several different kinds of aliens, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and figure out why they're invading. But most importantly, you're going to stop them. You're going to take all their technology and make it your own, and you will end up with several bases across the world to find, and destroy any intruders who push into your atmosphere.

As for the changes between this and X-com, they are mostly good. You have an airstrike option on alien crash sites so that you don't need to do everything or have them expire when you've been too busy dealing with other sites, though it will provide you with far less rewards than if you send in a squad of soldiers. There are new pieces of equipment, such as the shield. You'll no longer need to micromanage every last clip or laser battery in your arsenal and order the construction of small things like two laser batteries - Just keep track of the ones you bring into combat so you don't run out. There are now more involved air battles, along with air terror sites. And cover, along with range, now actually provides a bonus or penalty to your shots. You don't have to worry about this turning into a chest high wall simulator though, it works out well and you don't have to stay in cover. It's just a suggestion that increases your soldiers' lifespan. There are some others but they are mostly positive. One I'd say is slightly negative is that you can not land on a UFO and blast a hole in the ceiling to enter it as you could in the original X-com, though if you never played that game(And even if you did), you might not even notice that option isn't there.

Mechanics wise, it works out very similar to X-com, with an isometric view and tile based map. I've found some maps had too little vertical space sometimes but often this wasn't a big problem, the controls are pretty good, mainly just using your mouse to command your units. It's turn based, with a world map to place your bases on and do your air battles, and a base overview where you can build out your base by modular rooms.
Interestingly, I've found that the difficulty settings actually changes AI behavior, rather than the lazy way of just giving the AI more armour or damage. I'm not sure if it also gives the aliens more stats or makes it more difficult to get money for the player, but the fact difficulty settings actually improve the AI is something that many AAA games completely fail at.

In the end, it's X-com. It has most of the strengths of X-com, but it also has the flaws of X-com. You may need to restart several times if you're new and you might get discouraged. A random lucky shot could kill off your best soldier and send the nearby rocket launcher guy into a berserk panic state right into your own squad. If you're not used to it, you'll wonder just how long the campaign keeps going and it may turn into a game of 'whack-a-UFO' for you with slow or barely noticable progress. Or you may simply not have a clue what's going on until the aliens are already in a better position than you.

Even then, it's a very good game. I would say it's worth grabbing it at some point if you want to see what the fuss is about, or because you want some more of the X-com from long ago (Without looking at Interceptor or Enforcer for now)
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300 of 328 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: February 8, 2014
If you're looking for a game that captured the feeling of the original X-Com then look no further.

With stellar 3d to 2d rendered sprites, an art style and design the is reminiscent of an older generation of games though I think it would be going too far to call it "retro". Its both pleasing to the eye and has excellent clarity, all the information you need at the tip of your eyeballs and fingers to make the best strategic and tacticle decisions to defeat the disgusting xeno threat.

The gameplay is heavily inspired by the bygone days of the past, with enough updates, improvements and modernizations that streamline the drudgery of the past (like the micromanagement intense menu screens of the original X-Com that are themselves evoke thoughts of Dwarf Fortress un-modded) into a lighter area by trimming back the intensity of the learning curve (such as buying ammo, etc) leaving the player with the same amount of depth and variety without leaving newer players in quicksand googling guides.

If you're looking for a game where no one dies, aliens are made of paper and losing is impossible - look elsewhere. Your best men can be cut down like wheat by the advanced alien troops, who can at times seem to be made out of 40ft thick brick walls with angry faces painted on them.

The risk of having your best men enhances the gameplay so much more than I would have thought, I truly cared about each soldier and shook my fist at the alien menace when my important men were gunned down mere feet from the landing craft.

Theres a lot to this game, and if you're still on the fence there are plenty of videos on Youtube of people playing it - go look there and you'll find some great gameplay videos for the most part!

Just be wary, some of the videos are old and may be on outdated builds that have bugs which no longer exist in this release and if I do have anything negative to say about this game its that it isn't a fully polished release and bugs do crop up from time to time, the majority of which aren't gamebreaking but once in a while I've seen a bug cripple someones game despite myself not having seen one.
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299 of 328 people (91%) found this review helpful
69.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 17, 2014
Xenonauts – a remake of a game of old.

UFO: Enemy Unknown is one of the most influential games ever made. This is clearly visible by the amount of games that tried to mimic its gameplay like Altar’s UFO series or UFO Extraterrestrials and XCOM Enemy Unknown to name a few. Still some people were not satisfied by the above and wanted to recreate the know experience to their liking. One such project is Xenonauts.

My first encounter with this game was not a rather positive one. I saw it at a friend. The game was half finished with tons of missing graphics and an unfinished campaign. After this experience I forgot about this game for several months until some sale on Steam and since I had some extra cash I gave the game a second chance (I’m a sucker for his kind of gameplay and own every commercially released UFO game and their clones for PC).

The game itself is almost a direct clone of UFO: Enemy Unknown though there are several differences. Setting wise, the game is set in 1980’s during the cold war. As a bonus to the game you get a free novella in a PDF format, titled “Crimson Dagger” by Lee Stephen, which serves as an introduction to the game setting and describes in detail the first human contact with the aliens (quite a nice read). Apart from the setting, the most obvious difference is seen as soon as you start the game – there is no rotating globe, just a flat map of the earth. Than again the graphic design of the game is very nice, esthetic and functional. The core gameplay is identical to the original – you start with one base, some interceptors, a troop transport, soldiers, scientists and engineers and slowly advance the story by assaulting shot down or landed ufos, researching alien tech, acquiring new weapons, armor, craft and vehicles up until the final mission when you save the earth for good. And this all works pretty well. A nice touch is the casualties counter which track the number of people killed due to alien activities and also the on map reports of various event like forest fires, tidal waves, strafing runs ets. which might help to track a ufo outside of radar range. Some people might not like that certain parts of the game are more streamlined. There is no need to buy the basic weapons or ammunition, for both soldiers and jets. All is provided free and in unlimited quantity. Furthermore, jets have a fixed set of armaments per jet type and all upgrades to weapons installed on them are done automatically after researching certain technology, also free of charge. This take a lot of base management of ones mind though it comes at a price in ingame currency. First, funds are scares and getting stuff from ufos for sale is a must. Second, loosing a country is quite easy as building a new base is expensive, not to mention the prices for manufacturing new craft, armor or weapons for you troops. Furthermore, there is no possibility of self funding your efforts by selling weapons that you manufacture as the selling prices are way below the production costs.

As for the combat part of the game, there are two types – dog fighting ufos in the air and ground combat in the form of assaulting grounded ufo, alien bases or defending cities in terror missions. The air combat is the part I like the least about this game. Its done with a pseudo radar view of the situation where a squadron (1 to 3 jets) you sent to deal with a ufo is under your direct command in an RTS like manner. You have to manage the position of your craft, range of your and enemy weapons, represented by cones projected from craft silhouettes, fuel reserves and craft health. The key it to either take out the enemy with your long range missiles or to try to get you planes in the ufo’s blind spot and use you short range weapons. If you get in trouble you can press special keys to dodge incoming fire or use the afterburners to fly quicker but use more fuel. If things get nasty, you can order your jets off the combat field and run away. All in all I’m very glad that the creators of the game gave players the option to auto resolve this part of the game. For me it’s a blessing as I really didn’t like this particular air combat system.

The ground combat, on the other hand, is done extremely well. The graphics are sharp, clean and present different types of object on the map in a way that players will immediately understand. The animations of units, both your and aliens are nicely done and you rarely have problems distinguishing units one from another. Terrain sets are varied and depict farmlands, cities (in Eastern European, US and middle east styles), military bases, forests and sub-polar regions. The alien craft themselves are varied and interesting on their own. The combat itself is done in turns using a time units system for performing actions. What is nice is that the game will inform you how many points an action costs before performing it (e.g. little numbers by the target indicator before a shot is fired) or how many time units will be left after moving a desired distance. Furthermore, a cover system is implemented, not unlike the XCOM Enemy Unknown, which has to be always taken into consideration when positioning your troops. It works by reducing chance to hit a target that is obstructed by a peace of cover, be it a bush, a fence or a fridge inside a kitchen (the game show which objects reduces the to hit chance by how many %). But its done only when you actually want to take a shot and you never know how good your soldiers cover actually is. Another interesting feature is the suppression system. Every weapon has a chance of suppressing an opponent and machineguns excel at that. A suppressed unit immediately looses all time units it currently had (especially dangerous when your soldier is suppressed by reaction fire), and on their next turn their starting time units are reduced by half. Add riot shields to the mix, which soak up damage very nicely and leave one hand free to fire a pistol or use a stun baton, and you can get a lot of combat options unavailable even in other remakes. On the down side, grenades have no primer regulation. Regular ones explode at the end of the turn while smoke or stun ones immediately after they land on the ground. Additionally, in certain situations the units can get behind object which the game engine does not make transparent. This is annoying as it is difficult to position your men to you liking or you can just “loose” them on the battlefield and not use them for a turn or two. But still, tactical combat should satisfy most of the old UFO fans. As with the air combat, there is also an option not to go and clean up a shoot down ufo and just air strike it. This way you get a fixed amount of cash, dependent on the ufo type. The downside is that you don’t get any special resources from the ufo and after performing a ground mission you always get more cash.

Lastly, sound and music. As for the sound design all is done OK. Every alien, weapon, action has its own distinct sound and after w few hours into the game you will know what happened just by the sound produced, which is especially important in ground combat missions. The part that made a really big impression on by was the music, especially the one in tactical missions. For some time I was looking for a good modern version of the track played on the original – this creepy midi, with a heart beat motif and loads of strange sounds accompanying it. Well, Xenonauts delivered 11 very good tracks made by Aleksi Aubry-Carlson which you can linsten here . Ground Combat Day 2 is the one I had looked for.

All in all I am really happy with my purchase of Xenonauts. It’s a very good take on the classical UFO formula, faithful to the original concept but still bringing its own setting and story that drive you forward to uncover the alien secrets and save the earth once more.
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836 of 998 people (84%) found this review helpful
61 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
135.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2015
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...

<edit> Before we go any further, I want to add a little edit since many of the comments are critical about how I can thumb down a game even though I have 120 hours into it - The short answer is: I should really like this game, it seems perfect on paper, but I didn't and I wanted to know _why_.

♥♥♥♥ 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.

Oh, and sidenote - dread is the worst game mechanic ever introduced.
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168 of 180 people (93%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 17, 2014
X-Com not X-Commy enough for you?

We're going back to our roots here. No fancy 3d graphics hogging your resources. Ain't no voice actors here, just 100% pure, uncut, grade A tactile turn based combat.

Hire people based off stats, Assign them based off stats. Equip them with stolen alien tech to improve their stats. Build up your base to increase stats. Stats everywhere.

I really like how when you're inching a dude forward and then set him in prone, you can move him again if another guy uncovers an alien that suddenly has him vulnerable if he has enough points left, all in the same turn.

Their system really helps make the combat feel forgiving while remaining engaging and fun. You can afford to take some risks which makes the combat feel faster and more fluent then typical tactical turn based games.

There isn't really a whole lot to say here, you know the formula and these guys executed it well. Great combat, music and graphics... just an all around stellar title. Be sure to pick this one up.
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