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:
Recent:
Very Positive (15 reviews) - 80% of the 15 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (1,818 reviews) - 90% of the 1,818 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 16, 2014

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Recent updates View all (38)

August 8

Xenonauts V1.65 Stable Released!

This is a brief update, as we've pushed V1.65 from the Experimental branch to the Stable branch.

I've post the patch notes from V1.65 Experimental below so you can see what has changed, but the main reason we've pushed this update to Stable is that there's a Windows 10 specific bug that is fixed by V1.65 which is affecting some of our users.

We'll be monitoring V1.65 to see if it causes any additional problems (in which case we'll roll back to V1.64 and let people who want to keep it opt in to the Experimental branch), but we think all will be well. Please let us know if you see any new issues appearing though!

Changes:

  • Miss shots should no longer go through walls; the trajectory code has been updated so they should only hit tiles that a "hit" shot would be able to hit.
  • Grenade scatter calculation updated, so "miss" throws can actually miss by a meaningful amount. This applies to both Xenonauts and aliens throwing grenades.
  • Stunned zombies (which appear dead) will no longer spawn zombies. This will eliminate the bug where Reapers apparently spawn from thin air, and occasionally were also invulnerable for reasons that remain unclear
  • Damage from base defence turrets now correctly reduces the number of attacking aliens it fails to destroy an attacking UFO.
  • Soldiers now gain Bravery from taking suppression damage, as it was virtually impossible to train up before.
  • Soldier Strength now updates correctly, as there was a bug in the formula before.
  • Manufacturing screen now displays the number of required items in your stores when previewing a project, rather than just the number of required items.
  • Saviour Medal and Crux Solaris medals can now be awarded and displayed correctly.
  • Alien bases are now correctly destroyed if you blow the Cores and then suffer a squadwipe.
  • Fixed an issue in the air combat where the aircraft throttles would sometimes not work properly.
  • Geoscape performance has been optimised on some systems.
  • Game startup speed has been improved.
  • Fixed crash when a building collapses with a drone inside.
  • Minor revisions to game manual.

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Reviews

“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

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant Video Card
    • Hard Drive:Solid State Hard Drive
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant Video Card
    • Hard Drive:Solid State Hard Drive
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • 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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Recent:
Very Positive (15 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (1,818 reviews)
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1,355 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Recently Posted
Choco
150.2 hrs
Posted: September 21
Holds true to the original x-com and improves on it immencely, if you find the x-com reboot unsatifiying,this is the game for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
apavlides24
37.9 hrs
Posted: September 12
I haven't played any of the X-COM, or XCOM games at all, but I like squad tactics games. And this is it. It's a tad too hard in my opinion at normal difficulty for the casual gamer, especially terror missions but easy difficulty is too easy.
So far, I like and enjoy it, using a couple of mods.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Shovel Knight
62.1 hrs
Posted: September 11
Xenonauts is a new take on the classic X-COM. You can expect the same style of gameplay, with a few different twists on weapons, environments, etc.

As someone who has invested hundreds of hours in the original games, this game is a very well done spiritual successor.

I don't know that the game has the same replay value of the original, though the game is well worth the price of a full AAA title. Expect 45-65 hours of gameplay to get through the campaign.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Scott the Rawk
64.0 hrs
Posted: September 10
1st I am an avid fan of xcom. I'm no ironman impossible but I do love iron man classic. Xenonauts is a very classy, deeper version of that game. It doesn't have the 3d rendering of xcom, but in exchange it has greater control of every aspect of gameplay. 3 thumbs up!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Copperhead
92.9 hrs
Posted: September 10
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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
twoodjr
85.8 hrs
Posted: September 2
This game is broken do not buy frequent crashes and game breaking glitches.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
34 of 36 people (94%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
215.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 31
Xenonauts is all about patience. For my first hundred of hours I was just learning the ropes here... and I have nothing to say against the accusations for this game being too unfair and too repetative.
Firaxis XCom with LongWar? Pff! In Xenonauts, every session is longer. It usually takes more than 150-200 ground battles in one game, (almost) no matter the difficulty level. And yeah, the variety of elements for scenery is quite low, so, while there will not be exactly the same maps - after you've play 2-3 battles on the each continent, you may pretend you've seen them all.
Now, the difficulty. It feels just as in the Civilization games on the highest levels. The enemies will be doing same things way better. Progress speed, amount of units, their stats - especially accuracy - all this is certainly and clearly NOT balanced fairly.
So, before any other notes, I felt should tell you about it. You'll fell alot there. The price of every mistake is very high, yet quite often there is no other way than sacrifice some to save at least something. It hurts, but it's a war.

As of the game in general, it has many downsides, and the worst of it, you can get tired in no time. Deficit-ridden budget, lame weaponry, weak recruits, freakingly low speed progress - the world is going into abyss, and it seems there's nothing you can do about it. It's that kind of tireness when you're getting discouraged and lay your hands down.
So, to actually play this game, to like it at some level, you gotta be one of those stubborn people who don't know how to give up. And... read manual, it really helps!
For instance, when I've found that I can form the wings of my fighters rather than send them one by one - it was so huge leap forward, that it raised up the torch of my fading interest, and I finally made it behind the first half of the game, onto Corvettes and some other serious shift.

Does it feels like the old-good XCOM? More or less. The global map and strategy elements are certainly parsecs ahead of that Firaxis botchery. The air battles are almost just as good as old series... even if bugged sometimes, so "autoresolve" remains the best option. The ground fights, however... are certainly lacking something. If you're a deep fan of the XCom Enemy Unknown, and not the squad-sized TBS in general - you'll certainly be disappointed. Shootouts there are ten times less fascinating. You'll moving much more than shooting - only by maneuvers you'll have the possibility to even to odds. As aliens there are always the defending party - they'll know from where you're coming, they're already aimed and covered from the start. Good thing is that you can create routes, by blasting through walls, and other obstacles...

Well, there are too much to say, and little space to do so. Let's summarize.

Am I recommending the Xenonauts? Yes. But, there are many chances you'll not like it EVEN if you like the squad-based tactical games in general. It's not "the way to banish boredom", but a big, unfair challenge to save the world from killing squatting space invaders. Prepare for the worst, but try to win!
As of usual marks, I'll say, 7.8/10 at current state. Would give it more, would there be less engine crushes, or more realistic background details.
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9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
31.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 29
I do think Xenonauts is, in technical terms, a very well made game. However from a personal perspective I didn't enjoy it all that much.

Xenonauts is tedious. Most battles tend to feel the same which is in part due to the minimal number of lackluster maps (mods may at least provide some more variety).
Losing is extreamly punishing. When a team is wiped not only is funding lost but also any of the very expensive gear the team may have been carrying. A very motivated player could probably manage this and even find it engaging. Others will be bored by it.

The game does at least provide far more depth than the modern revitalisation of XCOM.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
46.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 31
Very good remake of the classic X-COM: UFO Defence. Better in all ways. I especially like the new approach to air combat: you can manually command up to three aircraft in an air battle. Offcourse, the air battle is 2 dimmensional, but it better then the system in original game.

Also there are good mods from Steam Workshop - try out the Community Mod.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
110.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 8
It's quite an okay clone of the original 20th century X-COM games, but it doesn't really do a very good job of capturing the original game's flair. Also, the impossible difficulty is really impossible here. I like to play on the hardest game setting, but the extent of the enemy superiority on impossible in this game is really frustrating.

Still worth playing, but I'd probably wait for a sale.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
151.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 26
A deep stratergy and challenging game. It seems well built with clever mechanics and a loyal and helpful community. If you enjoy old styled turn based stratergy then this is a definate recommendation.
If not try it anyway.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
41.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
More depth and fun than xcom eu/ew.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
400 of 411 people (97%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Recommended
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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376 of 388 people (97%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Recommended
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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302 of 330 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
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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301 of 330 people (91%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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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