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:
Mostly Positive (16 reviews) - 75% of the 16 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (1,904 reviews) - 90% of the 1,904 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.

18 comments Read more

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
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Mostly Positive (16 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (1,904 reviews)
Recently Posted
MightyMyke
41.4 hrs
Posted: August 20
I love this game. I've never played any actual X-COM games since most of them came out before I was even born so for those of you who want that sort of view point read another review I suppose. Anyways, so far as I'm concerned this is a really great turn-based strategy and while the graphics/animations aren't that great in themselves they are crisp and clean enough when paired with the music and sound to create a very immersive experience. In fact the immersion is really my only complaint about this game, that complaint being that it is too immersive. Seriously. The sound and music of this game is just ♥♥♥♥ing incredible. It really makes you feel like the entirety of humanity is completly screwed cause these aliens with their super advanced technology are here to wreck ♥♥♥♥ and kill. Not to mention how attached you get to your soilders. Had this one that had seen some real ♥♥♥♥ and been with us since the very beginning with no small number of kills and in one move I killed her. I had her run up to a corner and hide behind some crates then I clicked "end turn" and a reaper came around the corner stabbed her and boom turned her into a zombie. In just 3 seconds I had just lost my most experienced and well equiped soilder all because I thought those crates looked like a safe place to hide. The sound she made when she died didn't help either nor the fact that I had to kill her zombified self. It was really quite heartbreaking. This game is immersive and depressing, it will make you contemplate the meaning life, question if anything really matters, and it will keep you coming back 'cause ♥♥♥♥ those alien ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s welcome to Earf.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Stormfish3000
65.2 hrs
Posted: August 20
Never have I actually felt scared for my in game characters... 10/10 ILoveGame
Helpful? Yes No Funny
g_rock88
66.9 hrs
Posted: August 20
For any true x com fan this game is highly recommended
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Teabaron29
30.5 hrs
Posted: August 19
Still havent managed to win this game but is fun to play and addicitive as well.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
lolman_125
36.9 hrs
Posted: August 19
Really fun, its a lot like the old XCom games but it still has a ton of differences, Anticipaiting Xenonauts 2
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Atulka
16.7 hrs
Posted: August 17
If u played original X-COM, you will love it!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zmane
15.6 hrs
Posted: August 16
My entire squad was killed by a single reaper. I mean, it STARTED as a single reaper...

10/10 would get my squad turned into horrific monsters again
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Shutup868
17.4 hrs
Posted: August 14
I'm a bit bummed about this game. I had lots of friends recommend it to me due to my love of 2012 XCOM, and even more recommend it to me after I got around to playing and beating the original UFO and TFTD. I had high hopes going in, really expecting to love this game. Unfortunately... I didn't. I haven't even finished it yet, and I don't think I even will. I've hit a wall, not due to difficulty or too many countries dropping out, but instead my own lack of enthusiasm to keep going.

With the original games, the game was slowly ramping up as you made more progress and got better equipment. In 2012, it was somewhat the same, however you would reach a point where you could really stomp out the threat. I like both of these models, X-COM faces you with an always increasing danger even as you make progress, and XCOM gives you the chance to overpower your oppenent entirely.

Xenonauts really has neither of these. I feel no more capable of fighting the threat with the best armor and weapons available than I do with the starting equipment, and I'm still facing the same aliens. It feels like there is huge lack of variety with the aliens, as it seems all of them were introduced before I even got the second weapon type. Even with the best armor and weapons, it still takes multiple shots to kill a single alien, while they can still kill you in one hit. The difficulty just feels completely static, the only things I actually feel are changing in difficulty are the interceptor encounters.

This game really improves a lot on the original X-COM, but it just lacks the charm. I just don't feel excited to see what comes next, because so far everything that has come next has been basically the same. If you liked the original X-COM, you'll probably like this, but it's just not as charming. I'm disappointed.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
KDD!^agof
62.4 hrs
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
JustSomeGuy
6.1 hrs
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
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
17.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
I'm a bit bummed about this game. I had lots of friends recommend it to me due to my love of 2012 XCOM, and even more recommend it to me after I got around to playing and beating the original UFO and TFTD. I had high hopes going in, really expecting to love this game. Unfortunately... I didn't. I haven't even finished it yet, and I don't think I even will. I've hit a wall, not due to difficulty or too many countries dropping out, but instead my own lack of enthusiasm to keep going.

With the original games, the game was slowly ramping up as you made more progress and got better equipment. In 2012, it was somewhat the same, however you would reach a point where you could really stomp out the threat. I like both of these models, X-COM faces you with an always increasing danger even as you make progress, and XCOM gives you the chance to overpower your oppenent entirely.

Xenonauts really has neither of these. I feel no more capable of fighting the threat with the best armor and weapons available than I do with the starting equipment, and I'm still facing the same aliens. It feels like there is huge lack of variety with the aliens, as it seems all of them were introduced before I even got the second weapon type. Even with the best armor and weapons, it still takes multiple shots to kill a single alien, while they can still kill you in one hit. The difficulty just feels completely static, the only things I actually feel are changing in difficulty are the interceptor encounters.

This game really improves a lot on the original X-COM, but it just lacks the charm. I just don't feel excited to see what comes next, because so far everything that has come next has been basically the same. If you liked the original X-COM, you'll probably like this, but it's just not as charming. I'm disappointed.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
390 of 401 people (97%) found this review helpful
8 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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
373 of 385 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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300 of 328 people (91%) 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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299 of 328 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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849 of 1,015 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_.
</edit>

♥♥♥♥ 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
Recommended
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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152 of 161 people (94%) found this review helpful
Recommended
685.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2014
This is a solid strategic game. Sure, it doesn't have the eye-popping 3D graphics of the current XCom games, but what it's lacking there it more than makes up for in challenging gameplay. And by challenging, I don't mean aliens picking you apart while you hide in full cover and wonder what the point was. The aliens here will find ways to flank you with the same type units that at other times often would hole up defensively instead. Sometimes it takes carefully placed explosives / flashbangs / stun gas into an area just to give you a leg up vs. them. It is also a difficult game to master in terms of having a good gameplan finance-wise. Will you spend a pile of your initial funding on science research to get a better technological balance vs. your foe, or will build extra hangars to combat the increasing ufo assault? How much of that funding will go to engineers to help you build better weapons & vehicles quickly enough to be of real use, and how much of it will you spend on soldiers to have enough to stop terror missions while still defending your own base? Or I should say, 'bases', because one will not be enough, as the threat is ongoing and everywhere. It's a fine line to walk (and I'm just talking about normal difficulty here).

So if you get distracted easily, or you're looking for a lot of gloss and entertaining Wow - factor, this game might not be for you. If you're into a game that'll hand you your ♥♥♥♥ the first few times you play it and demand that you improve your strategy, well then you've come to the right place. :)
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175 of 191 people (92%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
110.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 22, 2015
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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