Xenonauts draws heavily on the science fiction universe of the original X-COM to create a familiar but equally fresh turn based tactical adventure to challenge strategically minded players. Xenonauts is not just a clone though with many improvements that allow it to stand on its own feet and not lean too heavily on the reputation of X-COM that it is strongly based.
The game is set in an alternate Earth timeline where an alien invasion of Earth takes place in 1979 which leaves the human race severely outgunned as a result. Your role in these troubling times is to lead the organisation known as Xenonauts who are leading the resistance against the invasion where they can with targeted objectives. Their role includes collecting funding for projects, intercepting UFOs and completing missions across the globe to give humanity some hope.
With the Xenonauts organisation founded in 1958 when an alien scout ship first entered into Earth orbit and was shoot down by the nuclear powers of the Soviet Union and the United States players have the world resources behind them for the story ahead. In time and with some victories players slowly begin to break down the alien race by learning of their biology, weapons and society structure to hopefully use it against them.
Similar to the original smash hit of X-COM the gameplay of Xenonauts is split between two key components; the tactical turn based combat and the global management where you’ll refine your troops and carefully consider your ongoing strategy while ensuring you maintain air superiority. The tactical elements remain fairly unchanged with players stepping into individual missions with their personalised squad of units to achieve different objectives on the ground. These objectives generally involve killing all the aliens in that particular mission but can also require players to capture their UFO for a set number of turns instead. Notably Xenonauts does have fully destructible environments that let you create your own paths through each level and opens up some interesting alternative strategies if your soldier is setup to do so.
These soldiers (sometimes supported with vehicles) are customisable from name to the in depth loadout system that allows you design each for a specific role. The basis of this role is the stat and equipment system where players balance time units (movement), health, strength, accuracy, reflexes and bravery to fill typical roles like sniper, medic and assault units when combined with equipment choices. Players are also incentivised to focus on survival of these customised units with successful missions offering small stat increases as soldiers obtain experience in battle.
The focus on improvements to the global protection element of the game form the second component of the game though and are well welcomed in Xenonauts. This system not only makes it easier to manage the world defences there is plenty of realistic content through randomised events that players are alerted to rather than being kept in the dark about the events across the globe. The ability to battle against incoming UFOs with your own fighter jets in real time combat is also a great addition and gives players more control over this aspect of Xenonauts than what X-COM was able to offer.
- A re-creation of the popular original X-COM that seeks to remain true to the original vision while modernising elements.
- Protect the world through real time air combat and tactical land battles to give you a complete sense of world defence.
- Customise your troops equipment and stats to create the ultimate military team that suits your playstyle.
- Destructible map options let you create new paths to the enemy for potential flanking attacks.
- Detailed Xenopedia to house all the game mechanic and alien information you need at hand.
Review Platform: PC