Xenonauts – The game is pretty solid compared to most other early access games, and it is almost officially completed. It is still undergoing maintenance, balance adjustments and some bug fixes. The only bug I encountered was when I captured an alien leader – the game registered it as dead instead of captured, but this fixed itself after I caught another one.
The interface is similar to most alien defence games. There is a world map, along with reports of alien attacks around the world. The attacs increase the overall population causalities, but I am unsure what this directly affects. I guess it’s best to try to keep this number as low as possible.
You choose where to set up your base, and you have a limited number of tiles to increase the number of personnel, medical facilities, runways or base defences. More facilitiy upgrades become available later, and hopefully the modding community will also add some nice features. The style and illustrations look amazing, and they fit well with this style of game-play. The lore makes for good reading and really absorbs you into the world.
The mission maps vary from cities, farmlands, and military bases, to industrial areas some Middle Eastern style towns. I haven’t encountered any mission-types similar to the ones found in XCOM: Enemy Within – it only seems to be elimination and terror in Xenonauts. The game doesn’t scale uncontrollably, and at the later stages fighting some of the basic enemies will help you gain medals to improve your weaker soldiers.
The pacing of the game is good and the encounters are fun; the police, farmers or the military can help you out, and sometimes they can make all the difference. The story feels more real-world due to the other super powers trying to deal with the alien invasion on their own, and not communicating with each other.
The aliens come in a number of different forms: the typical greys, lizards, automated attack droids, parasite monsters and large heavy mechanical tanks. Once you get their tactics down you will be taking them out fairly quickly.
The soldier classes are similar to the ones seen in 2012 XCOM: scouts, heavy weapons etc. along with a few other classes. They also give the option to create a custom class to fill a role that you believe is necessary i.e. Medic. I would have liked to see a wider selection of weapons added to create more custom classes, as this would add a bit more variety to the game.
As mentioned before, soldiers will sometimes obtain various medals which improve their stats slightly. This is a great addition, as it makes levelling new recruits very quick, which is especially usefull against more powerful enemies at later stages in the game. This is an element which is often neglected by other alien defence games.
Later in the game the aliens have fighter escorts that accompany the larger vessels. Failure to take these out can result in a Terror Mission, which is a large scale alien attack. Only it doesn’t look like a large scale alien attack – the areas aren’t in ruins and chaos, which I found disappointing. I think this is where XCOM: Enemy Unknown excelled, as they got the sound and the styling of small environments down to a tee. Capturing the leaders can prove a difficult task, as you don’t really notice the difference between killing or capturing them.
Overall, playing the game has been extremely fun. The pacing is excellent, and the difficulty does increase considerably the longer you play. The trickier aliens don’t really appear until the larger alien crafts arrive, but by then you’re usually well equipped. The information screens after the autopsy / research make for an interesting read, giving much insight on the alien physiology and what could be going on, or what’s on the way. My only quarrel with the game is that when hiring new soldiers you can’t preview their look before you select them, meaning you get a few twins. It would also be nice to be able to aquire equipment that gives protection from Psionic mind control. I hope modders will add a lot to this game, and hopefully the game designers will release more content in the future, as it definitely leaves you wanting more.
Genre: Turn-Based Tactics
- Available for:
I played: 60 Hours
The style of the game and the strategic elements on the maps. Squad design and the increasing difficulty.
Lack of variety in the mission types.