Xenonauts Review

How does Xenonauts reward you for playing tactically?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

Xenonauts doesn't so much reward you for playing tactically as punishes you brutally for not doing. The aliens are generally tough and well armed, and your troops will need to provide cover for each other, be able to concentrate fire to take down hostiles before they can attack. Anything short of slow, deliberate, and methodical fire and manoeuvre will result in casualties most of the time, and you really can't afford many of those.

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How realistic is Xenonauts?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

The game mechanics aren't what I would describe as realistic. They are abstract by necessity due to the turn-based structure. Elite troops will break under fire and are incapable at hitting, or even seeing, hulking enemies at relatively short ranges. This isn't an issue though, as challenge is key to the enjoyment of the game. The setting, by contrast (and invading aliens notwithstanding), is wonderfully conventional. Set in the late 1970s, the art and style reek of cold war military, and is all the more convincing for it. Modified versions of the cutting edge tech of the time are still familiar as much of the equipment is still in service today. The desperate struggle against annihilation in the game eloquently reflects the very real risk of nuclear annihilation faced by the NATO and Warsaw Pact forces of the time, to very good effect.

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Does Xenonauts reward strategic planning?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

Strategic planning on the global map is as essential as tactical caution on the battlefield, and failure to grasp the nuances is just as certain to lead to failure. Indeed, failure in one field is likely to disrupt the other. Unlike the tactical combat though, the path of success at the strategic level isn't obvious, and expect much trial and error unless you go scouring the forums for tips and guides.

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Would you buy at full price or wait for a Xenonauts sale?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

Full price is £18.99, and it has certainly earned its keep for me. Xenonauts is an unforgiving and fiddly game though, and as such is an acquired taste. Veterans of the original X-COM will likely find a lot in common here and justify full price, but someone who has only played the more accessible XCOM might want to exercise some caution.

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How has Goldhawk Interactive delivered on their crowdfunding goals?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

I didn't back on Kickstarter, but looking back at their page I would say they appear to have hit most of the things they set out to achieve. Certainly all of the core game ideas they promised are there, and only a few cosmetics mentioned appear to be missing.

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How good are Goldhawk Interactive at releasing regular updates?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

Support is certainly still present, with updates at least every few months. At this stage though, post Early Access, they are mostly bug fixes and minor updates.

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How does Xenonauts run on your PC?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

I suspect Xenonauts would run on a toaster, and I've never noticed any kind of performance issues on my PC.

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

I suspect Xenonauts would run on a toaster, and I've never noticed any kind of performance issues on my PC.

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How good are the sounds in Xenonauts?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

The sound is pretty basic, but functional. Actions which you would expect to make sounds do so, but nothing stands out. Some alien sounds being uttered from the alien mouths would have been a nice touch, as it stands they die with an unremarkable screech. The music is menacing but unintrusive, and some ambient sound to hint at the chaos and destruction the aliens wrought before you landed would have been nice.

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How good are the graphics in Xenonauts?

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

Xenonauts uses a hand painted, 2D art style which people seem to find either quaint or ugly. Personally I'm in the former camp. The grand art - the loading screens, menu screens, strategic backgrounds, are all nicely representative of the cold war feel of the game, and the base staff portrayed in them change in small ways as the implement alien tech into their workplaces. In the tactical game the art is a little clunky, a product of the tile based terrain, but it gets the point across and there are nice touches in places. More variety, as with the map design, would have been great, but the experience doesn't suffer greatly for the lack of it.

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Why do gamers keep coming back to Xenonauts

1386
Dog Pants (after 3 days 6 hours play time)

894 days ago

Sheer bloody mindedness. It's a long game, so racking up hours comes naturally. The ground missions do start to drag out too, as they are frequent and progress is quite slow. On top of that the maps are recycled quite often, although there are some easy to install player map packs out there which greatly reduce the deja vu. Ultimately though it's the nagging feeling that you know why you failed last time, and you know you're doing better in this game. And then, of course, it all goes wrong.

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5 reviewers answered 7 questions