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Xenonauts logo.jpg
Developer(s) Goldhawk Interactive
Designer(s) Chris England[1]
Engine Playground SDK 5[2]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) June 17, 2014
Genre(s) Strategy, turn-based tactics
Mode(s) Single-player

Xenonauts is a strategy turn-based tactics science fiction video game. It is the maiden title of Goldhawk Interactive, a London-based independent game studio, and was released in June 2014.[3]

Inspired by 1994's UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-COM: UFO Defense in North America), the gameplay involves the player taking the role of the commander of a clandestine organization known as the Xenonauts, attempting to defeat an alien invasion of Earth in the alternate history year 1979.[4]

Xenonauts was released on June 17, 2014 for Microsoft Windows;[5] additionally, it is distributed for Mac OS X and Linux on Desura and the Humble Store through the use of the Wine compatibility layer.[5]


A screenshot of tactical gameplay (alpha version), showing a UFO crashed in a farm

The game retains the fundamental mechanics of the early X-COM games, in this case considered to be a real-time global air control and strategic management and research component of the game, coupled with turn-based ground combat where the player controls a squad of soldiers and vehicles against the alien forces on a tactical scale. Soldiers develop their attributes through combat experience, and terrain in the ground combat maps is destructible.[6]

Features advertised by Goldhawk as "enhancements" to the original X-COM model include the following (although many have appeared in other spiritual successors):[7][8]

  • An improved air combat model (in real-time with pause mode) that allows combat between up to three aircraft/UFOs on each side.
  • Soldier equipment loadouts being saved between missions and the ability to change the weapon loadouts of ground vehicles.
  • The starting position of infantry and vehicles can be arranged inside the dropship (at first a troop transport helicopter).
  • The inclusion of a directional cover system in ground combat.
  • Friendly local military and law enforcement NPCs present in ground combat.
  • Alternative victory conditions for ground combat missions (rather than just simply eliminating all alien forces).


Development of Xenonauts began in 2009. The game is heavily influenced by the X-COM series but is described by the development team as neither a remake nor a clone, but rather "a re-imagining". It is marketed as a Cold War-era based "planetary defence simulator" answer to 2K Marin's The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, which at the time had alienated many fans due to its FPS-based gameplay.[9][10][11][12]

In November 2010, the project launched a revamped website and announced that they were accepting pre-orders, benefits of which include early beta access and a discounted price over planned release pricing. A provisional release date was set as Autumn 2012.[13] A public game demo was released on May 8, 2012.[14] Its Kickstarter fundrasing project managed to raise $154,715 from 4,668 backers.[15]

Xenonauts for Windows reached beta and launched on Steam Early Access in June 2013.[16] A tentative release date of the end of 2013 was announced in September 2013, although the developer conceded that the title might be delayed until early 2014 if additional polish is required.[17] It was finally released on June 17, 2014.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

On Metacritic, the game has a score of 76%, based on 19 Critic reviews.[19]


  1. ^ "Xenonauts dumps PayPal for Desura, starts taking cheaper pre-orders". PC Gamer. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  2. ^ "Chris England: "Xenonauts is much more of a faithful remake than XCOM" // Interviews in English —". Gamestar.ru. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  3. ^ "Xenonauts Finally Released!". xenonauts.com. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Game Overview | Xenonauts official site". Xenonauts.com. 1979-10-01. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  5. ^ a b "Xenonauts FAQ". Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Goldhawk Interactive. "Xenonauts Dev Diary 1". PC Gamer. 
  7. ^ Meer, Alec. "X-Communicated: The Xenonauts Interview". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 
  8. ^ Peal. "Xenonauts @ Taktikzone". Taktikzone. 
  9. ^ Plunkett, Luke. "Another New "X-Com" Game, And It's Not A Shooter". Kotaku. 
  10. ^ Andrew Yoon. "Xenonauts capitalizes on XCOM rage". Joystiq. 
  11. ^ Alec Meer. "Xenonauts: The X-COM Anti-Apocalypse?". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 
  12. ^ Chris Faylor. "X-Com 'Re-Imagined' as Xenonauts by Indie Dev". Shacknews. 
  13. ^ Sitrep #1: Databanks Relaunched | Xenonauts official site[dead link]
  14. ^ "Official torrent file of the demo version". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  15. ^ "Xenonauts by Goldhawk Interactive — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  16. ^ "Indie X-Com remake Xenonauts launches for Steam Early Access". Polygon. 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  17. ^ "V19 Stable Released! | Xenonauts – Strategic Planetary Defence Simulator". Xenonauts.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  18. ^ "Xenonauts Finally Released!". xenonauts.com. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  19. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/xenonauts

External links[edit]