Xtra-Small-Com: Xenowar

X-Steve: Ender Unknown

Night will always follow day, controversy will always follow a highly-anticipated game scoring less than 9/10 on a mainstream videogaming website, and X-COM will always see remakes. Xenonauts is the one to watch at present, of course, but Xenowar caught my attention because it’s going for a hyper-stripped down, simplistic, scrappy mini-take on the oft-aped formula.

It’s designed primarily as an Android game, hence the very basic interface and appearance, but there is also a Windows version – ideal, perhaps, for a wheezing netbook or surreptitiously running on a work PC.

It’s a charming, slightly silly yet still entirely strategic wee thing that successfully manages to conjure up the key parts of X-COMmery with a minimum of fuss despite the inherent complexity, but I’ll admit it’s a little clunky to control in its current form. It’s still in beta form and costs a princely $0, however, so enjoy it for what it is and expect further improvements down the line. Meantime, you’ll probably need the Wiki to suss out how to play.

Download Xenowar here.

Via TIGSource


  1. pakoito says:

    I didn’t like X-COM.

    • wcanyon says:

      Hold still, the sniper is trying to get a clean shot. 10… 9… 8…

    • Elmar Bijlsma says:

      Send in the black helicopter!

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      Bluerps says:

      X-COM didn’t like you either.

    • kazooka says:

      I know an agent of the the Cydonians when I see one!

    • Metonymy says:

      Phosporus rocket spamming cured me of my original misgivings.

      1. Pile out.
      2. Turn combat zone into santas workshop
      3. Aliens fleeing, burning, well lit
      4. Alien ship? Time to make a door.
      5. Terror mission? Bah who needs funding?

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      I do. You just read some spam.

    • Tams80 says:

      And it didn’t look tasty; unlike Xenowars.

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    I took one look at that screenshot and fell in love.

    • JFS says:

      Now we shall either have a menage à trois or a bloody duel for its love.

    • Jim9137 says:

      To be fair, Xenosquad is more homage to Incubation (HEARTS ALL OVER) than X-Com. But I will love it all the same.

      And you.


      Because hearts, all over.

  3. armaankhan says:

    Good to see Xenowar getting some attention. It’s a great little simplified strategy game for those people who, like me, love the idea of XCom, but find the reality of it too much to handle.

  4. Aufero says:

    The screenshot makes this look a bit like Lego X-Com. I am entirely enchanted by this idea.

    • Torgen says:


    • RogB says:

      holy shit what a combo, that MUST be made

    • Sabre_Justice says:

      The recent ‘Aliens Attack!’ LEGO line is basically a Lego toy take on X-COM. They really should make a game based on it.

    • aircool says:

      Heheh. I can remember seeing those Lego sets when they were first released. XCOM immediately came to mind :))

      I’m pretty sure that with a few of these…

      link to shop.lego.com

      …and one of those Lego dice, you could easily have your own Lego XCOM Tabletop Game!

  5. MasterBoo says:

    Bought it a few days ago after seeing it in TiGSource!

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    Sudden influx of x-com-like games. Don’t forget Xenosquad about a week ago.

    Hopefully the new Syndicate game will prompt a bunch of Syndicate-like games.

    • Strange_guy says:

      Don’t forget the xcom rogue-like, X@COM, either- link to xcomrl.blogspot.com

      I gave this a go, but it feels rather unfinished. Still fairly fun, but I can’t think of why I’d play this over Xcom itself yet.

    • Kyzrati says:

      “Feels rather unfinished”? Dude, it’s a tech demo that hasn’t even made it to alpha yet. Don’t give up on it, though; despite the visual representation, it’s going to be chock full of sweet features, once the initial remake is complete, that is.

  7. celozzip says:

    wait a minute, guys!! it’s in beta already and they AREN’T charging for it?!? what kind of indie developer is this?!

  8. mofman says:

    I should clarify that if you go to the Android Market they want $2.00 for it. For Android you have to click the windows button and download the latest apk. Also what you need to do if you don’t have the market app.

  9. TillEulenspiegel says:

    It’s designed primarily as an Android game, hence the very basic interface and appearance, but there is also a Windows version

    Fun fact: the Android emulator in the SDK sucks. It’s literally unusable for anything but the very simplest 2D games at low resolutions. And testing on a real device wastes precious seconds, which adds up quickly if you want to make a change and try it every few minutes.

    So most game developers write stuff in cross-platform libraries (SDL 1.2 in this case), test on PC, then deploy and tweak on Android. It’s not an ideal state of affairs for Android, but it does mean it’s really easy to release a simple PC version if you so choose.

    • rossy says:

      The emulator even has its problems with a simple hello world program on my laptop.

  10. PoulWrist says:

    I don’t see what this has to do with XCOM, that’s an FPS.

  11. Megagun says:

    Xenowar is also open-source and licensed under a nice GPLv3 license, meaning that (unless the author decides to license it differently later on, if that’s still possible without significant code-rewrites) it’ll most likely be free for the forseeable future, as long as someone is willing to compile it and package it for whatever OS you want to run it on.

  12. steggieav says:

    Nice to see all these X-Com-alikes. I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before, but some goons are working on OpenXCom. Basically, it’s an open source version of X-Com: UFO Defense that fixes a lot of the bugs of the original. Anyway, it’s here: link to openxcom.org

  13. Demiath says:

    Nice! As for smart phone-ified versions of hardcore PC classics, be sure to check out Mysterious Castle as well, which is a turn-based/party-based roguelike inspired by both D&D and SRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s primarily developed for iOS and Mac at this point, but there’s a free if slightly outdated Windows version available for download over at indieDB (and purchases of the iOs version increases the likelihood of a proper Windows port).

  14. c-Row says:

    Night will always follow day, controversy will always follow a highly-anticipated game scoring less than 9/10 on a mainstream videogaming website, and X-COM will always see remakes.

    And they will never be as good as the original.

  15. aircool says:

    Fuck Yeah! Now I have reason to justify my smartphones exisitence.

  16. Groove says:

    Can anyone provide a verdict on it on an Android? Does it work well with the touch screen, etc?

    • Syrion says:

      I’ve only played it for a short while, but it works rather well. Judging from the very beginning, it greatly simplifies the gameplay of the original, but it keeps the essence intact. I don’t know if it keeps up later on, but at the very least the starting portion is much easier to get into than in the original :)

      It’s also lacking the atmosphere, largely due to missing music. But, hey, just put the original soundtrack on your music player, run it in the background and there you go!