XCOM, Retrovirus Free This Weekend On Steam

Steam’s free weekend deals used to stretch a good way into Monday for us Brits. Now they seem to stop at 1pm on Sunday for the West coast Americans, which seems very peculiar – surely Sunday afternoon would be the prime free playing time? Still, in the Mother Country that means it stretches until 9pm. And this weekend there’s quite the choice. The absolutely superb XCOM: Enemy Unknown, at 75% off (that’s just £7.50 – cripes), and free to play for the next three days. And there’s Retrovirus, the great six-axis shooter that I bet you never played. Now you can pick it up with 60% off at £6, and also play it for free until Sunday.

I don’t think more needs to be added about XCOM. Last October’s revival of the adored series could have gone so wrong. Instead it went so right. Alec explains why here.

Retrovirus, and indeed Cadenza Interactive’s previous game, Sol Survivor, are inevitably buried under the behemoth, but I still think are definitely worth your time. Well, I’ve no idea about Sol Survivor, to tell the truth. I refuse to defend towers since a tower killed my whole family. But Retrovirus was a lovely revival of the six-axis shooter that’s so peculiarly under-served. I wrote about why it was worth your attention back in February, but you were all like, “I don’t know John – I’m pretty busy with work stuff,” and I was like, “Yeah, whatever.” Well you can forget your excuses now, because it’s free, so why not?


  1. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Does a chap need a joystick of some form to play a six axis shooter?

  2. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    When does the XCOM Xpansion come out? I liked XCOM, but it had some problems. But the Civ V expansions were great, and showed that whatever you may think of Firaxis’ output, the people there really do sit down, listen to criticism, and make sweeping, meaningful changes. So I AM EXCITE.

    ADDENDUM: I move to refer to all future XCOM expansion packs as XPAC. All in favor?

    • Bull0 says:

      November 15th – preorder is live on steam at 10% off (£17.99). I preordered, because I am officially the biggest XCOM fan on Earth, as confirmed by the Institute for Studies

      edit: I vote Yea on the XPAC motion

      • jezcentral says:

        But, but, but the Institute of Actual Truthies have said I’M the biggest fan, based on my age, decrepitude and avatar..

        • Leosiegfried says:

          Sadly i wont be able to play X-com expansion on Nov 15th as thats the day all my spare time get blasted out of an air lock on X rebirth =[

          • Awesumo says:

            I have a certificate from the head professor of Truther Mail order University that clearly states I am the number 1 Xcom fan in this, and all all alternate realities.

            edit: Apart from the one where I didn’t write all twice

    • Llewyn says:

      Only the first one is an XPAC; the second one will be a 2PAC. XCOM: Me Against the Out-of-this-World.

  3. Scumbag says:

    Retrovirus is bloody nice, if awfully optimized. People should give it a shot.

    • Svardskampe says:

      Btw, if you want you can get retrovirus for just $0.75 on groupees.com Build a Bundle instead of 6 bucks.

  4. Convolvulus says:

    I think it’s because Sunday afternoon is the prime playing time that they cut us off and require payment. Anyway, Groupees’ “Build a Bundle 7” currently has Retrovirus along with its soundtrack for a $1.50 minimum.

  5. darkwhite says:

    XCOM… I still cannot decide on whether to buy XCOM, wait for the expansion (and a bundle) or buy Xenonauts instead. Anyone playing Xenonauts? Is it fun? A true XCOM?

    • Themadcow says:

      The last build of Xenonauts I played was some way inferior to the original XCom game in pretty much every department – and I’m a kickstarter backer. I haven’t played the very latest build (it’s supposed to be a fair bit improved) but I’d be very suprised if it becomes the modern day sequel that old school players were hoping for.

      For me the Gollop classic still holds the title, with the Firaxis game a distant but still respectable 2nd (although I still prefer Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 in some ways as a spiritual successor).

    • Dave Tosser says:

      Xenonauts plays like Old-Com. It feels like Old-Com too, and were it a bit more pixellated, it’d look the part. The thing’s nearly done and will be definitely worth grabbing if you want something that’s close to the original game. I recommend waiting until release, though it’s definitely playable.

      The engine is utter pish, though. It’s the same one used in Diner Dash of all things, and by the time the team astutely realised that it might not be the one they want for an open-ended strategy/tactics game, they were already too far in. Again, wait until release, but this X-Com fan (who isn’t much of an XCOM fan) quite likes it.

    • Lemming says:

      If I could, I’d give you my copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown glady. Sadly, I bought it on Steam.

    • Panda Powered says:

      If you crave some original XCOM goodness you should give OpenXcom a try. I did a full play-through with a nightly build a couple of weeks ago and it was a blast. I didn’t encounter a single issue and I really dragged it out with over 300 crashed UFO’s and 12 alien bases and almost 2 years of in-game time. I used the playstation music files and later the Cydonia’s Fall remix soundtrack. It was awesome.
      The specific build I used was “0.9 git 2013-09-11 22:31”.

    • darkwhite says:

      Thanks to all of you. I decided to wait until the release of Xenonauts. Meanwhile, I will have a look at the OpenXcom or just reinstall the classic one…

    • mouton says:

      XCOM:EU is excellent, the base game is worth it and expansion will likely make it even better.

      Xenonauts are basically a reskin of the old game. In a way, it felt to me like Terror from the Deep: same game, minor changes, looks worse.

  6. Leb says:

    While I refuse to play on Normal/NoIronman (too easy)
    I’ve yet to even get close to finishing Hard/Ironman. I last played months ago where my entire veteran team was wiped out in a mission gone horribly wrong. I haven’t loaded the game since… and i still hear their screams late at night

    • MattM says:

      You have to morn them and move on. I beat I/C with around 30 dead soldiers, many of whom were high ranks. I also had a few total party wipes and some missions I was forced to abandon just to preserve a few soldiers. Early game losing too many soldiers can send you into a death spiral but after that you can recover and rebuild.

    • mouton says:

      Protip on C/I: have no qualms about running away if you take losses. Even (especially!) if only your squadsight sniper makes it back, you have a solid foundation to start clawing back.

  7. Cytrom says:

    Playing xcom in the free weekend now. Not really my kind of game and never played the original, but seems like a nice chill game to waste time with, that also makes you think a bit.

    Not sure yet though if I should buy it and play it in the future too…

    How does the game progress? Right now the formula seems to me to be the following: hang around in your base, to develope upgrades, then proceed to utilise those upgrades in the fighting / strategic scenarios, which seemingly come up randomly, where you destroy alien invaders, and watch some alright cutscenes in beetween.

    I assume the game will open up more, and there will be more kinds of encounters.. but how many? Or is it a narrated story all the way? How much variety can I expect? Is it really random? Will all playthoughs be different? Can you even ‘complete’ the game, or its just a continous circle of upgrading stuff to fight increasingly harder stuff?
    Anyone tried running the game on crappy low end machines.. such as laptops with integrated graphics?

    Can an expansion turn the base game totally obsolete? Or does the base game feel like its missing content?

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The game progresses as you complete missions. Your time spent in the base is minimal; it’s a glorified menu where you decide what you want to research next, what base expansions you want to build (to increase capabilities), who you want to hire, and what you want to train your people in.

      The scanning for missions thing is a bit boring, but most of the time you don’t have to wait for it very long.

      The encounter types vary, but most of them are semi-randomly generated: there’s around 100 maps which it randomly selects from, and puts you in a different start position and aliens/hostages etc. in a different position. The missions types include rescuing VIPs, rescuing civilians, eliminating aliens, investigating crashed ufos, and possibly one or two others. Then there are a few fixed story missions that happen periodically through the game.

      The game does has a story that it progresses through, and you do eventually complete it (although you can lose altogether if you don’t manage your resources well). Unfortunately each playthrough gets the same story, essentially.

      The base game doesn’t feel like it’s missing content, but it does feel like it’s missing a free play mode.

      • LionsPhil says:

        From spending about two hours of it last evening, I was desperate for it to take the training wheels off and stop telling me which exact thing to click and locking out all the other things. (I thought that’d end past the point of the demo, but boyyyyy does it drag on past that.)

        I really hope I’ve now reached that point and get to a game part to form opinions on.

        • aphazard1 says:

          If you have the Tutorial mode checked when starting a new game, the first few missions are pretty tightly scripted/controlled as the game tries to show you the ropes of all the basic activities: missions, research, engineering and base building, scanning the globe for contacts, etc. But you do get freed up after maybe 3-4 missions.

          • LionsPhil says:


            And, yeah, I have tutorial on because saying “I don’t need to know how to play despite missing the original” seemed like an easy route to “what is happening how do I lasers”. It’s just…far more overbearing than expected.

          • LionsPhil says:



          • Greggh says:

            Hahahah, terror missions… Totally saw it coming >:P

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    “And there’s Retrovirus, the great six-axis shooter that I bet you never played.”

    I’m getting to it, John! Skyrim is a jealous mistress… :(

  9. nitehawk says:

    XCOM does not have retroviruses this weekend. Good to know.

  10. benjamin says:

    X-Com, Borderlands 2 and Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition all bought for just £18.03! :)

    Which in turn was more than paid for by selling Bill’s hat. Got to love Steam right now.

  11. kazooka says:

    Man, that’s an important comma:

    “X-com: Retrovirus?! Why haven’t I heard of this?!”

  12. Kentauroi says:

    Retrovirus is going for $1.50, in this bundle for the next 4 days. It also nets you the ost, another game of your choosing from the list, and a bunch of bonus games. I’d definitely recommend that over the steam deal that’s selling it at $8.00 if you end up liking it after you try it.

    • Atic Atac says:

      Oknytt is also in that bundle. That game really needs more greenlight votes :)