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Classic X-COM-like Xenonauts 2 is out now in early access

100% chance of an alien invasion

A general stands in front of a table in a war room in Xenonauts 2
Image credit: Hooded Horse

Xenonauts was a great spiritual successor to the old-school strategy machinations of X-COM (or UFO: Enemy Unknown), back when the genre was more hyphenated. That unofficial spiritual successor now has an actual successor with Xenonauts 2, which is out in early access now.

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Despite decades separating Xenonauts and its sequel’s 2009 setting, the world has sort of remained in limbo. The Cold War is still ongoing, international tensions are still brewing, and, yup, another alien invasion has just begun. Better hope those 95% chance-to-hit rates are forgiving, since you’ll be up against those extraterrestrials plus any humans who sympathise with the invaders / hate your multinational military group enough. You’ll be doing so via old-school turn-based battles while also managing fighter bases to take care of enemy UFOs.

Fans of the original Xenonauts should note that Xenonauts 2 is “less a direct sequel and more a re-imagining of the original vision, featuring a modern engine, a new setting, and refined mechanics,” according to publisher Hooded Horse. There’s still plenty that’s new with more maps and a bigger tech tree, though.

In a recent Steam blog, developers Goldhawk Interactive say the early access period should last “roughly 9 months (subject to change)". Over that time, the team are planning to revamp air combat, add new maps and face-ruining aliens, and more. For now, the team’s Kickstarter mentions that around 60-70% of the full campaign is available in early access. That roughly equates to 10-15 hours spent clicking away, all while biting your cheek and crossing your fingers for your shots to land.

Xenonauts 2’s demo was one of the best from this year’s Steam Next Fest, despite the tough-as-nails battles. But one brave soldier from the RPS Treehouse will have more thoughts soon.

Xenonauts 2’s early access version will usually cost £35/$40. Although there’s currently a 25% discount on Steam, GOG, and The Epic Games Store.

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