Top 8 PC Games That Play Like XCOM


When it comes to turn-based tactical strategy with balanced and challenging gameplay, XCOM is arguably the best game series to date. Its atmospheric level design, wide variety of upgrades and plenty of interesting mods are just some of the things that make the franchise a top-quality one.

Though it may be hard to beat the experience that many of us have come to love, there are in fact a couple of highly-rated games that are similar to XCOM in one way or another. So, if you want to try something new and slightly different, this top list of games that play like XCOM is just for you:

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden


Release date: 2018
Steam rating: very positive
Gameplay: 17 hours

This tactical turn-based strategy game is offering exploration and the ability to stealth from enemies in real-time. You move around absolutely stunning environments and pick up loot before facing off against the enemy. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, these enemies are animal-human hybrids. 

The game plays very much like XCOM, but adds to the tactical aspect of this game by offering the ability to position yourself the way you like before taking on an enemy. While the combat itself is almost identical, you must know that Mutant Year Zero does not have as deep of customization as XCOM. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic, but rather short game that most fans are likely to love.



Release date: 2014
Steam rating: very positive
Gameplay: 48 hours

For retro fans, Xenonauts is a must-play Indie game almost identical to the old and original XCOM released in 1994. It is in fact a remake specifically created to target people who fell in love with this game. Xenonauts addresses all of the generally accepted shortcomings of XCOM UFO Defense and is best described as an improved gameplay experience of this original masterpiece.

Apart from the obvious fact that graphics are heavily improved, the game is much more balanced and a lot more user-friendly. It also has reduced micromanagement. Just like XCOM, the game revolves around an alien invasion and comes with several difficulty settings with the hardest one being a tremendous challenge. There are also a ton of mods available to further enhance the experience.

While most things will feel like you’re actually playing XCOM, a unique twist about Xenonauts is the fact that it’s offering aerial combat. This is pretty badass and definitely an entertaining addition.

Gears Tactics


Release date: 2020
Steam rating: mostly positive
Gameplay: 32 hours

Based on the Gears of Wars franchise, Gears Tactics offers similarities with XCOM, but is a more story-driven and action-packed game with less replayability. There is not as much depth as research options are poor and no base or structure management exists. Soldiers can, however, be customized quite a lot as each of the game’s six classes come with a skill tree of about 35 selections.

Combat in Gears Tactics is more fast-paced and flexible than in XCOM. Your soldiers are more powerful from the get-go. However, you will also face a lot more enemies on each level. Additionally, every character gets three action points instead of two, allowing you to make more moves on each turn. There is also no grid in Gears Tactics, but you can move around each level as you please.

The story isn’t amazing, but it’s good. There are four difficulty settings making the game very challenging if you wish. Graphics are splendid for the genre and the cherry on top are three major boss fights that are pretty damn awesome. 

Phoenix Point


Release date: 2019
Steam rating: mostly positive
Gameplay: 78 hours

Led by Julian Gollop – the same game designer who gave birth to XCOM, Phoenix Point is a similar game that has mixed reviews among players. It revolves around an alien invasion of earth and can be an extremely challenging game depending on which of the four difficulty settings you choose.

Just like XCOM, you take on tactical missions with a squad of up to eight soldiers whose strengths are improved through various armor and weapon upgrades. While there are plenty of missions, making the game quite a long one, many of these can feel repetitive. The same can be said about the combat. There are many different enemies to encounter, though their mechanics are often the same.

In terms of complexity and depth, this is where Phoenix Point will satisfy a lot of players. There are a total of seven classes, each coming with five unique skills to learn and three perks to unlock. Instead of a single base as in XCOM, you also have to micromanagement several ones. The research tree in Phoenix Point is quite a large one.



Release date: 2018
Steam rating: very positive
Gameplay: 75 hours

Nominated as the best strategy game of 2018, Battletech shares many similarities with XCOM. In difference to controlling a troop of soldiers you do, however, control a troop of massive mechs that also battle other mechs. These can be upgraded in several different ways. There are also four types of mechs to choose from that come with their own pros and cons.

Tactics in combat include being able to target specific parts of an enemy mech – 11 different ones to be precise. This is quite interesting as taking out different parts will hamper the enemy in various ways. Unlike XCOM, you are also not limited by a grid but are able to move anywhere on the battlefield.

Visually, the game looks great and in terms of difficulty, it starts off being very challenging. Resources are scarce and to make the most of them you want to avoid taking as much damage as you can on your mechs. As you progress, the game does, however, get easier.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus


Release date: 2018
Steam rating: very positive
Gameplay: 27 hours

If you’re a fan of XCOM and love a good story, this is the game to get. Claimed by some to be the best Warhammer 40k title, Mechanicus presents a compelling story about a dark and anti-humanist dystopia while offering a tactical gameplay experience of quality. The dialogue writing is exceptional and along with eye-pleasing graphics that we would rate a 7 out of 10, you’re in for an immersive ride.

Taking on a total of 53 missions, you control a squad of tech-priests that can be customized through a selection of 60 different skills. Depending on how you build each character, this will change its role on the battlefield and how it must be played in order to serve its purpose.

If you hated the fact that every other shot was missed in XCOM, you’ll be pleased to know that weapons always hit in Mechanicus. Other than that, the combat is what you would expect from an XCOM like game, with one exception. The difficulty level can seem low if you don’t make customizable adjustments to it. Especially so at the end of the game.

Invisible, Inc.


Release date: 2015
Steam rating: very positive
Gameplay: 23 hours

Many sites are comparing Invisible, Inc. to XCOM and mentioning it as a good game for those who like the XCOM-series. While both titles are within the turn-based strategy genre, they actually don’t have that much in common. For instance, Invisible, Inc. has very little combat. Instead, it focuses on the tactical aspect of hiding from and avoiding the enemy while completing certain objectives.

With that said, the game may still be worth checking out if you like XCOM. It is undoubtedly challenging and it comes with some interesting choices of upgrades for your characters. You should know that RNG isn’t a factor like in XCOM, but the game is fully deterministic and predictable. You could think of Invisible, Inc. more like a strategic and tactical puzzle game than action.

Massive Chalice


Release date: 2015
Steam rating: mostly positive
Gameplay: 21 hours

Massive Chalice is best described as an unparalleled game that offers XCOM-like elements, but falls short in terms of quality when making a full comparison to the series. However, by going in with an open mind, you may very well love this game which have mixed reviews among players.

With the mission of saving the earth from plague creatures, this fantasy-themed game starts off easy, but eventually evolves into a highly challenging and tactical experience. Its unique bloodline system lets you manage a big population where genes are passed on from one solider to another.

Humans are the resources to manage in this game. This basically means that you have to make various decisions to nurture and breed the best possible killing machines to use on the battlefield. No matter how great they are, your soldiers do, however, eventually die from old age.

Like XCOM, technologies can be researched to improve armor and weaponry among other things. However, the game is time-limited. Thus, you won’t be able to do it all. There are always trade-offs. And if you make the wrong moves, you’ll be heavily punished for it. Only 1.1% of people have completed the game on hard and after hard comes two more difficulty settings. It’s challenging!

XCOM Like Games With RPG Elements

If you fancy the tactical and challenging turn-based combat experience of XCOM and are open to a more story focused gameplay with RPG elements, there are many more games to check out. We have created an article dedicated just for this which we highly recommend to take a look at. This is known as 8 modern PC games like Dragon Age.



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