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Xenonauts is a single-player turn-based strategy game, in which the player takes command of the eponymous elite military organization, the world's last line of defense against a potential extraterrestrial invasion. The story starts in year 1958, in what was known as the Iceland Incident, a huge spaceship was shot down over Iceland by eight missiles with nuclear warhead. After a six-hour battle with the ship's crew members at the crash site, the mobilized elements of the 95th Airborne, 202nd Infantry and Soviet Fourth Army were all wiped out in their entirety when the aliens purposefully detonated the ship's power core. Shortly after, the Xenonauts was founded to research and counter the potential alien threat. However, it wasn't until 1979 when the whole world are aware of the existence of the aliens and the emponymous military organization. Their offer was simple - fund them, and they will fight what no one else could.

The game contains two main interfaces: Geoscape and Battlescape


Building and expanding.: The player would first choose the location for the first base of operation. From there, they will have to build more facilities like radars to expand the UFO detection radius, hangars to hold more aircrafts and dropships, workshops to build new equipment, laboratories to research alien tech. Each of the facility have their own cost and upkeep, so it is extremely important to carefully consider the cost-versus-practicality.

Managing personnel. : The player is required to hire soldiers, scientists and engineers to fight, research and build things, respectively. Like with facilities, there are hiring costs and monthly salaries. When multiple research options become available, the player must choose what to develop: new armor, new weapons or study more about the aliens? There is also a necessity to equip soldiers with weapon and equipment, which the game facilitates by introducing "roles" as quick equipment setups.

Air battle. : When UFOs fly within range of the base's radar, interceptors can be sent to shoot them down (the air battles can be automatically resolved, or played out in a real time mini game). The world are divided into 10 geo-political regions, as UFOs are shot down over each region, the player's reputation and funding from said region is improved. Neglecting to protect a region for too long, and they will eventually surrender to the aliens. The funding received at the beginning of each month is vital for building and expanding new bases and hire more personnel to counter the growing alien threat.


Battlescape takes place when the player investigate crash sites, attack landed ships, or assault alien bases. Depending on where the location is on the world map, an appropriate map is chosen (which can be desert, farm or urban area). The player can bring as much Xenonauts as the dropship is able to carry (which is 8 at the beginning of the game). The battles takes place in turn-base isometric view, with each side take turn moving their units around. Each Xenonaut have a certain amount of Time Units (equivalent of action points) which can be spent on moving, firing, changing equipment, etc, or reserved to fire at aliens entering view during enemies' turn (reaction fire). Each battle requires the player to carefully consider using covers, limited field of view, reaction fire to successfully complete mission with their troops intact. Successful completing missions will grant soldiers with additional stat points, which improve their effectiveness in later battles. "Dead" soldiers have a small chance of surviving the battle and recovering; otherwise they will have to be replaced. Intact alien weapon and equipments can be researched, sold for money; aliens captured alive can be interrogated, and the dead ones dissected for research.


Xenonauts Windows There's the spaceship!
Xenonauts Windows Moving a soldier
Xenonauts Windows Base construction screen. Most facilities are available from the beginning, and occupy a 1x1 or 1x2 space.
Xenonauts Windows Troop management. Soldiers can be hired, fired, assigned to dropships or transferred to another base

Promo Images

Xenonauts Screenshot
Xenonauts Screenshot
Xenonauts Screenshot
Xenonauts Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "Xenonauts: Strategic Planetary Defence Simulator" -- Tag-lined title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Repetative, but true to its roots Windows Alex Z (1949)

Critic Reviews

HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) Windows Jul 11, 2014 9 out of 10 90
Mouse n Joypad Windows Jun 22, 2014 88 out of 100 88
Games Arena Windows Jun 16, 2014 8.5 out of 10 85 Windows Jun 06, 2014 78 out of 100 78 Windows Sep 09, 2015 15 out of 20 75


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Xenonauts' development was initially expected to take 6 months and cost approximately $25,000, but it lasted five «eventful years» (in the developer's words) and was fulfilled only thanks to a $150.000 Kickstarter campaign.

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Contributed to by yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy) (2625) and Sciere (772719)