One indie game project I‘ve followed for a while is Xenonauts, essentially a fan remake of one of my favourite games: X-Com (which I played under its UK title of UFO: Enemy Unknown), the strategy game where you led a secret government organisation against an alien invasion. Many of Xenonauts’ bullet points seemed promising, from a backstory tweaked to explain the familiar X-Com starting position, to the addition of a feature I’d always wanted, allied NPC human soldiers. Still, I was cautious. Would the project simply turn out to be vapourware? Even if it did come to fruition, well, X-Com clones generally haven’t been well received.
Well, today, I saw a developer diary on PC Gamer that highlights the current state of one of the two main game modes, ground combat – and I was impressed. The basic gameplay – moving your soldiers around, taking cover, shooting it out with aliens, using tanks and rocket launchers as support – is in place, although the art assets aren’t all there and the game balance is still a work in progress. I’m not a huge fan of the tile graphics, but the unit sprites themselves look pretty good. And a glance at the Xenonauts website, which I hadn’t visited in some time, indicates that much of the game’s other key component, the world map, is also in a playable state (for example, air combat, base building, and R&D are all present).
The finished product could still fail to work out, but after seeing the latest coverage of Xenonauts, I do have more confidence that it will see the light of day. For fans of the original X-Com, this is one title to keep an eye on as it draws closer to release.
(Link to PC Gamer courtesy of No High Scores)