Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (iOS)


x-com-enemy-unknownWhen it comes to mobile adaptations it’s easy to assume it will pale in comparison to its console equivalent. XCOM: Enemy Unknown on iOS loses very little in translation bar a slight dip in graphics. Intrigued Josh fights off the alien menace, again.

Reach out and touch somebody!

Reach out and touch somebody

For those who haven’t got around to trying Fireaxis’ amazing reboot of the strategy classic UFO: Enemy Unknown, you should check out our XCOM: Enemy Unknown review here. This is an incredibly well-designed, strategy-based title filled with endless hours of content for those willing to put in the time. Taking charge of Earth’s defences against an alien invasion creates a solid foundation for gameplay. The stress is palatable with few games offering that rewarding feeling which comes with successfully finishing a tough mission.

What is even more amazing is fitting this entire experience into an iPad. Not only do you get the same cut scenes, missions and experience, but it also works remarkably well with a touch screen interface. You can easily move around the battlefield with a single swipe, rotate the view with a twist of the finger and get an overview by simply reverse-pinching to zoom out. It’s actually more user-friendly than using a keyboard and mouse and by the end of the first mission you’ll feel entirely comfortable with the control scheme.

Decisions, decisions

Real soldiers embrace pink

looking beyond the interfacing XCOM: Enemy Unknown is still just as addictive as its PC/console counterpart. The story mode utilises the same cut scenes as the console giving you the same emotional connection as with the other versions. While the iOS version features less customisation options for your individual soldiers, there is still enough diversity to your units. Even streamlined, it is still an impressive amount of detail for a tablet game.

Play time is hard on battery-life, but you should be able to get a few hours in before starting to worry about charging. Multi-tasking or tabbing should be avoided if possible as the game seems to reboot once you leave and return to it, though this issue may be addressed with a patch at a later stage. Besides some long loading times the experience never falters.

This is truly one of the most exciting iPad games I have seen to date, Not only does it perfectly suit the portable nature of a tablet, but it also shows off the future potential of the iPad for console conversions. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is totally worth the price and will entertain any and everyone willing to give it a chance.


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Joshua Philpott

Tech MacGyver
Games writer, podcaster and tech wizard. Obsessed with obscure horror films, crazy gadgets and caffeine. Passionate, argumentative and open minded. Freelance writer and co-founder rawDLC.

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  • Chad Wheeler

    I really hope we’ll see this one on Android devices, that’d be rad.

  • DoGM3At

    Here’s hoping! I would love this on the Nexus 7!