After beating the aliens in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, fans didn't know where the developers would take the story. Surprise: humans actually lost, and now the Commander and crew operate as splinter cells to fight the alien scourge. This unexpected retcon worked and made taking down Advent in XCOM 2 feel incredible.
With the addition of the DLC War of The Chosen, the game saw renewed interest, and, realistically, operated as a totally different game with new classes, new challenges, and cameos from many actors from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Fans on the lookout for gaming experiences like the ones from the XCOM series have so many options when it comes to turn-based strategy. They can opt for more alien-smashing 4X action, explore nostalgic options like Final Fantasy Tactics, or pick up hybrid games that pair turn-based strategy with isometric RPG elements like Wasteland 3.
Updated on January 18th, 2022 by Geoffrey Martin: The strategy genre continues to evolve and grow year over year, with new titles being released from both indie developers and AAA teams. Covering a wide variety of aesthetics such as fantasy, sci-fi, and even horror, strategy game fans have a lot to choose from. Due to these reasons, a list like this can easily be updated with extra titles for you to check out, whether you are new to the genre or a long-time fan.
17 Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Are you looking for a more lighthearted take on the strategy genre? If so, then you absolutely need to check out Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. For all intents and purposes, this game is essentially XCOM meets Nintendo, and Rabbids of course. While the game may look simple and cartoony on the surface, rest assured, it's a tough game.
In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, you play as a host of Nintendo characters such as Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, along with a bunch of wacky Rabbids. Each character has their own special weapons, skills, and abilities, and it's your goal to explore the colorful lands while progressing through deeply strategic battles.
16 Fae Tactics
Fae Tactics is another colorful and vibrant strategy game that appeals to both genre newcomers and veterans. Taking place from a classic isometric perspective, Fae Tactics seems to take cues from genre classics such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle 64. Fae Tactics tasks you to play as Peony, a young magician who adventures across a fantasy kingdom using her spells and magical abilities.
One of the unique features in Fae Tactics is actually something that has been removed, namely, cumbersome menus. Strategy games typically shower you with menus in order to choose your moves, however, Fae Tactics eschews this in favor of a more hands-on approach to moving and battling.
XCOM: Chimera Squad might seem a bit on the nose for a list like this, but fans unfamiliar with this game will find it surprising. First off, the turn system is altered from other XCOM franchise games. There's a new "breach" mechanic that's really fun and unique.
Each character also has totally unique abilities and buildout opportunities. In fact, in one playthrough, fans cannot recruit all of the playable characters. So, it ups the replayable factor in order to experience all that the game truly has to offer.
14 Wasteland 3
Hot off the success of its predecessor Wasteland 2, Wasteland 3 stretches the genre of turn-based strategy game into a hybrid of isometric RPG gameplay and turn-based strategy combat.
The game takes place in a radiation-poisoned, cult-controlled, frozen-over Colorado in the 22nd century. The player characters hail from Arizona and are part of their Desert Rangers, adding an element of the Wild West/gunslingers to the game. The best part of the game is the incredibly difficult trade-off decisions the player must make and then dealing with the subsequent consequences of each decision. For fans of hardcore turn-based strategy and isometric RPGs, this is the perfect blend.
13 Valkyria Chronicles
This game released in 2014, while the most recent entry in the series, Valkyria Chronicles 4, released in 2018. However, for gamers new to the franchise, starting with the original is the best way to experience the series with its beautiful art style, engaging story, and sometimes unforgiving combat.
In Valkyria Chronicles, players can take control of individual units to move them across the map in third person. One must line up headshots, take on tanks with rifles, and weigh each and every decision against all the possible outcomes.
12 Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem remains a classic and iconic franchise, with Fire Emblem: Three Houses being the series' latest release. The semi-academy aesthetic lends the game a lighter tone and the player character can ally with one of the three characters and the houses they come from. Pro-tip: the player is also a teacher in the game.
Players can adjust classes on the fly and, once players can take their team to battle, they'll pair traditional attacks with Combat Arts, flanking opportunities, and other strategic moves to boost lethality and efficacy.
There are also unique features for players who opt to play online. Certain combat tiles will have glowing lights over them that mark where other players got downed, and, if the player goes to those, they can get weapons for specific characters.
11 Gears Tactics
Fans of the Gears of War series might be used to combat with third-person shooting, but Gears Tactics still has chainsaw guns and plenty of alien mobs to mow down, all with a turn-based style like that of XCOM.
Despite a bit of a slow start, the game pairs classic Gears chaos with beautiful visuals and epic executions. For an experience very similar to XCOM, this is where fans should start.
Wargroove is an Advance Wars tribute that carries a ton of nostalgia, content, and adorable little doggos to boot. Developer Chucklefish, behind Starbound and Eastward, opted for a pixel-art style with lots of color for a vibrant, lively experience.
Players can move across the map and engage enemies using their unique commander. Mid-battle, the player can summon other units, as well. It's a fantastic game for the Nintendo Switch and the Arcade mode offers another way to enjoy the game in a less time-intensive way.
9 Final Fantasy: Tactics
This might have been many people's first foray into a tactics-style game with turn-based combat. Final Fantasy Tactics originally released in June of 1997 with a 3D isometric field, sprites for characters, and plenty of difficult strategic choices.
Bonus: it takes place in Ivalice which fans of Final Fantasy XIV will recognize. With the recent remake of Final Fantasy 7, fans of this game desperately hope that Square Enix will remaster it, too, as it represents one of the best games in the franchise. It also makes use of the job system in ways no other game across the franchise does. Definitely a must-play for anyone who wants to learn more about turn-based strategy games.
Much like Valkyria Chronicles, Battletech can be unforgiving at times, as mech pilots can suffer PTSD on top of mortal wounds, and the player won't always have the parts they need to fix their mechs—but that makes each victory mean so much more.
A product long-awaited by fans of the tabletop version, the environments and mechs are gorgeous. Gameplay features resource management, mech battles, and staff oversight. The developers just released the first expansion for the game, so there's never been a better time to get into it.
7 Sid Meier's Civilization V
Despite Civilization VI being newer, many fans continue to flock back to Civilization V, instead. This may be due to Civ 6's updated district system vs. Civ 5's more streamlined approach to city building. This game also marks an easier entry to the series itself for newer players.
The hex-based system sees players build cities, using workers to collect resources, traders to gain gold, and meeting other civilizations to eventually work or war with. Be warned, though; players can lose tons of time to this game. It is very much a "just one more turn" kind of experience.
6 Phoenix Point
Phoenix Point may be the most similar game to XCOM on this entire list—apart from Chimera Squad, of course. It's a hardcore tactics game set in space with a 4X-style overworld. In fact, the creator of the original XCOM, Julian Gollop, helped make this game.
TheGamer's reviewer called it "XCOM all grown up," and it really is. The player operates as part of a global resistance force working against the Pandorians, aliens targeting Earth with a red mist to destroy ecosystems. Even the environments have a similar look and feel to those in XCOM, so it is a must-get for fans of that series. Unfortunately, the game has been an Epic Games exclusive for quite some time, though the Steam version has a planned release date of December 10, 2020.
5 Divinity: Original Sin II
This game is definitely not a science fiction universe setting. But the turn-based combat is S-tier for fans of the gameplay in XCOM 2. There are also unique classes that allow for different playstyles and plenty of opportunities to make impactful choices.
Much of the management that players in XCOM 2 find themselves doing also appears in the Divinity: Original Sin series, as well. With the amount of polish on this game and its undeniable panache, it doesn't make sense not to pick it up. Meaning: pick it up.
4 Crusader Kings III
This game instantly grabbed attention after its release due, in part, to the excellent graphical update from its predecessors. For some XCOM fans, a barrier to entry for Crusader Kings II was its non-intuitive interface and controls. This follow-up improved on problem areas and further developed the strengths of the series.
Though it is not in a sci-fi setting, the player still pretty much controls the success or destruction of the world. This game just employs more spying, horses, assassinations, and some politically motivated marriages.
3 Invisible Inc.
This game received a surprise Nintendo Switch release during the summer of 2020. The game features turn-based gameplay combined with roguelike elements, as well as hacking. The cyberpunk feel to it pairs well with one of the main mechanics: creating infiltration squads.
Invisible Inc., from the developers behind Don't Starve, definitely stands out as an emergent gameplay giant on this list. Much like XCOM 2, there are seemingly infinite directions for people to take the combat scenarios.
2 Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden
This game got off to a bit of a rocky start when it first launched. Many players initially called it too difficult to find it enjoyable. But now, about 2 years after its launch, many more people have come to relish the stressful and rewarding combat of Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden.
This game, in contrast to XCOM games, endears the players to its characters much more. Sure, people get attached to their squads sometimes. But the mutants from this game become like family to the player. As it is available on Xbox Game Pass, this title is definitely worth checking out.
1 Warhammer 40K Space Wolf
This one is a fantastic option for lovers of 4X games and the iconic Warhammer 40,000 series. It plays in a similar turn-based, square movement, and action style. Except now, instead of fighting the Advent, the game pits people against "xenos" from its own world. The game does feature its own unique tactical twist with its card-driven combat.
Unfortunately, Steam reviews do mention that the game can be quite buggy. XCOM fans are known to put up with their own fair share of bugs. That could either innoculate them to bugs in other games or simply make any bug aggravating.
NEXT: The 10 Best Alien Invasion Games
- 1 Warhammer 40K Space Wolf.
- 2 Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden. ...
- 3 Invisible Inc. ...
- 4 Crusader Kings III. ...
- 5 Divinity: Original Sin II. ...
- 6 Phoenix Point. ...
- 7 Sid Meier's Civilization V. ...
- 8 Battletech. ...
XCOM 2 is a 2016 turn-based tactics video game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to 2012's reboot of the series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown; it takes place 20 years after the events of Enemy Unknown.What games are like XCOM? ›
XCOM: Enemy WithinWhat type of strategy game is XCOM? ›
June 11, 2022 - Firaxis confirm XCOM 3 is still happening
Although Summer Game Fest didn't have any news on XCOM 3, we did get some updates via an interview with PCGamesN, who was speaking with Firaxis project lead Garth DeAngelis ahead of the release of Firaxis' Marvel's Midnight Suns game.
However, like similar types of video games, the strategy involved in XCOM forces players to think differently and change their tactics if one idea doesn't work. By doing so, the reasoning and cognitive skills of players can become much improved.What month does XCOM 2 end? ›
Unfortunately for fans of these modes, Firaxis has announced that it “will be retiring services for multiplayer and Challenge Mode for the Steam version” of XCOM 2 on March 28, 2022 – although this only applies to PC users as the Mac version won't be touched, apparently.What makes XCOM 2 so good? ›
The game is very fast-paced even at the start and although there's lots of options they only really start to stack up hours into the game when you're familiar with what's going on. The combat is great but the two things I love most about the game are the unpredictability and the customisation.Is XCOM better than XCOM 2? ›
XCOM 2 has more streamlined R&D which yields convenient and cool results, while XCOM: EU/EW is grittier and arguably more interesting, but it can be costly to actually start benefitting from the upgrades you've spent a lot of time and resources researching.Is there a Star Wars game like XCOM? ›
Respawn is working on a Star Wars strategy game with former XCOM devs. Respawn Entertainment is working on not one but three new Star Wars games.
Prioritize Intel, Scientists and Engineers
Although getting Supplies might sound good, you want to prioritize getting Intel, Scientists and Engineers. The latter two are crucial to getting upgrades both for your troops and your base. The more you have, the faster you get the upgrades.
- 7 Proving Ground.
- 6 Laboratory.
- 5 Resistance Comms.
- 4 Psi Lab.
- 3 Guerrilla Tactics School.
- 2 Shadow Chamber.
- 1 Advanced Warfare Center.
XCOM 2 Tips: Top 5 Tips to Dominate Mission Combat (How to ... - YouTubeWhat should I research first in XCOM 2? ›
- Modular weapons.
- Start alien biotech.
- Do resistance comms ASAP and contant the black site region.
- Finish alien biotech.
- Magnetic weapons.
- Gauss weapons or Armor.
- Armor or Gauss weapons.