I backed this game for 20$ tier at Kickstarter. At first i was just playing by inertia, remembering the UFO: Enemy Unknown, then i was frustrated by the lack of certain features, which were present in the 1994 and quit it. When i returned to it, i shifted my attention to the USP of this exact title and i had fun playing it till the end.
It is a yet another X-Com remake, this time in realistic-cartoon art-style, it is streamlined, simplified and with tycoon mechanics being completely cut-out.
Ground combat is pretty standard and since standard is what makes this genre, that means it’s good (unlike XCOM, which plays more like JSRPG than TBT). But with smaller scope of the whole game and cutting out of a lot of mechanics from X-Com, ground combat is the thing which you will do a lot, so much, that you’ll start to use airstrike button to skip it. Which makes lack of auto-resolve button on some other mission-types, like terror, slightly annoying. Chasing aliens on the big map with lots of civilians and slow-thinking AI starts to wear thin after 30th hour.
With new balance and items, you won’t be playing with squads of highly trained army-men till the endgame, but with lots of spec-ops assault doods holding riot shield and throwing grenades everywhere, since it’s extremely effective.
Meta-game is significantly shrank, compared to the X-Com, tech tree is smaller and manufacturing is not constant concern, but used for single time upgrades. Instead of Lord of War simulator, now your whole economy is based on governmental subsidies and looting crash-lands. With it all storage management is absent, everything which is not falling in line with developer’s vision is automatically sold. Using alien\civilian weapons is possible only during missions and with great penalty, which kinda creates negative possibility space. Same goes for prisoners, everyone is auto-executed, all bodies are destroyed; no more supplying disneyland xenopark with new live exhibits. Even the bases do not become outdated, but automatically upgrade themselves for free.
Air combat features new mini-game, which should be improvement over X-Com, but it’s so convoluted, cluttered with unreadable GUI and overall unnecessary, that you can just use auto-resolve all the time and fly in bigger squadrons.
Art-style isn’t striking or beautiful, but it’s that clear, realistic cartoonish look, which is often used in 2d indie tycoon-games, so it makes it peculiar to see it in the different genre. Game works fine in UHD UWS Surround by using pillar-boxing. It’s kinda pity to lose all that additional space, but as far as i can remember it works just out of the box. Though it’s easier to scroll with keys than with mouse edge scroll because of that.
Technically game isn’t in perfect condition, some events are causing crashes, so better to save more often. But overall at least nothing is game-breaking.
Overall it’s very streamlined and simplified X-Com, with not much new mechanics, but it is serviceable and utilitarian, despite being buggy. And most important — unlike XCOM it’s not a soapy console movie in the completely different genre, all-while being equally\more buggy, but from rich AAA publisher churning out DLCs and not small crumbling indie development team.
Will now wait for aquaxenauts bug-fix-re-skin-expand game.