[Top 25] Games Like XCOM (Games Better Than XCOM In Their Own Way)

Top 25 Games Like XCOM That Are Better Than XCOM In Their Own Way
An XCOM unit faces off against a strangely attractive alien.

What are the best games like XCOM?

XCOM has reigned as champion of the tactical turn-based combat and resource management genre for several years. The tactical gameplay and the need to ensure you maximize the usefulness of every decision strikes a chord with gamers that love a challenge and don’t mind taking their time.

There are many games like XCOM, and some are even better. Whether it’s through superior mechanics, new features, or compelling worlds, there are now a number of contenders for XCOM’s championship. Below are twenty-five of the absolute best games like XCOM, each with their own strengths over their inspiration.


25. Phantom Doctrine

The stealth-based gameplay of Phantom Doctrine.

Phantom Doctrine is set during the Cold War, with various secret organizations controlling the world. Players take on the role of a former spy as you create your own secret organization in order to save the world. A group called The Beholder Initiative is attempting to steal nuclear weapons in order to bring the Cold War to a quick and violent end, with themselves now in control of the world. It is up to you to stop them.

Much like XCOM, the player will need to secure resources in order to build their base and recruit new agents. The player also has a danger level that shows how close the Beholder Initiative is to find their base. During missions, players will begin in stealth mode and must infiltrate the map without alerting the enemy. From there the player can learn enemy patrol routes and the locations of items before entering combat.


24. Phoenix Point

The horrifying gameplay of Phoenix Point's twist on the XCOM format.

Phoenix Point is a spiritual successor to the original Xcom games, created by the original game developer. In Phoenix Point, an alien plague had transformed almost all earth creatures into horrifying monsters. You are in charge of one of the last military bases in the world, competing with several other factions in order to survive the alien apocalypse. 

Unlike in XCOM, there is no defeating the otherworldly menace. The monsters have already won, and all you can do is survive. Resources are tight and contended by the other factions, while the mutants will do everything they can to kill the last of humanity. The game features interesting "evolutionary" mechanics where the monsters mutate in response to both defeat and victory. The more you kill, the more they learn to adapt to your tactics. But when they kill your soldiers, they can mutate to learn new abilities and even use your own weapons against you 


23. Spaceland

The retro-style gameplay of Spaceland.

Spaceland tells the story of seven space rangers who have journeyed to the lost planet, a world filled with alien monsters. You will control each of the space rangers as they battle through a series of dungeons, each chapter culminating in a boss fight.

Spaceland emulates the feel of old-school tactical combat games. Each of the Space Rangers has their own combat style and will communicate with one another to shed insight into the story. The game also features a wide variety of weapons and upgradeable equipment, allowing for diverse playstyles and new experiences upon each playthrough.


22. Underrail

The metro-tunnel world of Underrail.

In Underrail, humans can no longer survive on the surface of Earth, and must instead live amidst the sprawling metro tunnels called the Underrail. Multiple factions compete for control of the Underrail, and the player must choose who to help.

While possessing the isometric turn-based combat of XCOM, Underrail features an entire world to explore instead of a series of small maps. The game also possesses a more RPG-style character builder, with players controlling a single character that gets progressively better as the game goes on. In addition to this, Underrail also has an item crafting system to give you a variety of new items to use in your journey.


21. BattleTech

Battletech's tactical combat.

Much like in XCOM, in BattleTech you take control of the commander of an elite military group. As commander you will have complete control of the series' iconic mecha, leading a group of mercenaries against the powerful Directorate.

In BattleTech you will have significant customization of your mechs, choosing their chassis, armor, and weapons. You also have the ability to upgrade the abilities of each mech pilot. Each mech can move a certain distance on their turn, and has a field of vision that allows them to see enemies. During combat you can select an enemy to see some of the details for their mech, and command your own units to attack them.


20. Shadowrun Returns

The noir-inspired gameplay of Shadowrun.

Shadowrun is a cyberpunk dystopia in which elves, dwarves, and orcs live side by side with humans. In Shadowrun Returns, the player will be attempting to avenge a murder for a massive payday. Unfortunately, the city is a place of crime and mystery where nothing is as it seems.

Shadowrun has a fairly linear story, with the ability to explore each mission and interact with items and NPCs. In combat, players will control their team and use a limited number of action points in order to move, attack, take cover, or use unique abilities. After each character on the player's team has taken a turn, the enemy team follows suit.


19. Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game

Fallout 2's traditional RPG gameplay.

In Fallout 2, you play as the grandchild of the first game's protagonist. Once again your people's lives are threatened, sending you out across the irradiated wasteland. Wasteland. this time you must recover the Garden of Eden Creation Kit to restore some of the natural worlds that has since succumbed to the radiation of the post-war world.

Fallout 2 has nearly identical gameplay to its predecessor, for better and for worse. The player has a limited number of action points to act on during combat. Once out of points, the player's turn ends and the enemies begin. Outside of combat, there is an open world to explore full of monstrous animals, raiders, and super mutants.


18. Encased: A Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic RPG

The narrative-filled world of Encased, with turn-based combat.

Encased takes place in a dystopian wasteland with the powerful CRONUS Corporation controlling your life. The player begins the game working for the company, raiding artifacts and battling monsters in the mysterious Dome. But the player’s destiny is far more than just a simple corporate worker.

Encased possesses gameplay very similar to Fallout. When combat begins, initiative determines the turn of each character present, Action points are then used to move, attack, and using character abilities. If a character has leftover action points at the end of their turn, they can spend them on the cover action.


17. Wasteland 3

The beginning of a long adventure in Wasteland 3.

The first Wasteland predated the original Fallout, and Wasteland 3 has continued the traditional style of its predecessors. Following the events of the previous game, players will take control of two Arizona Rangers as they make their way through the Colorado wasteland in an attempt to secure food and water for their faction. Along the way, they will need to work for and against various factions vying for control of Colorado. 

Wasteland gives players a set amount of Action Points to use on their turn, which affects movement, attack, and actions. The player may move their character across a grid map to seek cover or get closer to an enemy. A number of factors such as distance and weapon determine how likely you are to hit an enemy, and after all your AP is used, your turn ends.


16. Dreadlands

The opening gameplay of Dreadlands.

Dreadlands is a colorful and chaotic world reminiscent of Borderlands. Players will take control of their choice of three factions, each with a different campaign. The world of Dreadlands is violent and dangerous, with deadly wildlife and deranged locals.

Unlike some other games, Dreadlands has a “free action point” system that allows AP to be spent in any way you desire. Be it on repeated shots or extremely far movement. It also possesses a “morale” system that allows you to leave your enemies in states of mental distress, allowing even more violence.


15. End State

Pre-release footage of End State.

When End State is released, players will control their own mercenary group hunting for terrorists. With an open world, players will have the choice of what missions to take and where to go.

The game will feature realistic ballistics, every bullet following its own path to tear through an enemy or embed in a wall. Players will have complete control of each of their mercenaries during missions, controlling where they go and who they attack. The game also features stealth and destructible environments for players to indulge in.


14. Forged of Blood

The intense gameplay of Forged of Blood.

Forged of Blood is set in a fantasy world full of magic and violence. Players must manage their kingdom, characters, and social interactions in order to persevere.

The game possesses a classless leveling system, allowing you to build characters in any way you please. You will have management of multiple war parties, your kingdom, and your characters and their equipment. Whether you wish to build your units as spell-casting tanks or speedy brutes.


13. Overland

The road trip of a lifetime that is Overland.

Overland tells the tale of a group of post-apocalyptic survivors on the most dangerous road trip ever. Whether you’re out to save everyone you can or simply make it to the end of your trip, the choice is yours.

Players must constantly be on the lookout for fuel, or else they face certain doom. Stealth should be prioritized over the traditional turn-based combat, for horid monsters are sure to tear you apart. Unlike any other game on this list, Overland possesses a feature that allows a player’s Twitch audience to effect the game.


12. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Mutant Year Zero's strange post-apocalyptic world.

Based off the tabletop game Mutant Year Zero, players will find themselves in a world devastated by a terrible plague and nuclear war. Players will take control of a duck and pig mutants as they journey into the wasteland to find their missing allie, who is crucial to keeping their settlement alive. Along the way you will face deranged mutants and cultists ghouls that worship the old world.


Combat is not something you rush into in Mutant Year Zero. Instead you must sneak past enemies, using cover and avoiding their line of fight. Once either spotted or ready for a battle, you can attack with one of your equipped weapons. There are areas you can hide in to avoid detection, items to collect, and large maps to explore as you journey across the ruined world.


11. Desperados 3

The stealthful gameplay of Desperados 3.

Desperados 3 is a prequel to the original game released in 2001. Players will take control of John Cooper, a bounty hunter, and several of his allies as they pursue a bandit named Frank across the wild west. One by one John will meet his allies, becoming entangled in a web of deception and intrigue as the seemingly simple bounty job spreads into a titanic challenge.

Stealth is key to survivng the brutality of the wild west. Enemies can be disposed of by knocking them unconscious or killing them with your trusty knife, which can also be thrown to silently kill enemies at a distance. Bodies can be hidden from view, and traps can be placed to lure enemies into. Combat should generally be avoided, as firearms are intensely lethal and the player may quickly become overwhelmed by the enemy bandits.


10. Wartales

The open-world gameplay of Wartales.

Wartales is set in an open world, with the player controlling a group of mercenaries in their pursuit of wealth and glory. A hundred years have passed since the fall of the Edoran Empire, leaving a power vacuum across the land. Instead of a linear narrative, the story is defined by the choices of the player.

With an open world to explore, players have plenty to see and do. You will experience turn-based combat with the risk of ambush by monsters and bandits. Players will have their choice of collecting companions, weapons, and armor. You will also be able to accept bounties and contracts to help the people of the land and get paid.


9. Gloomhaven

The non-linear gameplay of Gloomhaven.

Gloomhaven is based on the tabletop game of the same name. In it, players take control of a group of mercenaries working in the titular city. Unlike most other games, Gloomhaven lacks a traditional story. Instead, players are given many quests at once, and the way they choose to tackle them creates the story. It is a game of adventure rather than narrative.

There are seventeen unique classes to play as in Gloomhaven, with the player controlling two to four characters at a time. Gloomhaven also uses a deck-building system to provide your characters with different abilities to use in combat. You are also able to create combo attacks to deal with massive damage.


8. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector

The violent gameplay of Battlesector, as Space Marines battle the deadly Tyranids.

Set in the Warhammer 40k universe, Battlesector sees players taking control of a team of their choice in order to combat the deadly Tyranids. Players will fight alongside Sergeant Carleon and his allies as they repel the alien hordes.

Players will have access to fifty weapons and over sixty abilities while using fan favorite Warhammer units. In addition to army building, players can call in air support for immense aid during battle. There is also a unique “momentum” mechanic that allows units to go above and beyond their normal abilities.


7. Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark

The turn-based gameplay of Fell Seal.

In Fell Seal, players will control a group of Arbiters, peacekeepers working for the Immortal Council. The primary Arbiter is named Kyrie, and she serves as the voice of the player, commanding troops. Kyrie is tasked with journeying across the realm, ensuring peace can reign.

Fell Seal’s gameplay is heavily inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics. Its turn-based gameplay allows players to shuffle troops around and attack enemies within range on the grid map. Each unit has their own initiative order, allowing any number of possible turn combinations per encounter. Various units will have their own weapons and abilities, encouraging planning when selecting a party.


6. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

The brutal gameplay of Mechanicus, complete with techno-horror.

In this journey into the Warhammer 40k universe, players will control the Adeptus Mechanicus. The player leads a squad into a Nekron world, commanding their Tech Priests and incorporating ancient technology into themselves. There are over fifty missions to explore and fight through, providing the player with even more tech to use.

Mechanicus encourages you to use your powerful abilities on whatever enemies come your way. By incorporating new technology to your units you will gain new abilities and weaponry to battle the Xenos. Enemies may ambush you as you explore, hoping to cut your units down by the end of the first round. Luckily the game provides you with incredibly powerful abilities for unlocking achievements, though they can only be used once per mission.



Gameplay inspired by Fallout in ATOM RPG.

Nineteen years after nuclear winter spread across the west and the USSR, a secret military group called ATOM sends the player out into the Russian wasteland to find a missing squad. Along the way the players will fight survivors of the nuclear bombings and mutated monsters, all the while searching for clues to the missing squad. Of course, there is much more at stake than you may first believe. 

Players must invest in skills to increase their abilities and combat prowess. During combat, they must use Action Points in order to move and attack. ATOM RPG also features many random encounters, leading to a fun an unpredictive adventure. You never know if you are meeting a new ally or a dangerous enemy.


4. Wildermyth

The cartoony gameplay of Wildermyth.

In Wildermyth, players will begin as lowly adventurers of no renown. As the game progresses, they will become powerful and well-known lords of myth. The game is procedurally generated, creating an ever-changing world that reacts to player choices.

Unlike other games, death is not the end in Wildermyth. Characters may return in your following adventurers, ensuring their mythic status in history. Despite the paper-like art style, the game has incredible depth, with every character possessing a unique appearance and backstory that affects their personality. The game possesses a common turn-based grid map style, with every character position and piece of terrain or structure adding new possibilities.


3. King Arthur: Knight's Tale

The forlorn world of King Arthur: Knight's Tale, featuring brutal gameplay.

Everyone knows the legend of King Arthur, but not like this. The land of Avalon is dark and menacing, full of twisted creatures and mad knights. As for yourself, you are not King Arthur or one of his knights of the round table. You are Sir Mordred, the Black Knight, the slayer of Arthur. You are now tasked with killing King Arthur once again, ending his vile reign.

The player will build their own round table, with six classes to choose from for their knights. Each knight can be leveled up with unique abilities and equipped with various types of gear and weaponry. However, knights can be permanently killed, and there are various status effects that take time to heal.


2. Space Hulk Tactics

Space Hulk Tactics' Space Marine Gameplay.

Space Hulk Tactics is another game set in the Warhammer 40k universe. This time the player controls Terminator Space Marines or the alien Genestealers. Each faction has its own campaign pitting itself against the other faction. 

In addition to the classic turn-based combat, Space Hulk Tactics also uses a card-building system. These cards can drastically improve your squad, and even allow you to use devastating abilities on your enemies. The game also features heavy customization of both your units and their equipment.


1. Gears Tactics

Gameplay featuring Gears Tactic's visceral combat.

Gears Tactics is set before the events of the first Gears of War game, with players controlling Sgt. Gabriel Diaz shortly after the Locust's first attack on humanity. Diaz will be tasked with hunting down a Locust scientist creating many of the aliens' monsters, undergoing a trial of blood and fire.

Gears Tactics plays very similar to XCOM, but with a more mobile combat system. It also takes heavily from the mainline games with extreme violence. Players are able to perform brutal takedown kills on their enemies, leaving them horribly dismembered. 


Bonus: Xenonauts 2

An overview of Xenonauts 2's alternate history invasion defense.

Xenonauts 2 takes place during the Cold War in the midst of an alien invasion. The game is inspired by the original X-Com: UFO Defense and sees players taking control of the commander of a specialized military group. Though the game has yet to get a release date, it is sure to be a hit upon release.

In Xenonauts 2, players will also have to manage air defense and the panic of various countries in order to keep fighting the alien threat. If the panic gets too high, your group’s funding will be cut. If your air defense is too weak, the aliens will easily attack. During ground combat, players must seek cover and use careful planning to bring down the superior alien army.

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Experienced gamer. Loves horror, RPGs, and tactical combat. She has been a creative geek for years, becoming an expert in various gaming and pop culture topics.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Knights of The Old Republic 2, Rimworld, Stray
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, XCOM 2, Dishonored 2

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