XCOM®: Enemy Unknown review (iOS / Universal)

June 23, 2013

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10 word description: Strategy / management / turn-based combat. PC/console port, Game Center.

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10 word review: All kinds of alien-battling fun. Good touch controls too.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Action oriented turn-based games with a ton of depth and (almost all) the content and polish of a AAA PC/console title.

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The good news: As an almost complete port of a PC/console game, this plays and performs remarkably well on a touch screen device. Well, on my iPad 4 at least. The touch controls have been well considered and generally work without any issues. The gameplay, story, missions, leveling (rank increases) and research/development all work together to give a very addictive, engrossing overall package. You could always go and read the large number of reviews of the PC and console version to find out if this is generally going to be your thing. I’m only really concerned with reviewing how this version plays and performs on my iPad.

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The bad news: Some bugs. I’ve seen a few crashes, a problem aborting a mission that left me with no option but to close/restart and a particularly annoying issue where saved games become corrupted. As for the actual gameplay, graphics, sounds, etc. it’s all very good. I suppose if you already played the PC/console version this might not be quite as essential on your iOS device.

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Arcadelife verdict: I might as well just jump on the bandwagon and blab on about how great this is. Seriously, though, there’s not a lot of point pretending to dislike it just to be controversial. It’s a very valiant attempt to bring the full version (ok, almost the full version) of a popular and critically acclaimed PC/console game to iOS and, for the majority of the time, it succeeds admirably.

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What I needed to know, and what matters in a review of the iOS version, is whether the controls and overall feel of the game work well on a tablet. Forget the iPhone/Touch, it won’t run on my 4th gen Touch and I’m not going to be getting a later version for a while. As an iPad game, it’s just great. You’ve probably read elsewhere about the way your troops level up and gain ranks as they progress through missions. They can also die (permanently) so you tend to invest and draw a great deal of emotion (stress) into and from each turn of each encounter.

Overall, highly recommended (if your device can run it) and well worth the price.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 9.5/10
Content – 10/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9.5/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.1.3)

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