UFO: Enemy Unknown was the first game in the series’ long history, which began in 1994 with X-COM: UFO Defense. XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a critically acclaimed sequel, brought the series new life in 2012. Enemy Unknown and its sequels have maintained the series’ punishing challenge, resulting in the franchise’s resurgence in public popularity.
XCOM: Chimera Squad, the series’ most recent edition, failed miserably to please fans, as seen by its dismal Metacritic score of 4.7. In the wake of this, many fans will be searching for comparable games. Some superb turn-based strategy games like XCOM can be found in the following list.
Updated by Jack Pursey on November 1, 2021: Developing a successful turn-based strategy game can be a huge challenge. In order to be playable, the games need to feature near-perfectly balanced AI and strategic gameplay, but they also need to be intriguing and compelling enough to keep players engaged during the genre’s frequent downtime.
Quality strategy games should therefore be treasured. Five more outstanding turn-based strategy games like XCOM have now been included in our list, which we’ve updated accordingly.
1. Civilization 6
Since its debut in September 1991, the Civilization series has been a mainstay of the turn-based strategy genre. After the critically praised Civilization 5, which is widely considered one of the greatest turn-based strategy games ever made, comes Civilization 6, the most recent installment in the series.
While the 4X series differs significantly from the XCOM series, it’s difficult to overlook Civilization 6 as a wonderful turn-based strategy game to play.
Most turn-based strategy fans are likely to have already played one of the Civilization games. A 4X strategy game by Amplitude Studios, Humankind, is a great choice for fans of the series who want something different.
For all its similarities to Civilization’s fundamental gameplay, Humankind has no qualms about it. There are a few unique mechanics in Humankind, though, such as the Fame system, which chooses the winner and aims to provide a more comprehensive experience than Civilization.
Microsoft’s value-for-money Game Pass program includes Humankind, so customers don’t have to pay anything extra to try it out.
3. Valkyria Chronicles
Three main series games have followed since 2008, as well as the spin-offs Valkyria Revolution and Valkyria Chronicles D, which is a Japanese-exclusive smartphone game.
Sega’s series began with Valkyria Chronicles, which many consider the series’ apogee. An innovative battle system called BLiTZ, short for Battle of Live Tactical Zones, is used in this tactical role-playing game, which also has a third-person perspective known as Action Mode in addition to traditional overhead tactical perspectives.
The PlayStation 4 version of Valkyria Chronicles was upgraded in 2016, and the Nintendo Switch version has since been released.
4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
After its release in July 2019, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been hailed as one of the greatest tactical RPGs ever created.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a critical and audience favorite, as seen by its 89 Metascore and other accolades, including Best Strategy Game at The Game Awards 2019 and the Game, Strategy award at the NAVGTR Awards. It also received rave reviews from fans.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the series’ sixteenth installment, has been instrumental in bringing the series back to the forefront of gaming culture.
5. Final Fantasy: Tactics
In keeping with the theme of this article, Final Fantasy: Tactics is a tactical RPG. Other critically acclaimed Final Fantasy Tactics games like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift follow in the series’ footsteps.
Despite its cult following, Final Fantasy: Tactics was a critical flop in the late 1990s but has since gained accolades as one of the best tactical role-playing games of all time for its turn-based strategy gameplay and engaging plot.
A remaster of Final Fantasy: Tactics is rumored to be in the works, thanks to a slew of leaks.
6. Phoenix Point
To coincide with the release of Snapshot Games’ Chaos Reborn, Phoenix Point appeared in 2019. The setting of the game is the year 2047, where players must defend Earth from an alien invasion.
Because XCOM co-creator Julian Gollop is working on the 2019 release of Phoenix Point, it’s an easy option for this list. As a result, Phoenix Point shares several gameplay concepts with XCOM, including turn-based tactics.
BattleTech 2018 adds a unique twist to the turn-based strategy genre by allowing players to pilot massive mechs. Players can personalize their mechs’ models, weapons, talents, and more before a battle, which adds an interesting element to the game’s warfare.
PC Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards went to Subnautica, an underwater survival game developed by Harebrained Schemes.
8. Wasteland 3
On the 28th of August, 2020, inXile Entertainment will release Wasteland 3. Turn-based combat skirmishes and critical narrative decisions are at the heart of the game, which sets players in a post-apocalyptic Colorado and challenges them to survive.
You may get Wasteland 3 and Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut and Wasteland Remastered for a low price on Game Pass if you like the sound of Wasteland 3.
9. Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus
Video games based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe have been released by the legendary miniature wargame Warhammer, with Mechanicus being only one example.
Warhammer 40,000: The Game of the Century Although it makes effective use of the Warhammer license, Mechanicus doesn’t make it the game’s only selling point. One of the most enjoyable turn-based strategy games on the market right now, it boasts a compelling narrative, well-developed lore and compelling fights.
10. Battle Brothers
Due to its RPG components and procedurally generated open world, Battle Brothers stands out from the rest of this list. To keep players interested and motivated in their quest despite its large variety of gameplay elements and features, the indie game achieves an excellent level of harmony in its battle system, exploration mechanics, and narrative.
An independent studio in Hamburg, Germany, has released its first major title in Battle Brothers.
11. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
With the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe last year, Nintendo’s most famous figure joined on the turn-based tactics bandwagon along with his rabbit friends, the Raving Rabbids, who had become weary of their limbless friend Rayman.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle doesn’t have some of the most complicated tactical or strategic features in the genre, as one would expect. As a result, it’s a worthy inclusion on this list due to its colorful aesthetics and clean character models, as well as its pleasant 20-plus hour strategic experience.
12. Gears Tactics
In 2020, the Gears of War series gave the turn-based tactics genre a whirl, joining the likes of Mario and the Raving Rabbids in experimenting with the genre.
There is a wide array of adversaries and weaponry to choose from in the Gears series, making it a natural fit for the genre. There are better strategy games out there, but for Gears aficionados, Gears Tactics may be the greatest option on this list of recommendations.
13. Invisible, Inc.
First launched on PC and Mac in 2015, Invisible, Inc. later appeared on PlayStation 4, iOS, and Nintendo Switch. Klei Entertainment, widely known for Oxygen Not Included and Don’t Starve, created the game.
Fundamentally, the game plays like the XCOM series, but the emphasis on espionage sets it apart. Eavesdropping and rescuing an object or person is an important part of most of the game’s missions, in keeping with the game’s spy concept.
In the case of Goldhawk Interactive’s Xenonauts, it doesn’t conceal its XCOM influences, particularly the aforementioned X-COM: UFO Defense. When asked about X-COM: UFO Defense in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, project leader Chris England stated it was one of the “formative games” in his youth. As such, England said he was “staying true” while also “translating those game concepts into the present age.”
Xenonauts succeeds admirably in reimagining the classic game, and as a result is a great pick for fans of the original version from 1994.
15. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
First released in 2018 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden was released on Nintendo Switch in 2019. There are three playable characters in the game, each with their own set of powers and weaponry, which adds a lot of variety to the game’s battle. The Bearded Ladies created the game.
For Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, the Metascore was an impressive 80 points, with a User Score of 8.1.