Xenonauts to invade Steam Early Access later today

XCOM: Enemy Unknown went a long way towards tactically scratching my turn-based itch. But while it's slick, pacey action did a great job of capturing the threat and tragedy present in the original X-Com, that doesn't mean there isn't room for something deliberately slower and more methodical. The original is still easily playable, especially thanks to restoration projects like OpenXCom , but it would be nice to be working with a modern UI for a change.

Which is why Xenonauts has such promise. There's a clear aim to rejuvenate what made the original X-Com such a meaty experience for tactics fans. So it's good to see that the game's secretive organisation of planetary defenders is about to get much more visible, thanks to a release on Steam's Early Access program due later today .

"Xenonauts is a spiritual successor to the classic X-Com strategy games from the 1990s," explains developer Goldhawk Interactive. "We aim to improve the graphics, add new content and streamline the interface whilst still retaining all of the key mechanics of the original games. Devoted fans should love this game, but we're also keen to introduce the joys of old-school grand strategy to a whole new generation of players who might not otherwise experience it!"

All previous pre-orderers will receive optional Steam keys once the alpha is live on Valve's service. Players will gain access to the most recent stable build, "V18 STABLE," with more experimental iterations available as an opt-in option through the client. That'll lead into V19 STABLE, with which the developers hope to introduce a new UI, air combat auto-resolve, and a finished final mission.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.