For the past 10 years I’ve been replaying with a huge satisfaction the X-COM series once a year, starting with X-Com 1 and X-Com Apocalypse and then moving on to other independent games inspired by the series like UFO-Aftershock and UFO-Afterlight.
With the announcement from Firaxis that they are making a new X-Com, which hopefully won’t turn out to be a dumbed down version for consoles and a cheap PC-port, everybody is dusting off and launching up their favorite classic X-Com game to get the back to the roots of the series.
During the last 10 years, many games were released free or commercial that were trying to resurrect the classic X-Com gameplay. To name just a few of the best we have: Xenonauts (not released yet), UFO series and UFO Extraterrestrials modded (vanilla is a failure). The newest game trying to pull off its own X-Com twist is UFO Online, a free to play online MMO with micro transactions.
UFO Online is a new tactical 3D browser based game where as player you take charge of a group of mercenaries to fight "ze" alien invaders which are holding a big party on Earth. The game remains true to the classic as much as it can. You hire mercenaries based on stats, you equip them, research, manufacture and play PvE missions or PvP mission.
Unfortunately there are no base missions or building, the base is just a nice slideshow (now i know from where Firaxis copied their base design, genius!), but the game does brings new things to table. As a mercenary commander you can customize your character appearance, and pick up one of the classes available (scout, medic, tank, sniper, grenadier) and join one of the three factions available.
Being part of a faction brings you rewards for your work, since every time you complete a mission it adds to the faction strength in that territory, and once per week it seems the faction that holds certain points on the map, or the biggest portion gets special currency to buy elite equipment.
Powered by the Unity engine, the combat looks good, and plays like the old X-COM, turn based, only that this time you get specialized troops from the start. There a few minor bugs here and there, on camera and selections but it's to be expected since the game is in Closed Beta at the moment.
While there are lots of powerful German publishers, Gamigo stands out with lots of indie titles from Europe, including UFO Online, and it seems that the micro transaction for this game will only help you move faster in some areas, not give you a complete advantage over the others.
Overall UFO Online looks like a promising product and with an adequate promotion and balanced micro-transactions it can turn into a popular product for fans of turn based combat. Even if you’re not that into the idea of playing X-Com as a MMO, you can still give UFO Online a try since the PvE can still make a difference in the faction vs faction war, and its plays from your browser!
Thane SolusUFO Online - Preview,