Best 14 Turn-Based Combat Games Like XCOM
You may like the classic or the modern XCOM games. In any case, XCOM 2, the sequel to the series reboot, has brought the franchise back to the top of the turn-based genre.
But after defeating the aliens, you may want more of that sweet turn-based combat. So, the games like XCOM we’ve found offer you more hours of tactical squad action across sci-fi, fantasy, and medieval settings.
- Developer: Goldhawk Interactive
- Publisher: Goldhawk Interactive
- Release Date: June 2014
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Xenonauts is a turn-based strategy game with graphics that resemble the original XCOM games. Lead developer Chris England said the studio took XCOM: UFO Defense as a primary inspiration.
And the inspiration is clear in mechanics, visuals, and even sound. It’s a “modernization” of the classical XCOM titles or a spiritual successor of the ’90s entries, even down to the story. So, it’s the Cold War era, and you play as a soldier squad against alien invaders.
The setting delivers turn-based squad combat with some new elements: real-time air combat with a pause button, customizing soldier gear, a cover system, friendly NPCs, various win conditions for each mission, and non-scripted missions. Outside of combat, you also manage planetary defense systems.
- Developer: Snapshot Games
- Publisher: Snapshot Games
- Release Date: December 2019
- Platform: Windows, macOS, PS4, Xbox One
Julian Gollop, the creator of the original XCOM game, helped create Phoenix Point. But Phoenix Point has something extra. See, aside from offering complex squad-based combat, it also offers “4X” gameplay on its overworld map.
4X is the type of playtime you’d find on civilization, which is the set of systems to expand your civilization while exploring the map. Here, you operate a global resistance against aliens. You move, explore, trade, build, and research your goal to defeat the “Pandorians.”
Its top-down tactical combat is complex as well. Aliens can adapt and mutate as you fight, but you can use high-tech gear, skills, and the three weapons you can carry in battle. Additionally, other human factions are fighting for limited resources, and you have various ways to resolve these challenges.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
- Developer: Larian Studios
- Publisher: Larian Studios, Bandai Namco, Entertainment
- Release Date: September 2017
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, iPadOS
Original Sin 2 is one of the most highly rated and popular turn-based RPGs ever. It blends various layers of character customization, progression, and D&D mechanics. In essence, you play with a squad of heroes fighting against “The Void.”
First, you can customize your character with various classes and races to pick, and, as you level, you’ll also unlock skills, traits, perks, and gear. Then, you travel on semi-open maps across four acts, and you may approach situations through dialogue, combat, or trickery.
Combat is the shining beacon of the game. It’s slow-paced and vastly strategic: you use your turn to move in a grid map, attack or use a vast selection of skills, status effects, and mechanics. The environments are also highly dynamic: you can create clouds, smoke, and fires of various elements.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
- Developer: The Bearded Ladies
- Publisher: Funcom
- Release Date: December 2018
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Mutant comes from an indie studio. Former Payday and Hitman developers united in delivering a tactical, turn-based game with heavy XCOM influence – even down to the third-person combat animations. The story is different, though: you play as a squad of humanoids searching for “Eden” in a post-human world.
Its unique perk is the third-person exploration. You roam around the area in 3D / top-down detail, and you can press the “Stealth” button to be silent, position your squad, and start combat with an advantage.
Combat is very tough, though. In various instances, you use your three squad members to fight and use the skills, and using these “mutations” recharge when you kill enemies. Also, characters have skill trees, weapon upgrades, grenades, limited healing supplies, and gear to find.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2K
- Release Date: December 2022
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Midnight Suns is Marvel’s latest video game. It’s a 3D turn-based and squad-based RPG with cards. XCOM series creators were part of the game.
You play in the darker sides of the Marvel Universe with a cast of characters that include Avengers, Runaways, and X-Men. You decide the characters that become a part of each mission and approach these instances with fun, simple, but tactical combat.
You play as the “Hunter,” a customizable and original hero. For combat, you draw the cards you collect from your deck, which can be offensive or defensive skills, buffs, debuffs, and other phenomenons. Its mechanics are fun, inventive, and easy to understand.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Developer: Intelligent Systems, Kou Shibusawa
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: July 2019
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
The latest entry in the Fire Emblem series delivers tactical, turn-based, and squad-based RPG with various comprehensive systems to unwind. The setting is the fantasy continent of Fódlan, where your customizable character chooses a noble house to serve, which affects the campaign.
The game adds social simulation and management elements to the series. You get to interact with NPCs, build relationships, and explore other events in-between story battles. You’re also a teacher, and your students are your warriors, so you must engage in mechanics to teach them well.
As for the battle, you play in turns to move across a grid in a third-person/top-down perspective. The game’s unique perks include passive abilities, a sword-paper-scissors weapon system, permadeath, character classes, skill trees, and other features.
- Developer: Flaming Fowl Studios
- Publisher: Twin Sails Interactive
- Release Date: October 2021
- Platform: Windows, macOS
Gloomhaven is a dungeon-crawler RPG with tactical and turn-based combat. You play a campaign in a fantasy world and go across a branching story that includes 95 instances.
The combat is the classic you’d expect from the genre. You take turns to move each squad member on a grid, attack, and use skills. You can also play the campaign in co-op alongside three additional players.
The game also has a card system. You choose a combination of cards from you on each turn to take actions like healing, disarming monsters, or moving. Similarly, a dice roll randomizes actions like classic D&D titles.
- Developer: inXile Entertainment
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: August 2020
- Platform: Linux, MacOS, Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Wasteland 3 is a turn-based and squad-based RPG. Your characters progress, the quest is open-ended, and you make decisions that alter the paths and lead to various endings.
The title comes from former Fallout developers, so it has in-depth consequences and branching paths. So, the setting is a similar post-apocalyptic world, where you play as a squad of customizable Colorado Rangers on a mission to restore order.
Wasteland 3 delivers squad-based and turn-based combat on hub areas connected by an overworld. You take turns to shoot, move, and use items and skills. Then, you level up to invest in the skills and stats that play around with the perks and traits you selected for your character.
- Developer: Overhype Studios
- Publisher: Overhype Studios
- Release Date: April 2015
- Platform: Windows
Battle Brothers is a turn-based and tactical RPG title. You play as the leader of a mercenary company, and the setting is a gritty and pixelated medieval fantasy world. Its plot is about taking contracts to help different groups worldwide.
Like XCOM, you have a main hub, which is your camp. Here is where you manage many aspects of the quest and your soldiers. Then, the quest is open-ended, as you can decide where to go, which mercenaries to hire, whom to fight, and how to progress your characters.
Your soldiers have skills, skill trees, perks, traits, weapon skills, backgrounds, stories, and personalities. Lastly, you travel with your team to battle on grid maps, and you take turns to move, attack, and use skills. The game’s unique perk is its permadeath and injury mechanics.
- Developer: Splash Damage, The Coalition
- Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: April 2020
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S
Gears Tactics is a straightforward turn-based and tactical squad combat game. It has a linear campaign with no other systems to manage other than your squad’s progression and gear. And it works because combat is deep, creative, and thrives with excellent action-set pieces.
That said, this is a spin-off of the Gears of War franchise. The story is a prequel to the first game, and you play as a commander of a squad pushing against an alien invasion. So, the setting is quite familiar.
For combat, you have dozens of skills to master and a wide arsenal of sci-fi firearms and explosives. There’re also auras, hacking abilities, and other elements making combat highly dynamic.
- Developer: Harebrained Schemes
- Publisher: Paradox Interactive
- Release Date: April 2018
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
BattleTech is a turn-based strategy RPG game with mechs. So, you control mechs in combat, and you can customize the aesthetics, weapons, skills, and other aspects of these machines.
These elements come straight from the board game Battletech, which debuted in 1984. In the year 3025, Powerful noble houses rule BettleTech’s world in a war against each other. You serve the house you choose as a mercenary commander and leader of a combat vehicle team.
You’re responsible for choosing every mech’s pilot, armament, armor, model, and skills. So, you control these mechs on grid-like maps, as, like in XCOM, each mission has its own grid-based map. That said, combat is as usual, but your mechs need repair and maintenance.
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Publisher: Klei Entertainment
- Release Date: May 2015
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Invisible, Inc is a turn-based tactical stealth game with roguelike elements. You play as a covert agent squad on missions to acquire resources and support. The plot is about relocating an espionage agency to a new base.
Your job is infiltrating dangerous corporations in grid-like scenarios. You’ll manage precision, stealth, and teamwork to complete missions largely devoid of combat. You take turns to move and hack, but your actions raise the alarm level over time.
Then, agents can level up to unlock augments, programs, and items. If guards detect you, you can fight, but you have a limited number of turns before you have to start the level over. Lastly, you can complete these missions with one of the 10 available agents, and there’re 5 game modes.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus
- Developer: Bulwark Studios
- Publisher: Kasedo Games
- Release Date: November 2015
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
The Adeptus Mechanicus is one of the many games within the Warhammer 4,000 universe. This one is a turn-based strategy RPG. Here, you command a group of Tech-Priests against mechanical enemies.
You upgrade characters, set up your squad, and select missions from a ship, which is the hub. Upgrades require selecting gear, adding extra followers to your 3-squad team, and spending currency to upgrade characters.
For combat, you take turns to use your skills and items, move, and attack. The game’s perk is the “Cognition” system. You need Cognition for attacks and most skills. You start with limited points, and you can get more from killing enemies or by interacting with certain items in the arenas.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Release Date: August 2017
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn-based tactical action adventure. It blends Nintendo’s Mario franchise with Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids series.
Here, Mario travels with a group of Rabbids to save the Mushroom Kingdom from other invading Raddibs. The cast of characters for your squad includes four Rabbids, Luigi, Yoshi, and Princess Peach.
Lastly, battles feature a mix of creative skills and objectives. Some battles are about defeating the enemies, while others ask you for a specific action such as protecting or escorting characters.