By Steve Wright
Remember how I said I was playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown before my The Bureau: XCOM Declassified preview last week? Well, I couldn't admit it at the time, but it was the iOS version of the ultra-popular strategy title. After a level or to of the handheld version of Enemy Unknown, I can categorically say that it looks and plays identically to its console versions.
Everything you'd expect from XCOM: Enemy Unknown's console versions exist in this new iOS port: scanning the globe for missions, the missions themselves, plus all the fun stuff like character and XCOM HQ customisation. There are two fewer maps in the iOS iteration, but a control scheme that's always been better on a point-and-click style interface easily makes up for that shortcoming. As you command your squad of four, you'll simply have to touch on the map to place each unit. Similarly, the use of special skills is just as easy; click on the skill you'd like to use, and on the area or enemy you'd like to perform it on. Easy as pie.
Things like general navigation on a map are easier on iOS than on a console as well; standard pinch-to-zoom commands work in Enemy Unknown. Simply put, it's all quite intuitive.
The fact that Enemy Unknown is almost exactly a 1:1 port of the 2012 title means that it's just as challenging on iOS. Which -- if you know how I play XCOM -- means I'll probably get more enjoyment out of the third-person shooter The Bureau rather than the iOS Enemy Unknown. Again, that's due to my own skill at strategy games and not a fault of the game itself.
If you're a portable gamer who loves strategy titles or just a huge fan of the franchise, XCOM on iOS is a must-have. Look for it in the coming months on the Apple App Store. While you wait, you can read Greg's in-depth XCOM: Enemy Unknown console review or check out iOS screenshots below.