XCOM: Enemy Unknown




Terrific port of the console/PC hit, but still not for kids.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game can be challenging for those new to the strategy genre, but it offers a thorough tutorial. The pacing is good, but when this game gets hard, it gets very, very hard. Players will sometimes have to sacrifice soldiers to win battles.


Though it's a strategy game, there's plenty of violence here. Players use numerous weapons, including guns and bombs, to destroy alien invaders, and both sides can be bloodied, blown into bits, and impaled. Cut-scene sequences depict violence and gore, and humans can have alien eggs implanted in their heads, which explode. Sounds of human and alien suffering are frequent. 

Not applicable

The game has occasional strong swear words, including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." You don't hear it often, but the profanity is strong.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements and, for some games, challenge friends.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a mobile version of the popular console and PC game. It was an M-rated game then, and nothing has changed. The focus is on strategy, but there's strong violence, gore, and blood, and deaths are violent. Strong language is easily found. There's no multiplayer component, but this is still much too mature for young players.

What kids can learn

What Kids Can Learn

Although elements of XCOM: Enemy Unknown focus on strategic reasoning and decision making, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

What kids can learn

Although elements of XCOM: Enemy Unknown focus on strategic reasoning and decision making, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

Parents say

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What's it about?

You command troops on the ground, pointing at the spot on the map you'd like individual troops to move to, and then you choose from a menu what your next action will be. Since the game is turn-based, there's no rush to decide, and many options can be considered. In non-combat situations, players oversee the research of alien artifacts and the manufacturing of products to better protect and arm the troops; you also monitor for activity.

Is it any good?


When it hit PC and console in 2012, XCOM: ENEMY UNKNOWN topped many "game of the year" lists, and this pitch-perfect mobile version incorporates all that the previous version got right. With an incredible blend of action and strategy, it's a game that requires players to think carefully as they fight little green men on the battlefield and research and build new weapons and satellites at their operational headquarters. Heck, they even need to give thought to the best troops to send into the field. 

The graphics take a bit of a hit from the earlier version but are still fairly impressive for tablets. Also, though the high cost might scare some people, this is a game that's easily worth the $20 price tag. Still, it's very violent and definitely too much for kids. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Release date:June 20, 2013
Category:Strategy Games
Size:1905.00 MB
Publisher:2K Games
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bywillman72 November 28, 2013


a less grapical xcom both in violence and visual
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written bySalsander October 11, 2013

Only One Violent Scene

Like the Halo series, XCOM Enemy Unknown is over-critiqued by the ESRB because it contained one scene that pushed the envelope. I can assure you that 99% of the game would have without a doubt earned a T for Teen rating. Half of the game will be spent managing a military base. You will be directing research projects for equipment and managing resources. There is no adult content to be found here. The second half will involve you commanding a troop that must fight a group of aliens. You only view these soldiers from a birds eye view and can never control them. When a squad mate or alien is shot, a small amount of blood can be seen (yellow from aliens, red from humans), however there is no gore. Blood is also obscured in the dark environments. Some projectiles such as lazer beams and grenades emit light upon impact, making the blood even harder to see. The ios addition had to downgrade it's visuals from the original console version, so the firefights looks less realistic. You will find blood stains on occasion from previous attacks, but it was never excessive. There is language (read the CS review for words used), but these obscene words were used infrequently. The game even teaches great lessons on death. If one of your squad members dies, he or she will no longer be usable throughout the entire course of the game. You can not restart the mission; your squad mate will be gone forever. This shows the consequences of death and how serious we must be about the well being of others. The only scene that may disturb some was the introduction. It shows the aftermath of an alien attack in a small town. You will find a disfigured corpse on the ground with it's arms removed and eyes gauged out. A few seconds later there is a brief "jump scare" when you discover the remnants of another human body, but this is the last relatively violent scene throughout the game. Each body is only seen for about 10 seconds before the camera turns away. These scenes felt more like an attention grabber to make the game feel tense, but it is not representative of the game play later on. XCOM EU is a well made strategy game with small depictions of violence and mild language.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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