XCOM: Enemy Unknown

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
XCOM: Enemy Unknown App Poster Image
Terrific port of the console/PC hit, but still not for kids.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

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.

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. 


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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bywillman72 November 28, 2013


a less grapical xcom both in violence and visual
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... Continue reading

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
  • Price: $19.99
  • Release date: June 20, 2013
  • Category: Strategy Games
  • Size: 1905.00 MB
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy games

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