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Parents' Guide to

Xeno Command

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Sci-fi real-time strategy app feels bland and incomplete.

App iPhone , iPad , Android Free to try Strategy Games
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Oftentimes in the mobile game space, developers tend to streamline the experience in an effort to keep things easier for players on a smaller screen. The folks behind Xeno Command have taken this streamlining to an extreme, stripping the game down to its bare bones and taking away a lot of what makes real-time strategy games fun to play. Right off the bat, players need to be aware that what they initially play is essential a trial version of the game. Sure, you can start the campaign and play a few missions, but for anything past the first few chapters, you'll need to pay extra. On the one hand, this one-time fee unlocks the full version of the game, including extra campaign missions, additional commanders, and a few other bits of content. On the other hand, even with the "complete" version of the game, it still feels like there's a lot missing.

In most real-time strategy games, you will build up forces, send different squads to different locations to gain an advantage, maybe flank the enemy, etc. In Xeno Command, you only ever control one group. You move close to idle units and they march with the rest of the crew. Units auto attack nearby enemies unless you focus fire on a target. The problem here is if you do focus fire, the units can get ripped apart because they ignore all other surrounding threats. Most of the commanders' special abilities aren't all that impressive and are often awkward to aim. The game has a Campaign mode, but there's no real story to speak of that ties things together. You're just dropped into battles, given some objectives, and sent on your merry way. Choosing different commanders, at least when they're unlocked, changes your available units and abilities, but considering how basic the game is, nothing feels drastically different. What you're left with is a very basic point-and-click games that plays itself most of the time, with no sense of satisfaction or fulfillment.

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