14. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Release date: June 20, 2013
Developer: Firaxis Games
Revivals of beloved PC franchises don’t always turn out that well, let alone break new ground on platforms that weren’t even around when the original games first came out. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of the exceptions that help prove that rule, because not only did it remind people of why XCOM was so popular in the first place, it turned out to be incredible to play on tablets.
There’s something about the interface that Firaxis came up with that simply works on touchscreens. You can tilt twist and zoom around to see things from all angles, and while it’s possible to make a misstep, it’s very rare that one of your soldiers will end up doing something you didn’t want him or her to do. That doesn’t mean it’ll work — this is a famously challenging and difficult game, after all — but at least you’ll get to enjoy the great graphics and audio as you watch another one of your troops lost to the alien invaders.
The high level of quality extends to what you’re doing between missions as well. The sense of tension and anxiety is almost palpable as you rush to research new technologies and dissect alien corpses in order to try bridging the gap between the firepower and technology of the attackers and what we poor humans have on hand. I’ve done poorly at XCOM: Enemy Unknown a lot more often than I’ve done well, but I’ve almost always managed to get sucked back in for more.
Sadly, 2K pulled this one from the App Store once its follow-up, XCOM: Enemy Within, was released. That’s kind of a shame, because if you never played this one, you’ll simply have to take our word about how good it was.
Next: Chaos Rings