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Video Game / Mercs of Boom

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Mercs of Boom (originally called X-Mercs or X-Mercs: Invasion) is a freemium Turn-Based Tactics game, developed in 2015 for iOS by Game Insight. The game has since been ported to Windows.

The style of the game is heavily reminiscent of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, although the setting is more akin to Command & Conquer or Defiance.

In 2040, a meteorite delivers a strange blue mineral to Earth dubbed "Advinite". The rapidly-spreading advinite proves to be a valuable resource, but its unique radiation has proven to be dangerous to living things, mutating terrestrial life forms into unrecognizable shapes. As animals mutate into dangerous monstrosities, humanity comes under siege, unprepared for nature turning against us. Millions are killed. Governments collapse. Cities are evacuated. Survivors live in heavily fortified and shielded megacities. In the resultant Crapsack World, two power blocs are formed, similar to the old Cold War: the libertarian and economic North Atlantic Defense Alliance (blue) and the totalitarian, industrial, and scientific Red Dragon Union (red). The two entities exist in a state not unlike the old Cold War. The Union boasts a large, well-equipped standing army, while the Alliance tends to rely more on the large number of Private Military Contractors that have sprung up following the crisis. The delicate state of peace is maintained by the World Council, who oversee everything (literally) from their Space Station in orbit.


The player is put in charge of one such PMC with an Elaborate Underground Base that can be expanded as needed. The world is split up into territories (blue, red, or neutral). You send a squad of mercs (scouts, heavies, and snipers) on various missions to these territories. The missions can be a part of a Story Arc or randomized. The enemies are more frequently mutants, but there are also plenty of missions that pit the player's PMC against rival PMCs (including other players' bases), criminal gangs, Alliance or Union forces, and aliens. In the base, the player can research new technologies in the labs and produce new equipment in the armories. As your mercs level up (through kills), you can choose new skills from the options available to that level. If a merc is killed in battle, he or she is placed in a cryopod, at which point the player has a choice: incinerate the merc (there are a limited number of cryopods) or revive him/her via one of two methods (normal revival, which takes time and reduces the merc's level by 1, and turning him/her into a cyborg, which retains the level and skills and also unlocks new skills but requires a special item). Events on the base use Real Life time (e.g. if you start the production of a medkit, you can close the app; when you open it 10 minutes later, the medkit will be ready). Naturally, given the freemium nature of the game, certain processes can be sped up or improved via Real Life money. Research and production require money, a certain number of scientists/engineers, and certain items that can either be obtained as mission rewards or purchased on the market (not all items can be purchased, such as mutant corpses).


The mission mechanic is very similar to XCOM. Each merc gets two action points per turn, which can be used to move a certain distance, shoot, reload, use items, or engage sentry mode. Snipers require both action points to shoot their primary weapon, while most other weapons can be fired up to two times per turn (i.e. firing a weapon does not end the turn). Sentry mode is identical to "Overwatch" in XCOM in that it allows a merc to interrupt an enemy's movement with a shot. Cover is important, as it reduces the chance for an enemy to hit your merc and also reduces the chance of a Critical Hit. Missions tend to be fairly short, compared to XCOM, and levels are small. Story Arc levels are larger.

As of the end of 2021, the game has been removed from the App Store and the Google Play Store. While those who still have the game can open it, with the servers shut down, the game cannot be played.

The game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Bomb: Cloudberries are mutated fungi that look like giant fruit with spikes on them. They attack by exploding and damaging everything in the immediate area. They can be killed fairly easily, although there are usually lots of them. Higher-tier cloudberries have multiple shells, so "killing" them results in the weaker lower-tier cloudberries to appear in their place (i.e. shedding the outer skin).
  • Alien Invasion: The entire setting appears to be moving towards this (the subtitle is telling). Apparently, this is the first time the aliens had to seriously go with this method, as they typically use their Body Surf ability to infiltrate societies and subvert them from within, then casually strolling in. But humans developed Deflector Shields to protect their cities, preventing the more subtle approach.
  • The Alliance: The North Atlantic Defense Alliance is stated to be a successor to NATO with different goals and member states. In this case, it appears to be less a military alliance and more a government entity, as it has its own Senate. Being a democracy, it does not have a large standing army. Instead, the Alliance tends to outsource many tasks to PMCs. NADA territories and troops are blue.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: A random mission may involve a lab tech liberating the mutant beasts aboard a flying platform. After shooting your way through the beasts, you get to him, and he claims that all creatures deserve to be free. Just then, a raptor shows up and eats him. Yeah.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: At first, you can only use three mercs in the field at a time, although you have more space in the barracks, in case you want backups. You can later increase the number of troops you can take into battle up the maximum of five. Your barracks (number and level) determine how many mercs you can have on your base, so you can keep extras for backup, in case your alpha team is wounded or on ice, or to send out on expeditions, although they will still need good gear and leveling to succeed, but you can probably equip them with previous tier's weapons and armor.
  • Armor Is Useless: Definitely averted. A merc won't survive long in battle without armor, which reduces incoming damage. There are 5 types of regular armor (standard, reinforced, polymer, composite, and power), 4 of which need to be researched by your scientists and built by your engineers. Each merc class has its own armor with different levels of protection. Like weapons, armor can be enhanced with chips, usually obtained by raiding other players' bases. There are also 5 additional types of armor, which can be obtained in randomly-dropped crates, purchased at the market, or researched and built (usually using premium currency): Jericho Armor (used by Jericho mercs), Alliance Battle Armor (used by Alliance soldiers), Union Battle Armor (used by Union soldiers), Exodus Armor (used by Exodus fanatics), and Reaper Armor (a highly-advanced suit of armor that's even better than Power Armor). Unlike regular armor, these kinds of armor aren't subdivided into classes and can be used by any merc, although the level of protection still differs based on class. It should also be noted that Sharpshooter-type snipers can be given the ability to fire an armor-piercing shot that deals full damage.
  • Attack Drones: Some missions have you fighting these. You can deploy them during missions, although they're a one-shot deal. One mission sends you out with only a flying drone with a peashooter for a gun, with your mercs staying home. Human-made drones are either treaded with machineguns or flying with RPGs. Aliens have pyramid-shaped scout drones and jellyfish-like drone hunters. Both can teleport to get to your weaker mercs. All drones (both humans and alien) are shielded.
  • The Beastmaster: One of the early missions has you track down rumors of large mutants, which appear to be capable of controlling all the other mutated animals. The rumors turn out to be true. The creatures are called Overseers and possess Psychic Powers, allowing them to summon and direct other mutants. They are large, four-legged, and possess tentacles. They are later revealed to have been genetically-engineered by aliens to direct mutated wildlife against human settlements.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Arachnids are large scorpions with deadly stings. Older (and larger) ones have venomous stings, and some can even spit poison a short distance. Strangely, all arachnids have only four legs.
  • Body Surf: The Auri have abandoned their original physical bodies and have learned to transfer their minds into other vessels. This makes it very easy for them to infiltrate human society.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Similar to XCOM, weapons need to be reloaded when they run out (even pistols), but the number of clips is unlimited.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The freemium nature of the game means that this is a valid option. In-game currency can be purchased with real money, as well as the "premium" currency, which is used to buy high-end equipment and speed up research/construction/manufacturing.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": A variation. Later in the game, you encounter dangerous four-legged beasts that everyone calls "chupacabras". However, these beasts are actually alien, so the name of a mythical Latin American creature doesn't really apply.
  • Character Class System: You can recruit mercs of the following three types: scout, The Heavy, and sniper. Scouts are the Jack of All Stats soldiers with assault rifles and speed. Heavy troopers have stronger armor and powerful Short Range Shotguns but can barely move. Snipers can shoot far away with great precision, but have the weakest armor. Naturally, a mix of these is required for a balanced team. Each class can further upgrade along one of two trees each:
    • Scouts can choose between Storm Trooper (direct combat) and Support Fighter (friendly buffs, better medkit usage).
    • Snipers can choose between Ranger (closer to front line and focused on multiple shots) and Sharpshooter (long-range precision shooter).
    • Heavies can choose between Defender (keep enemies focused on the Heavy) and Destroyer (better damage and has grenades).
    • All classes have the small Cyborg upgrade tree, which can only be used if a merc has been killed in battle, and the player chooses to revive him or her with cybermodules. Each successive Cyborg upgrade requires more cybermodules.
  • Crapsack World: Outside the cities, the world is overgrown with unrecognizable plant life and full of dangerous mutated animals (and people), not to mention advinite radiation. Even the cities are not entirely safe, since mutants are constantly trying to break through the defenses and it's not uncommon for them to succeed. Besides this, there's still plenty of violence with gangs and mercenaries occasionally resolving their differences on city streets.
  • Cult: After being done with Jericho, the aliens recruit a group of humans, who worship them as gods. The group calls itself Exodus and has fairly powerful gear, likely gifts from their alien masters.
  • Cyborg: If your mercs are killed, and you don't revive them or end the mission in time, they are brought back to the base and placed in cryopods. One of the options is to use cybermodules that turn them into cyborgs. The more times they're killed and revived using this method, the more cyborg abilities they get (up to 4). A cyborg merc's icon shows half of his/her face covered with metal, and the eye is just a glowing green lens. One of your allies is Samuel "Hammer" Umbara, a South African mercenary with a cybernetic arm, who runs his own security company but occasionally sends contracts your way.
  • Deflector Shields: The only reason humanity still exists is thanks to the invention of large domed shields that protect the megacities from the mutant wildlife. Attempts to miniaturize the technology have not been successful due to the massive power requirements. This all changes when an alien personal shield generator is captured. A unique take on this is that it takes multiple technologies to achieve the same level as the aliens, starting with weak disposable generators. It should be noted that shields receive the full brunt of enemy fire, as it's not mitigated by armor. It's no unusual for a shield to be depleted in 2-3 powerful shots with damage in thousands, only for the damage to suddenly be reduced by 75% as soon as armor comes into play.
  • The Empire: The Red Dragon Union has some indications of this. It's a totalitarian state that appears to be a mix of USSR and Communist China. It's bigger than the Alliance and has a large standing army, not to mention a strong industrial and scientific base. Union military equipment is considered to be state-of-the-art. It's not necessary a bad place to live, though, despite low individual freedoms, and the dictatorship appears to be the only way to keep such a large number of people (packed into densely-populated megacities) from degrading into anarchy. RDU territories and troops are red.
  • Energy Weapons:
    • All weapons past the caseless ammo stage. Includes Frickin' Laser Beams, Lightning Guns, Plasma Cannons, and even gravity-based weapons.
    • The third-tier weapons you can research are beam weapons. Like all other weapon types, they include pistols, rifles, sniper rifles, and heavy beam guns. They fire a bright blue beam. Union's beam weapons are the premium version of these, requiring you to spend morbidium (premium currency) to research and build.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: You are eventually able to capture and interrogate live aliens using relatively weak electric shocks to stimulate the "conversation", when finely-tuned sensors detect that the subject is lying or hiding the truth. The first attempt to interrogate a captured Reptoid results in the shocks frying the alien's brain implant, resulting in his death. Later analysis shows that part of the implant's function is to kill the subject in case of capture and interrogation. This becomes more important in late game stage, where certain items can only be obtained by capturing and "studying" live high-ranking aliens. These items (genetic tags) allow you to raid UFOs that have been located on the ground, as well as open crates aboard the ships to obtain the extremely rare refined advinite, which is necessary for certain high-level research and to produce gear unlocked by that researched.
  • Escort Mission: Yes, there are a number of those. Fortunately, they tend to be fairly short, like most missions, and you can control the VIP. Unfortunately, VIPs cannot be healed by any means.
  • Evil Counterpart: Jericho is a rival PMC, whose members are frequently unhinged and are not afraid of collateral damage. Basically, They give all PMCs a bad name. A number of Story Arc missions (and some random missions) involve fighting them. It later turns out that they were working for the aliens. At some point, though, the aliens decide that they are now loose ends and start blasting their bases with their dreadnought-type saucers. After that, this role is taken up by Exodus, another rival PMC, whose technology base is at least as good as yours (they are also controlled by aliens).
  • Fast-Roping: This is how human enemies sometimes show up, no matter the location (even atop a moving train).
  • Four-Star Badass: General Shen Molotov of the Red Dragon Union. Besides being a Reasonable Authority Figure (once you earn his respect, that is), he also at one point shows himself to be a highly competent soldier, Fast-Roping behind a squad of alien soldiers and blasting them with his shotgun before they can react. Even your mercs (who by that point can mow down a whole alien army) are impressed.
  • Friendly Fire: For the most part, it's impossible to harm fellow mercs by shooting through them, even using a sniper's multiple-penetration skill. However, grenades damage everything in the blast radius, including your mercs. A Heavy's explosive shot skill can also damage any friendlies in the immediate area of the target.
  • Friendly Sniper: One of the three classes of mercs you can hire. Naturally, they carry long-range sniper rifles, as well as pistols as backup and for close-range combat (sniper rifles are more accurate at long range than up close). Firing a sniper rifle requires two actions points, although one is sufficient to put the sniper into sentry mode (with reduced accuracy). When snipers fire their rifles, they rest them on the elbow of the other arm. When leveling up, a sniper can learn a skill that allows him or her to hit a target in such a way as to damage all the enemies in-between, possibly resulting in a Kill Streak (complete with an Unreal Tournament-like voice announcing "Multikill!").
  • Frontline General: The highest rank tier for your mercs is "general", which means you can eventually have five generals running around blasting mutants and enemies.
  • Gatling Good: One of the early-tier premium items is a handheld rotary chaingun for your heavy merc.
  • Giant Flyer: Spikewings are large flying reptile/bat mutants who spit acid at your mercs, which eats through their armor, reducing its effectiveness. Some are able to revive fallen comrades.
  • Giant Mook: Juggernauts are massive alien units on four legs that compare to XCOM's Sectopods in how dangerous they are. They are able to easily One-Hit Kill any of your mercs with their main cannons, as well as shell an area with artillery fire.
  • Gladiator Games: A secondary quest line deals with one. A disreputable fellow named Marcus contacts you and asks you to capture some high-level mutant for him. After that, he tells you that he's building an arena in the free city of Maga (on Madagascar), where various mercs can pit their skills in deadly fights against mutants. After your mercs prove themselves against mutants, he invites them again, but this time, he surprises them with an ambush by a mix of disgruntled Alliance and Union soldiers, who have a grudge against your PMC. Afterwards, he defends the deception by claiming to have known that your mercs would easily wipe the floor with them. Eventually, he pits your mercs first against several waves: high level mutants, Attack Drones, and then an overseer (which he keeps calling a chimera). Afterwards, Veronica asks him where he got an overseer from, and he tells her it was from Exodus, the alien-worshiping fanatics. His next call is a request for aid, as the aliens have launched a full-scale assault on Maga.
  • The Greys: The first aliens you encounter are similar to this. In fact, they are eerily similar to XCOM's Sectoids, even moving around on all fours. These ones are dubbed "Imps", though. The more advanced psychic versions are called "Incubi", although their psychic powers are limited to reducing a merc's accuracy.
  • Green Rocks: Advinite is a strange blue crystal that has arrived on a meteorite and quickly spread through the world. It's incredibly valuable and can be used to generate massive quantities of power, but also highly radioactive. The aliens have mastered the use of advinite and are using a highly-refined form to power their ships and technology. Eventually, you're going to need all the refined advinite you can get your hands on in order to research and build that high-tech armor and weapons. The only ways to obtain those crystals are to raid undamaged UFOs with at least one genetic tag left over, which can be used to open the crate aboard the ship. Alternatively, you can capture Juggernauts, whose massive machinery is also powered by refined advinite, and hope that experimenting on them yields the crystals.
  • The Heavy: One of the three types of mercs you can hire. Heavies are tougher than the other two types but are also slower. They typically carry shotguns as their primary weapon with pistols as backup, although some premium weapons for the class are of the Gatling Good variety.
  • Hired Guns: Every member of your squad is one. The Alliance typically relies on mercs for most operations due to the relatively small size of their standing army. The Union eschews them unless absolutely necessary due to their large army and the attitude that one shouldn't trust someone whose loyalty is to the highest bidder instead of his country. Eventually, though, some of the Union hire-ups start to trust you enough to employ your mercs for sensitive missions.
    • You are also able to temporarily hire some high-level mercenaries, equipped with top-of-the-line gear, that can be used for a limited number of missions before leaving. And no, you can't swap out their nice gear.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Gia Wagner is a very attractive and brilliant scientist, whom you recruit to run your science labs. While her last name may imply the Herr Doktor trope, the fact that the game lacks any voice-overs makes this difficult to determine (she doesn't engage in Poirot Speak).
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: At some point, you start getting your hands on some alien equipment. You can use it to start improving your own gear using the research lab. Some of the improvements are incremental (for example, enhancing your existing weapons first before making new weapons available). Eventually, you're able to equip your mercs with powerful Energy Weapons, heavy Powered Armor, and tough Deflector Shields, although it'll take a lot of work, since it usually requires recovering various components on missions.
  • Impossible Item Drop: On rare occasions, killed enemies, even if they happen to be mutated jungle beasts, can leave behind crates with anything from credits to unique weapons, making you wonder what a giant scorpion was doing with a high-powered sniper rifle (maybe it ate the previous owner?). While those unique weapons tend to be inferior to the same tier weapons you can research and build, you can often find them before you reach that tier, making them fairly useful until then.
  • Instant-Win Condition: While most missions don't end until you've killed everyone and everything around you, some missions don't require that and will end if a certain condition is met, even if you're surrounded by enemies and your mercs have 1 HP left each. You'll get a "Mission Complete" message, and your mercs will stand up and cheer.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Aliens use this to hide their bases and ships. One research tree is dedicated to developing and building a radar structure capable of detecting UFOs. Shades have chameleon-like properties and can turn completely invisible on the battlefield. They also have powerful sniper rifles.
  • Jack of All Stats: Scout mercs are your typical soldiers and are in-between the extreme classes of The Heavy and Friendly Sniper. Armed with assault rifles (low damage but good mid-range accuracy) and pistols, scouts are the fastest mercs. Their armor is also between the two other classes.
  • Kill Sat: Some of the battlefield items you can use involve a satellite in orbit. These can be anything from Death from Above to revival of all fallen soldiers in the area. Activating these shows a brief cutscene of the satellite firing a beam or a projectile.
  • Kill Streak: It's possible to kill multiple enemies simultaneously using an area effect weapon (e.g. grenade), The Heavy's Splash Damage, or the Friendly Sniper's multiple-penetration skill. When three or more are killed in this manner, the game praises you with the large bold "MULTIKILL!", which is also announced in an Unreal Tournament-style voice.
  • Lightworlder: Pterots (pterodactyl-like aliens) are from a low-gravity world, which means they require an anti-gravity suit and cybernetic implants to survive on Earth. Pterots pilot every UFO and can summon and increase the efficiency of alien Attack Drones. If a UFO is shot down, the pterot doesn't survive the crash. The only way to encounter one is to raid a landed UFO.
  • Interface Spoiler: The entire research tree is visible to the player from the get-go, meaning there is no way to hide the existence of aliens. Then again, one of the early updates pretty much shows humans fighting aliens in the loading screen.
  • Lightning Gun: Puppeteers can fire bolts of lightning at your mercs. Later on, you'll be able to research and build arc weapons that do the same. They are more powerful than beam weapons and are the first tier of weapons that require resources that can only be obtained by raiding UFOs.
  • Lizard Folk: The second type of aliens you encounter and likely the aliens' front-line troops. They are much tougher than the Grey-like Imps and carry heavy Energy Weapons. Regular Reptoids wear blue armor, while Sergeants were red.
  • Mad Scientist: You eventually find and recruit a brilliant scientist named Professor Aaron Gronberg, whose head is permanently stuck in the clouds, as evidenced by his Einstein Hair. His grip on reality is very flimsy, but he's invaluable in combating the alien threat. Except he turns out to be the Master of Abyss, the leader of the alien invasion, using his position to secretly sabotage your efforts.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Attack Drones serve as this for the aliens.
  • Mega City: With most of the old cities overrun by mutants, the survivors settled in huge densely-populated cities surrounded by walls.
  • Mission Control: Veronica Simpson is a mix of this and Number Two, being your assistant. She is also quite attractive in her body-hugging uniform with a low cleavage and a green beret. Oh, and she always walks around with a sidearm, so don't mess with her.
  • The Mole: Eventually, it becomes clear that there is an alien mole in your organization. It's Professor Gronberg, he's actually leading the invasion.
  • Multiarmed And Dangerous: Shadows have four arms. They are natural chameleons and are excellent snipers, making them extremely dangerous.
  • Multiethnic Name: The Union representative you usually deal with is General Shen Molotov, probably of mixed Chinese and Russian descent, as well as a Famous-Named Foreigner (Vyacheslav Molotov was Joseph Stalin's foreign minister).
  • Non-Entity General: While many characters address you, your avatar is never shown and never speaks.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The World Council lives and works aboard a Space Station in orbit. Its goal appears to be maintaining peace between the Alliance and the Union as well as working on resolving the Advinite Crisis. However, they keep plenty of secrets and are more of a shadow entity than the UN. Part of the reason for the secrecy is because of their efforts to combat the aliens.
  • One-Hit Kill: If a critical hit on a healthy enemy results in a dead enemy, the game announces it with "DEADSHOT!"
  • The Paralyzer: With research, your scientists develop one-shot devices that can be used to attempt a capture of a live mutant. The odds of a successful stun depend on the strength of the creature and its remaining HP. Captured creatures are placed in a special containment unit at your base. They can either be used in research that requires live specimens or to obtain one-shot bonuses, such as cash, nanites, or advinite. You only have a limited number of space available for captured specimens. Later, research allows using stun guns to capture live aliens, which proves necessary, as the only way to obtain certain items is by interrogating high-ranking aliens.
  • Plasma Cannon: The ultimate non-premium weapons are this, although they're called pulse weapons. The descriptions, though, clearly indicate this trope. There's even a nice Hand Wave for why pulse sniper rifles are next to useless at close range (the magnetic containment had to be reinforced for long-range shooting, meaning the magnetic bottle doesn't collapse as it should at short range).
  • Powered Armor: Juggernauts are huge alien biomechanical units piloted by a jellyfish-like creature. They are some of the most dangerous enemies in the game and take a lot of effort to destroy. They also have powerful area-of-effect weapons. By studying juggernauts, your scientists can develop powered armor for your own mercs, which is the highest-tiered non-premium armor in the game.
  • Prevent the War: Some missions involve your squad trying to stop crazed fanatics from using a False Flag Operation to start a war between the Alliance and the Union. While neither side likes the other, none of the leaders want a global war.
  • Private Military Contractors: Hundreds of these have sprung up after the Advinite Crisis, willing to work for anyone with money. The Alliance tends to rely on PMCs due to a small standing army, while the Union prefers to avoid dealing with them, although some Union officials are forced to put aside their dislike for those they do not consider true soldiers (a true soldier's loyalty is to his country not to coin) for certain sensitive missions.
  • Psychic Powers: Walkers appear to have special abilities that allow them to mess with people's minds and make them think that they're their lost loved ones, all to lure them into an ambush. They also use those abilities to perform telekinetic attacks that ignore cover. Some higher-level aliens have similar powers. For example, Incubi can temporarily reduce a merc's accuracy.
  • Raptor Attack: Raptors are large two-legged reptiles that can quickly cover large distances and tear chunks out of your mercs with their sharp teeth. Their roars can stun their victims.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Senator John Fox of the Alliance and General Shen Molotov of the Union. Both of them care about protecting their people and have no intention of starting a war with the other side. Both tend to be truthful with you and pay handsomely for your services, even if Molotov is initially distrustful of mercenaries. The so-called Shadow Advisor of the World Council never reveals his (or her?) face but is determined to protect Earth from the alien threat. When he sees that your PMC is worthy of receiving critical assignment related to the threat, he will contact you. The Shadow Advisor's name is Steven Coldrim, the inventor of the Deflector Shields used to protect the cities.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: Most missions will feature remains of the old civilization overgrown with mutant plant life or advinite crystal formations poking through.
  • Sand Worm: One mission involves a search for these, as some scientists think that the seismic readings they have obtained point towards these. They're wrong. There are plenty of arachnids underground, though.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Unless scripted otherwise, heavily wounded spikewings tend to run away from your mercs and will no longer attack them. In fact, in some cases, it may be beneficial to leave them alive until the end of the battle, as larger spikewings can revive fallen comrades.
  • Shout-Out: The mission to capture several rare arachnids for a collector features something that looks suspiciously like a vault door in a wasteland.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The Heavy carries one. They have a hard time hitting the broadside of a barn from more than 30 feet away. Mercs can also learn the skill of hitting enemies adjacent of the target. The caseless ammo version (second-tier weapon) has three barrels.
  • Silicon-Based Life: Crystallids are floating enemies composed of advinite crystals. They appear to be high-ranking alien commanders and are capable of causing advinite growth right under your mercs' feet. They attack using bolts of electricity and are very tough to kill.
  • Space Station: The World Council is based on one called Olympus. Originally designed as a spacecraft for a manned mission to Mars, it was hastily converted into an orbital station when the Advinite Crisis struck.
  • Take Your Time: Some of the random missions involve disarming a time bomb. If the bomb is visible, a countdown can be seen. However, this countdown is just for show due to the turn-based nature of the game. In fact, the bomb will never explode, even if you decide to skip 100 turns. Similarly, Traintop Battle briefings tell you to stop the train before it's used to blow something up. Once again, you can take hours traversing the train (which is difficult, given the small mission sizes), and still save the day. Some core missions are also stated as being highly critical. One specifically says you have an hour, which doesn't stop you from taking whole Real Life weeks going on side missions, doing research, upgrading your base, etc.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Walkers (mutated humans) are somehow able to use teleportation to ambush people. Overseers can also summon other mutants to their side. Aliens use it all over the place, although it's stated the long-range teleportation requires a beacon to avoid a Tele-Frag. This is why you are forced to destroy the early alien bases you find, since the base itself acts a beacon, which means there is no way to secure the base for long enough to study its tech, as the aliens would just keep sending reinforcements.
  • Traintop Battle: Some of the random missions involve fighting terrorists or aliens on top of a fast-moving train. Naturally, there are convenient protrusions to use as low cover.
  • Was Once a Man: Some of the mutants you encounter (called Walkers) used to be human. They are somehow able to teleport to ambush your squad and have limited Psychic Powers, performing armor-piercing telekinetic attacks on your mercs. The first time you encounter them on a mission, after being hired to escort a wealthy woman, who has dreamed of being called by her husband, who went missing during the evacuation. Naturally, her husband turns out to be a Walker, who used his Psychic Powers and a connection to the woman to lure her out of the city.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Fallen mercs are placed in cryopods. They can then be either euthanized, simply revived with some skill loss, or turned into cyborgs, which also adds new skills. This requires a special item, though. Each time a merc is revived through the latter means adds a new skills to him or her up to a maximum of 4. Each new cyborg level requires more cybermodules (1-4). Those can be obtained through playing, although it's fairly difficult, or purchased at a high price. After a merc obtains all 4 cyborg levels, the cost to revive him or her drops to 2 cybermodules.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Your main currency in the game is credits. However, there is also the "elite" currency called morbidium, described as unique advinite crystals, which is difficult to obtain. The simplest way is to buy them.
  • World War III: Apparently, one took place at some point before the game (probably even before the start of the Advinite Crisis). One of the threats in the game is the possibility of a fourth world war, since both the Alliance and the Union have nukes.
  • Wrench Wench: Your chief engineer Lucy Crow is an attractive redhead wearing a tube top (which does nothing to hide her... vast tracts of land and leaves her midriff bare), blue coveralls, a tool belt, and a red bandanna on her right knee. She also has a number of tattoos. Note that every other engineer appears to be wearing a uniform of some kind. Lacking any formal education, she's a self-taught mechanic and is very good at her job, considering what she can accomplish.

Alternative Title(s): X Mercs