Xenonauts 2 was provided by Hooded Horse for review. Thank you! The game is in early access and could change massively throughout development. This review is strictly regarding the initial early access release.

Aliens are invading and it is up to you to defend Earth and resist the invaders. Xenonauts 2 puts you in the role of a commander who sets up covert bases throughout the world and takes on invaders from another planet. Customize your bases, outfit your aircrafts, research new technologies, and recruit/train your soldiers to get them ready for turn-based battles where a wrong move could mean the death of your units. Your foe may be stronger and more technologically advanced, but with your control and the right decisions, you can be victorious.

I have been playing a chunk of turn-based strategy games like Xenonauts 2 lately, but the intricacies of the base building, along with aircraft customization and soldier outfitting, make this game feel a couple steps ahead. I love the amount of customization and control I have over my buildings and units, it makes me a bit excited to dive in and really take the time. I also like how my choices really feel like they make a difference, making me really think about what guns my units had, balancing it out, and what research I went into next.

This is not a forgiving game either. Yes it does have a lot of auto saves and you can go back, but one wrong move that puts a unit in crosshairs accidentally can kill them. Especially with alien tech being more advanced, I had 3 of my units one-shot due to poor planning and it was devastating. To me, this just means the developers have done a great job so far with developing a challenging, engaging experience that I kept wanting to come back to. And for the most part, it can play quite well on the Steam Deck.

Xenonauts 2 - Steam Deck Performance

When it comes to Xenonauts 2, there are two very peculiar things I discovered that directly impacted performance. First, the graphics quality. There are 6 different graphics presets: Fantastic, Beautiful, Good, Simple, Fast, Fastest with "Fantastic" being the highest setting and "Fastest" being the lowest. Oddly though, the top 4 all looked and behaved almost identically, while the "Fast" and "Fastest" preset behaved similarly to each other. These two groups were wildly different though with shadows and other details being affected, but they carried massive changes in power draw.

Higher Quality Settings
Lower Quality Settings
Lower Quality Settings
Higher Quality Settings

In one heavy scene, the higher quality group had around a 17W draw, but on the lower group, the same scene had a 10.8W draw. It is also more stable, which leads us into the next spot I noticed: framerate draw. Generally, higher framerates use more power, which makes sense, but the push of 60 FPS feels significantly larger here than in other games. I am used to seeing a 2W - 3W difference when going from 50 FPS to 60 FPS. But in Xenonauts 2, it is closer to a 5W difference and some instability, regardless of settings. Though outside of fighting, the game will rest around 7W - 8W for both builds.

Other than that, there is going to be some slowdowns when enemies take their turns and when moving around the map too quickly, but this doesn't detract from the game. Overall, it is definitely playable and with the previous issues noted, there are two builds that can be provided for this early access review:

Recommended/Battery Build

After testing, I decided the recommended build will utilize the "Fast" graphics preset to save on battery and keep as much stability as possible. The downgrades of the game's visuals were minimal compared to the massive savings in harder areas of the game, which increased battery life by an average of 1.5 - 2 hours and kept temps low thanks to being able to handle a TDP limit of 7. With the aesthetic the game is going for, this is what I would expect from battery life.

Quality Build

With the quality build, there wasn't much I could effectively change other than TDP limit to maximize the battery I could get. On some simple maps, I was getting as low as 10W drain, but on others, it could bounce to 21W. With a 50 FPS limit, this was reduced to 18W and kept as much smoothness as possible. It also allowed me to set a 10W TDP limit without there being any issues.

Xenonauts 2 does support 16:10 resolutions and does have cloud saves, but the text can be a little on the small side and controller support doesn't exist at this stage. We can mitigate some smaller parts of it to make playing with a gamepad a bit easier.

Community Control Scheme

To make tactical combat a bit easier, I made a couple small changes to the controls to make it a bit easier for me. The first, and most important, changes I made was to make the B button end your turn and RB and LB to swap to different soldiers. Then, I made the Dpad completely control the camera, making the left and right buttons rotate the scene while up and down went up a floor and down a floor respectively. Lastly, I made the Y button open up a selected soldiers inventory. You can find this layout in the community schemes for the game and it is called "Simple Steam Deck Layout".


I decided against going into something more intricate for a couple reasons, but the main one is that I just ended up using mouse controls way more often. It is the only way to select where your soldiers will go and navigate the map and aerial combat easily, so I ended up just using the trackpads and left and right triggers for mouse clicks. I might do a more intricate control scheme once the game has a couple early access updates, but this worked well for me for now!

As I did just play Jagged Alliance 3, which is a similar turn-based strategic game, I would love to see full controller support be implemented in a similar fashion. There is no confirmation of this, just something I would like to see.


Xenonauts 2 is a fantastic start to a game that could easily take up hours of my time. Being able to configure so many aspects of my station, all of which feel meaningful and can help to some degree, is such a wonderful feeling and holds my attention more than I expected. I feel like there are many ways to head into each battle and campaign, but if you take your time and think about your strategy, you can be victorious. It works well on the Steam Deck with some controller compromises and minor stutters here and there, but these can be ironed out through early access. Personally, I am willing to stick on the optimistic side as this is a game I would love to have more support on handheld devices!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back.

Jagged Alliance 3 was provided by THQ Nordic for review. Thank you!

Grand Chien is on the brink of despair after the country's elected president goes missing and a force known as "The Legion" is taking over. Now, the president's family has hired you to bring together a group of skilled mercenaries and bring order back to the nation. Jagged Alliance 3 is a turn-based tactic RPG where you will put together a team, outfit them, and send them along to liberate the land. Choose the path you go on and loot, salvage, and customize your weaponry, perks, and more as you move along the map, taking over territory back from The Legion. The choices you make will determine the fate of this land and the people in it.

I am extremely excited to say this is finally a worthy successor to this awesome franchise. The combat is deep and exciting, the variety of weapons, loot, and armor you can find and use is great, and it is challenging. Each battle feels heavy, making sure every decision made is a smart one to keep your mercs alive. I went guns-blazing into one mission, which worked for 2 others, and was completely demolished thanks to how unprepared I was. Taking your time and careful planning are rewarded here and really makes each victory feel so sweet.

The sat map is how you will move around the large islands and utilize operations, which can repair your weapons, allow your mercs to rest, scout areas ahead, or even train militia to defend liberated villages and outposts. Scouting, especially when coming up on big fights, will be essential in planning out your strategy, showing approximate info where enemies are and other tactical viewpoints. From here you can also access the Browser, where you will hire mercs, email, notes (missions), and check out your team's info and inventories. All of which are extremely important and provide necessary care and information for your team.

There are some nice little features that would have been nice to have like better descriptions/tutorials for some of the gameplay systems, but these didn't kill the enjoyment as I quickly learned exactly what to do. Jagged Alliance 3 has become one of my favorite tactical RPGs to play this year and is well-deserving of your time if you enjoy these kinds of games. The challenge is real, which I love, but the amount of flexibility and content to configure your team the way you want and approach each battle differently is fantastic. Although, to play this on the Steam Deck, there will be a couple concessions to make.

Jagged Alliance 3 - Steam Deck Performance

So when the game was released, a Steam Deck graphical preset was added in with the devs announcing the game is Steam Deck playable. Honestly, the settings are actually quite good when it comes to providing a base to play for the device. The quality settings are mostly on high, except shadows, while it utilizes FSR 2.0 quality mode. With a TDP limit of 9, I was quite excited by how well it worked, but I started to see a couple cracks as I got to more complex maps.

If you are playing without a limit, you will be fine, but if you change Object Detail to "Low" and View Distance to "Medium", you will be able to keep the TDP limit at 9 and get around 3 hours of battery. This became my favorite way to play personally as it kept the game looking gorgeous while balancing battery life and stability.

Next we have the framerate build and this one was a bit harder to nail down. Some maps and areas can easily hit the 50 FPS mark, but there are the few that are extremely challenging. 60 FPS isn't possible though, even when the maps are simple. Luckily, there is one setting that you can turn off to make this not only possible, but also save on battery life a solid amount: Shadows. By turning shadows off, hitting a solid 40 FPS on the complex maps is achievable, though it does heavily change how the game looks.

Shadows On
Shadows Off
Shadows Off
Shadows On

Otherwise, I am able to use almost same exact settings as the modified Steam Deck preset to make it work well. I found putting FSR 2 to Ultra Quality was within the possibility as well. This means you will still have a beautiful image, it will just be shadow-less. It also allowed a TDP limit of 11 to make sure things stuck to the stable side.

Finally, we have the quality build. My main goal here was a native resolution with shadows on and this is achievable on medium settings with a TDP limit of 11! I kept antialiasing on FXAA, but the resolution scale was native. This means we have a crisp image that looks fantastic, but ends up draining a lot on more complicated maps. I didn't find the game could handle anything above 30 FPS like this, so we had to use a cap.

Jagged Alliance 3 does have 16:10 resolution support, which is fantastic, and it sports full controller support and cloud saves. The controller took a little to get used to, but overall, it worked well. I have to commend developer Haemont Games on this as making a game like this work on a controller.

Small Text and Icons

Unfortunately, one aspect of the game that can't be changed is the text and icon size. There is a lot of text and icons that show you how to take certain actions, like ending your turn, and they are extremely small on the Steam Deck's screen. This can be quite jarring in a game with so many different ways to control different actions.

The biggest thing to remember is that in battles, holding down the left trigger and pressing a button will have a different action. For example, using the left trigger and left D-pad will tell the selected character to reload and the trigger with B will end your turn. Both of these are the more important commands I used, but there are others to give easy access to different actions your mercs can take.


Jagged Alliance 3 is the series return to form and I couldn't be happier to see it. The turn-based strategy gameplay is deep and challenging with a chunk of customizability to make each of your mercs, battles, and choices feel much more impactful. If you were waiting for a true successor in the Jagged Alliance series, the wait is now over! Even with some of the compromises on the Steam Deck, this is still a fantastic game and one definitely worth your invested time.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back.

Company of Heroes is back and bigger than ever before! Company of Heroes 3 (CoH3) will see you immersing yourself in epic RTS combat spanning across Italy and North Africa. Utilize different factions and units in the biggest campaign in this franchises history, filled with "sandbox-style" gameplay to win the war. CoH3 includes army customization as well to bring in new levels of strategy into the mix. Along with gorgeous cinematic action and a new state-of-the-art engine to render special effects and physics, this is the definitive WW2 RTS experience.

Before I go into settings, yes this is a real-time strategy game. This game is best played with a Keyboard and Mouse, but it is able to be played with a gamepad. There are custom configurations, but none of them worked out enough to justify using it over the base version. I did try making my own, but I had the same issue where nothing I could do really enhanced the experience enough to justify. The game is coming out for consoles as well, so controller support may come to PC as well, but we won't know for sure until it releases.

Company of Heroes 3 started off running significantly better than I expected. The game defaults to the lowest setting and a 30 FPS lock. I was hitting 10W drain at this and immediately felt this could be better. This is where I came across my first hurdle...the in-game framerate cap. The game caps itself at 30 and actually locks the option due to the APU of the Deck having a quad-core CPU, meaning you can't make the framerate higher than 30. But, as I was rebooting the Deck to change graphics settings, the option to change the in-game cap unlocked and I was able to start running CoH3 at higher framerates. I couldn't replicate this on purpose, so I made a 30 and 40 FPS build incase you are able to push it higher.


The 30 FPS build is the recommended since I know everyone will be able to utilize it. It combines Medium, High, and Low settings with 100% render scale for a crisp and stable experience. You could push it higher, but the drain creeps up and drops are more noticeable. The 40 FPS build is mostly Medium and Low settings along with an 85% render scale. The drain is higher here than the 30 FPS, but the smoothness is fantastic.

I also noticed that no matter what, there were always some small stutters/drops in framerate at some parts in the game. This happened mostly during real-time cutscenes, which slowed the game's framerate down a bit, zooming out to the big map, or when a lot happened on screen at once. Though once the cutscene was done and the action passed, this quickly went back down. Through my playing, this didn't happen nearly as much and when it did, I didn't really notice.

Overall, I am happy with the performance and how the game plays on the Deck. Playing with a Keyboard and Mouse while docked would feel better, and full controller support would be EVEN better, but it is playable. With the console edition coming out later, it is possible this issue will be remedied in the future. If you like these kinds of games and don't mind using a gamepad to emulate the keyboard and mouse, or docking it and using an actual KB+M, get this game!

Company of Heroes 3: Screenshots


100% Render Scale
85% Render Scale
85% Render Scale
100% Render Scale

30 FPS Build:

40 FPS Build:

If you enjoyed this first look, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back

Stellaris is a slow paced grand strategy game in space where you start with your own empire against various factions with many different ways to win. You mostly see space combat, while unit ground movement is just told to you through text if you click on the unit. Similar to Elder Scrolls or some other 4X grand strategy games, it requires mods to hit its true potential. But when all the stars align, this game is out of this world.

Stellaris Steam Deck Graphics

When it comes to graphics presets they all run around the same, but I found that medium works the best out of them all. For some reason, low settings had more issues late game though. The average temps throughout the game were in the mid 70s for both CPU and GPU, while slowly increasing as more factions were found.

Luckily, even all the way to the end of the game, the highest temps I was able to reach were 82C for CPU and 80C for GPU, but this would usually only be for 1-3 minutes thanks to multiple battles happening at the same time. The battery would last around 5 hours initially but depending on how many factions you have it can go down to 3.5 hours.

Stellaris Steam Deck Settings

Capping wattage is pointless thanks to the late-game stutters so I would keep it on a TDP limit of 15W to prevent any battery spikes. Unfortunately, the game will stutter down to as low as 45 FPS. This happens even on desktop, so I wouldn’t limit the framerate to less than 60 because either way, the FPS drops/stuttering will happen. For example, if you are on a 30 FPS cap, it will drop to 14 FPS, but with a 60 FPS cap, it will drop to around 45 FPS.

I was also playing the game with 3 workshop mods, which actually helped the game run better with lower temps. This is quite unique since I tested without any mods and with specific performance enhancement mods, but these ones helped more than either of those tests. The link to all 3 of these mods will be below the review.

The Steam Deck itself handles this game perfectly since CPU and GPU don’t go over 40% usage, but the problem is the optimization of the original game itself. It bottlenecks late game, forcing stuttering. This is due to processing too many decisions being made in-game by other AI, which could be from too many enemies on the field or some that grew way too large on a huge map.

I was able to confirm this by doing a comparison on the AMD 5700u Onexplayer, and Windows 10 desktop, and came across the exact same stutters even though it is on Windows 10 & 11. If stuttering bothers you, then you should use small galaxies with no more than 5 factions in all. 


Stellaris runs fine most of the time thankfully, though I once had the game crash on launch. I recommend lowering the UI scaling to either 90% or 80%. At 80%, you will not have to move anything and be able to click and close everything easily, while at 90%, there may be a few windows to move around, but everything will be easily clickable.

The only glitches I came across were some graphical issues that arose on locations the game calls “Suns” or in combat, but if I hadn’t tested it on a Onexplayer for comparisons, I’d have had no idea that wasn’t unoptimization due to the game itself.

In the end I was saddened that the stutters were a regular occurrence late-game, but I’m glad that the issue isn’t with the steam deck but instead the game itself. Personally, it ran well enough to play and satisfy my cravings for a grand strategy space game. I would recommend playing with a smaller amount of factions or a smaller map, especially if you are a more peaceful player, but be prepared for the late-game stuttering.

Need some help understanding how we got to our score? Check out our Guide to Steam Deck HQ.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back!