For the advanced Floater unit, see Heavy Floater.

The Floater is an alien in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.


Floaters are monstrous cyborgs powered by pairs of twin back-mounted jets, which give them the ability to hover (gaining a height bonus). This also grants the Floaters the Launch ability, which allows them to fly into the sky and land behind your soldiers' lines.

A Floater autopsy hints that they may be the invaders' incomplete cybernetic and genetic experiments.  They have received extensive mechanical implants, including ones that replace the internal organs. Due to its modifications, there is no distinguishing line between mechanical and biological to describe the Floater. When a Muton Autopsy is complete, Dr. Vahlen noted the similarities between the genetic structure of the Muton and the Floater, lending credence of the alien's experimental speculation. According to the Uber Ethereal, the Floaters were cybernetically modified using Meld after "their organic forms failed to evolve" and the modifications reduced their intelligence, turning them into mindless killing machines.

Tactical analysis[]

  • Floaters function as an aerial cavalry. Their AI reflects this, preferring the air defensive bonus to taking cover on the ground, and viciously charging and flanking XCOM troops.
  • Floaters have excellent mobility due to their flight ability, and one should always remain vigilant against sudden flank attacks.
  • Floaters have very poor accuracy on lower difficulties. They usually counteract this by fighting at very close ranges and using their height bonus while flying.
  • Floaters tend to abuse Launch if possible. Make sure you can suddenly respond to an enemy in cover behind you.
  • Due to their relatively early introduction, the Light Plasma Rifle is deadly toward Body Armored XCOM troops. The Launch ability, if not properly counteracted, can result in several instant kills on the Floater's part.


Floaters first appear during the second month (April), regardless of the game's "Marathon" Second Wave option. Their chance of being deployed declines in June and July (Marathon: from August to October) to a late-game rate on par with Seekers and Sectoids.


Ability Description
Airborne  Airborne Flying units can bypass ground obstacles. They can remain in flight if they have sufficient fuel.
Launch  Launch Move anywhere on the battlefield in a single turn. Launch cannot be used indoors.


Ability Description
Evasion  Evasion Enemies targeting this unit when it is airborne suffer a -20 Aim penalty.




The Floater is a low cost unit at 1300 points. They are good at both scouting and chasing enemy units. They are also good against melee unit like Berserkers or Chryssalids because of their ability to fly. Floaters are weak to psionic abilities, making them virtually useless, or worse, detrimental, against psionic units due to susceptibility to mind control.

Their stats are the same as Easy difficulty. However Light Plasma Rifle adds 10 Aim and 10 Critical Chance. It is usually a good idea to have a Floater if you don't have any units to scout the area.

Good against : Berserkers, Chryssalids

Counter : Sectoid Commanders, Psionic Humans, Ethereals


  • Despite the in game emphasis on the Floater's partial mechanical makeup, the Floater is considered a biological unit.
  • Floaters rarely take cover, so they are relatively easy to kill. If one gets killed, a second nearby Floater will usually retreat. During Terror Site missions, these packs (groups of 2 or 3) are extremely dangerous to civilians.
  • Airborne Floaters are difficult to target with most thrown grenades due to them floating above the typical 2-tile blast radius. Needle Grenades in XCOM: Enemy Within feature an expanded blast radius which may be able to hit airborne Floaters. Also If playing XCOM: Enemy Within, you can avoid wasting a grenade by making sure that the Floater itself (not the circle denoting its tile position) is marked in red and thus actually inside the blast radius.


  • Floaters occasionally appear to rip at their implants, ejecting an amount of pus or possibly vital liquids without even entering combat. This implies that the Floater itself is still sentient enough to be horrified over what it has become.
  • In the Muton Autopsy project report, Floaters are implied to have once been Mutons before being "repurposed" into the aerial unit they are now.