They Are Billions – Xbox One Review
THEY’LL SOON BE BACK, AND IN GREATER NUMBERS:
The world has past the brink of apocalypse, zombies roam the Earth, feasting on the remains of humanity. You are the last paradigm for mankind, tasked with rebuilding what little there is left. In this steampunk, post-apocalyptic world, you’re going to have to be on your toes and lead your people in the march against zombism. This is the real time strategy game, They Are Billions and trust me when I say it, the title is no hyperbole…
One of the first things I noticed about They Are Billions, is the stunning art style. This neo-retro dystopian future world has a lot to offer in terms of aesthetic quality. You’re essentially playing a zombie horror survival, in the futuristic-victorian period and it’s bloody amazing.
They Are Billions looks a lot like a mobile game. The RTS aspect also feels like a Command and Conquer game, anyone who is a veteran of these types of games will feel right at home. Strategy is key and danger can come at any moment.
Gameplay wise, They Are Billions is a bit of a mixed bag. In my first playthrough, I was stumped a few times, but eventually managed to get the hang of things. There isn’t a steep learning curve, but there isn’t a tutorial, at least, not one that I could find. The game is fairly self explanatory, you need colonist and workers, which need food and provide you money, which can be used in different buildings which gather your resources. Very much like the Settlers. The one thing that did stump me was the lack of building tiles, however I soon found out that building tesla coils extended the building area.
You’ll be waiting around for buildings to be built. In my first playthrough, I didn’t take advantage of these load times and let myself open for attack. During these moments where you are waiting for certain buildings to be built, you should prepare your defensive walls as zombies can stroll into your settlement at any time. And when they arrive, you will definitely feel it.
If, or should I say when, the zombies finally attack, your defenses need to be on par. If the zombies manage to capture one of your buildings, they will infect the workers within, adding them to their army. If they attack a residential area, then expect large droves of zombies to appear within mere minutes of them attacking. This is what happened to me, a small group of zombies were able to break through my relatively small squad and in the blink of an eye, we were outnumbered by those who, only seconds ago, were working for me.
Zombie attacks can happen suddenly and without warning. Adequate defenses are required and a sizeable amount of troops will be needed to repel the undead threat.
There is a progression system, you won’t have access to all of the buildings at the start of the game, you’ll have to research them as you go. This goes for troops as well. This progression system however, starts to feel a bit grindy after a while. They Are Billions feels very much like a mobile game, or a tower defense Facebook game. When I made that comparison, it was hard not to see it in the same way. When I was waiting for buildings to be built, I was just waiting for a message to say “skip for 500 coins” or something along those lines.
Overall, I had a fairly mixed experience with They Are Billions. I liked the art style and the concept of the game. I quite enjoyed battling the zombies as a steampunk mastermind, however I disliked certain features of the game. The game feels incredibly “blocky”, and you’re limited to one perspective. You can zoom in and out, but you can’t change the angle you are set to. This is rather annoying and it’s something I’m surprised isn’t in the game. Stronghold – a game released in 2001 even had this mechanic. I’d recommend this game to new players of the RTS strategy genre of games, but to veterans, I would consider perhaps giving this one a miss.