Developer: Numantian Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Numantian Games
They Are Billions is a post-apocalyptic steampunk zombie survivor RTS (That you can pause “Thank God”) with some bits of Tower Defense, a pinch of Sin City and a dash of the Total War series. Visually the game works as a World War Z that actually worked.
This game was a BIG surprise to me, I must warn that you can easily lose the track of time, in my very first time playing the match took me MORE than 6 hours! While in my head it was something like 3 hours only and keep in mind that I was playing on the SUPER EASY MODE which is pretty damn hard already, I’m being serious here… this game is HARD AS HELL so don’t feel bad if you take your time to understand how everything works (Since this Early access version doesn’t have a tutorial mode), with this review, I will also give you some tips to enjoy more your experience and avoid some mistakes that I have made, but you need to understand one thing, this game is basically learning with your mistakes and improving your strategies.
The game has (for now) only two options to play; The survival mode and the week challenge.
The Survival mode: In this mode, a random world is generated with its own events, weather, geography, and infected population. You must build a successful colony that must survive for a specific period of time against the swarms of infected. It is an ultra-addictive game mode.
You can select the map, number of zombies and how many days you have to survive. Every option you change inflicts in a “multiplication percentage”, which basically means the level difficulty.
Week Challenge: All players must play the same random map. The best scores will be published in a leaderboard
The game has such a galore of details, like when you put your soldiers on the “Defense mode” you can watch them changing the stance and getting prepared for any foe that may appear. Each building and character have their own animation. The game´s graphics are STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL! When you build “Tends, Houses or Mansions” close to each other they create streets that your population uses to walk among the constructions (I know it is silly… but it’s so carefully done and beautiful that was worth it to mention).
Well for me, it’s quite original and it goes nicely with the game´s atmosphere, it has a StarCraft vibe going on that is awesome, while talking about StarCraft, They are Billions “sounds/noises” does look like it was inspired on the SC´s sounds but fortunately whilst playing (and I can only speak for myself) I didn’t link both games at any time.
Something that deserves attention is the characters’ voices and I mean ALL OF THEM! They´re so full of personality, things like; “You don´t have other units to bother”, “Last night was amaaaaaazing” and “FOR THE HUMANS”.
You start the game with only 4 rangers and 1 soldier to protect your command centre, my advice is (Depending on the level of difficulty you may do better by keeping your defences high and building some firepower) to get those 5 units and establish a perimeter by scouting around to see where are the nearby resources deposits, after doing that you will have an idea of limits for you to start building your city. On the after game, you can build the ‘Silent Observer’ that reveals to you the entire map, with it you can put the cherry that your city needs (Like expand to an area that you couldn’t see before because of the dark mist that covers the map) to finish and wait for the final waves.
The waves work like this, every X days a Y number of zombies (depending on the difficulty you selected) will attack you from one direction (North – South – East – West), make this “gap” between attacks worth it.
Remember to keep track of your resources (Gold, Wood, Stone, Iron and Oil), always! The same thing works for you Population, workforce, food and energy… If any of those are running out you better get them going asap, time in this game is something that you DEFINITELY wouldn´t want to waste.
You can only build something if you have a Tesla tower to generate electricity in that area. So basically, you need lots of houses to generate gold and Tesla towers so you can expand your city.
Keep your eyes wide open and very sharp because if ONE zombie gets to one of your buildings… it’s a matter of seconds to contaminate it and that´s it… it’s pretty damn hard to contain the damage because that one zombie becomes 5… those 5… 15… and so on… GAME OVER.
This game was made for PC “PERIOD!” … for example, if you want to save a squad on a shortcut you have to manually select the number you want to save your platoon and press “Circle” meanwhile on PC you just have to press “Cntrl+1” or something. (If there is an easy way to do it, please leave in the comments XD). Don’t get me wrong, the game does work on the Ps4 (The “pause” option helps a lot… yes! You can pause the game anytime to think and also to do something you want) because the controller isn’t hard to master his use and for those who are having problems to get used to it, know that ‘They Are Billion’ has the option for you to use any USB keyboard or mouse (according to the game´s website) but I have to warn you that I´ve read some bad stuff about the “adaptation”, people saying that the keyboard is not fully adapt and stuff… So, you maybe do better by using the controller.
TITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! Keep this Mof… fella in mind! He is the BEST unit on the entire game and if you combine him with the Executor Tower you will have better chances of surviving! Also, give a try with the Thanatos unit, they are awesome. (Base them on your barricades/walls and you be fine…ish). Some units can be promoted (becoming a VETERAN) which gives them more armor and damage, that makes you care more about them.
The final tip is, it doesn´t matter what difficulty you selected… the final wave is going to be TERRIFYING! THOUSANDS OF ZOMBIES WILL COME FOR YOU IN ALL DIRECTIONS!
Since this is an early access version, I understand that I would face some bugs that bummed me out a little, nothing that really takes the fun out of it but it’s important to talk about them, bugs like;
– The “peasants” don’t know how to use the main gate… yes…they all get stuck walking against the door gate.
– Sometimes (at least on the Ps4) the directional doesn’t show what you’re really trying to build, it stucks in a random building option forcing you to use the analogic stick to select what you actually want.
– Lag! That´s actually something that I didn’t understand… Ok… the game is OBVIOUSLY MADE FOR PC and you liking or not is a much powerful graphic platform… I get that… but if you´re releasing the game for other platforms you´d expect that the game is adapted to it, right? WRONG! The game has some lags especially when the last waves with thousands and thousands of zombies come for you, that doesn’t do any good for the experience, I mean… the 4K graphics are AMAZING but these lags do take some of the immersion away from you.
– An easy bug to be fixed in the future is that sometimes it is just impossible to select a square to build a wall or whatever… the “mouse” simply goes 2 blocks to the direction you´re trying to move instead of only one, so if that happens to you just take a deep breath and try in different ways… it will work eventually (Or just build your wall crooked hahaha I myself did that a few times hahaha).
Reviewing this game and having the opportunity of playing it was incredible! I´ll definitely buy any expansions that may come in the future. At first, you may struggle to get how things work but once you get the idea and what every building does you will be good to go!
Every time you change to a harder level or just change a map you get the same sensation that you had the first time you played when you didn´t know exactly what you were doing, even that not being true. One of the greatest sensations I had with ‘They Are Billions’ was the need for expansion that you get while playing, when you have to go beyond your walls and seek for a resource that you are in need, and after finding you have to expand the city walls, that makes you feel like a true war strategist hahaha.
Another awesome thing about this game is how entertaining this game is… I mean… I´ve mentioned above that my first time playing took me 6 hours without even noticing… my first clue was the sun rising on my window hahaha (True Story).
Last but not least, HAVE FUN! Create your own strategies and explore all the units until you find your way to play the game, all I tried to do here was to shine a light for you guys!
Even with some bugs, this game is definitely a 10!
Overall: 10 out of 10