Featuring more empty, hungry husks of people than a city centre takeaway on a Saturday night, They Are Billions has swept across Steam like the infection afflicting its billions of in-game villains. What is it that makes the game so addictive? Let’s take a look at a few reasons below…
1. Difficulty Level: Insanity
Everyone loves a challenge, and in They Are Billions, gamers have found a doozy. Strategy gamers, in particular, seem to be gluttons for punishment, seeking more and more of a tactical trial; and keeping your colony free from infection is one of the toughest in recent memory.
Just one zombie can be the catalyst for bringing the base you’ve worked on for hours to come crashing down. And when there are billions of the blighters running around, one slip can be all it takes to see the plague infecting all of your colonists, and the dreaded game over screen.
Add to that the feeling of triumphant satisfaction when you finally win, and it’s a recipe to keep gamers trying to reach that ultimate goal. After all, the more difficult the battle, the sweeter the victory…
2. Dem Graphics
While zombies and steampunk are popular (and arguably, overused) choices for games, doing them both together is a winning combination in the case of They Are Billions.
Steampunk, when done well, is a striking and engaging graphic style that has served well titles like 80 Days, Bioshock Infinite and Dishonored, while zombies provide a universally recognised menace that almost anyone can immediately engage with.
Add to that the post-apocalyptic setting and you’re left with an absolutely gorgeous retro-style aesthetic, with vibrantly coloured human settlements holding fast against the endless waves of grey undead flesh.
3. Made Like They Don’t Make Them Anymore
As many people over a certain age might tell you, the past holds examples of superior craftsmanship and style that have faded away with the inevitable progression of time.
In this instance, I am one of those people – RTS games never seem to be as engaging as I remember, with classic genre titles like Age of Empires II or Command & Conquer holding special places in my heart from my younger days.
As such it’s easy to see how They Are Billions captures the imagination of gamers like me, with its old-school RTS play style that embodies the best of those classics and updates them into the future. Sure, there are a few niggles like the patrol pathway system, but it is still in Early Access, remember…
4. Doom is Inevitable, Why Rush?
Sometimes games fall into the “bigger and better” trap, where the solution to innovation is making things larger, faster or more complex.
In the case of They Are Billions, it’s almost as if the design process has taken a step back, and bucks the trend of trying to make games that require the reflexes of an alert cat and memorising twenty different hotkeys to play well.
With its pause system, the game encourages players to take as much time as they need to make decisions, plan a strategy, issue orders, and still end up watching your colony fall to the undead hordes. But at least you thought about it first, right?
5. Higher Stakes Than A Vegas Casino
Despite the apparent safety net that the pause system affords, it’s really easy to forget that one tiny slip up can mean endgame for your colony.
In an era where loading up from a less perilous time when the going gets tough is commonplace, the ruthlessness of They Are Billions’ save state system forces gamers to really pay attention, even being impervious to alt+F4 rage quitting.
Knowing that at any moment, one teeny tiny zombie could infect your whole colony within seconds really raises the stakes – especially when failure means having to start again from square one.
Did we forget any? Post the things you love or hate in the comments. And check out EnomView’s review of They Are Billions here!
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