In the bleak, far future of They Are Billions, humanity has mostly fallen to an endless wave of billions of zombies. Your plucky group of colonists has ventured to the frontier to try and carve a new settlement among the sea of hungry, animated corpses. At any moment, they could break through the perimeter and destroy everything you and your community have worked to create.
But despite the constant threat of undead destruction, the most depressing thing about They Are Billions isn’t the zombies – it’s that so far along the destruction of humanity itself, capitalism has still survived.
One of the primary (and probably the most important) resources of the game is gold – with it you pay for building maintenance, research upgrades and pay wages. More citizens in your colony means more coin you can raise by tax to pay for all of that good stuff.
How depressing is the thought that after everything else about humanity has been stripped away, all that’s left is to go to work, pay your taxes and hope you don’t get munched on by the billions of zombies on the other side of the city walls? I can do two out of three of those right now!
I mean, what could the denizens of this post-apocalyptic steampunk world possibly be doing with all of that cash? It looks like art galleries, organised sport, nail salons and cinemas all took a major hit when the zombies attacked.
Judging by the soundbites of the military units, the Soldiers spend all of their spare time in their bunk “cleaning their weapon”, while the Rangers spend every evening lost in erotic bliss, almost too tired to perform their duties the next day. I don’t even want to know what the flame-loving Lucifer does during his time off.
Thanos seems like he’d be fun on a night out, but there’s not even anywhere to go and get a drink. Unless you count the Tavern of Doom that pops up on Google Maps near your new colony. The place is under new management, and the locals seem a bit feisty, but it might be worth a look, it says that they’re offering a new menu.
Maybe you could mount a few strobe lights on the city walls, blast out some Kraftwerk and pretend you’re at a rave. All of those vacant faces waiting to get in to a venue remind me of a few nights out.
Even the scientists are at it, sitting in their workshops on the edge of extinction with the rest of humanity, holding the essential secrets of sustaining human life – but not without a paycheck first, of course. Next, the government will be increasing tuition fees to try and plug the gap budget cuts make in grant funding.
But it’s not all bad out on the ragged edge. At least there’s still a democratic process, with periodically elected mayors granting bonuses to your colony with big promises and boons granted to them by private industry, like extra buildings, free technology or bonus troops. Almost a bit like a bribe. So, actually, pretty much like it is now.
Maybe life won’t be so different once the zombie apocalypse hits after all – get a house, get a job, pay your taxes and vote for the lesser of two evils. The only real difference is you’ll literally be eaten alive at the end.