Gloriously Difficult – They Are Billions Review

Every so often a game comes along that is so fiendishly difficult, it consistently reduces you to the very ends of frustration. They Are Billions is such a game; so ruthlessly, gloriously hard, it never fails to keep you hooked.

They Are Billions places you in charge of a fledgeling colony in a future steampunk era where humanity has largely been wiped out by a zombie plague, with the roving undead being the titular “billions”.

It plays remarkably like a classic RTS game like Age of Empires II, Command & Conquer or Empire Earth; off-scale buildings sit on the main map alongside your own units, where battle is waged with the roving undead.

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As the leader of the colony, it is your responsibility to find more resources to harvest, fuel the growth of industry, and of course, prevent the zeds from infecting every last one of your citizens.

That last one is much, much easier said than done.

The zeds already on the map are usually manageable – the real trouble starts when one of the periodic stampedes pours in from a random direction in a relentless assault on your defences.

I’d like to think that I’m no strategy game novice, but They Are Billions is on another level. I have yet to beat even one game on the difficulty rating encouragingly, but perhaps inaccurately, described as “accessible”. Time after time, I watch, with my head in my hands, as zombies overrun my base, wiping out my command centre, and losing yet again.

All of this might seem as though I’m leading to a negative place, but quite the contrary. I can’t quite recall playing a game that provides such a tactical challenge as They Are Billions, to the extent that I just can’t tear myself away from it. And from an Early Access game, that’s quite an achievement.

The great thing about They Are Billions is that it is possible to tweak the difficulty, and much more than on a simple “easy/medium/hard” scale.

Each survival game lets you tweak the difficulty settings before you start, defining both the game duration and zombie population. A shorter game might seem like the more attractive option, but a higher number of zombies in a smaller timeframe means more frequent raids.

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Each combination yields a percentage score modifier, and beating each map over and above a certain amount unlocks the next one – for example, the first map needs over 20%, and the second over 60%.

Despite the scalable difficulty, even on the easiest settings, the looming threat of defeat lies in the grasping hands of just one zombie. This is truly the unique selling point of They Are Billions and the root of its insane challenge. Yes, there are billions, and if you let even one in, your colony is probably undead toast.

This is because once each building is infected, each human working or living in it becomes a hungry corpse. Before you know it, there’s a cascade effect where half your colony is now an infected husk, and it’s far too late to do anything about it.

And to make things even more difficult, buildings often only have to take two or three hits to become infected. It’s not like the good old days of C&C, riding the cavalry in to rescue a flaming building with 10hp left – by the time you’ve been notified your base is under attack in They Are Billions, it’s usually too late.

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This potentially crushing pressure is offset by the fact that the game strongly encourages you to make liberal use of the pause function, which you can do at any time. They Are Billions is in no rush; it’s not about memorising keyboard shortcuts to act in as few seconds as possible, it’s about thinking through a strategy and employing it in as much time as you need.

Just by looking at the global achievement stats on Steam, it’s clear to see that I’m not the only one being challenged by They Are Billions. And look at the graphics, with such a gorgeous colour palette

The game was a viral hit over the festive period, infecting thousands of Steam accounts faster than the in-game zombies. At this early stage of production, it’s exciting to consider that They Are Billions could mature into an even more impressive title. If you’re not a fan of difficult strategy games, you’ll hate it – but RTS buffs do yourself a favour and pick it up.

Check out the Game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/644930/They_Are_Billions/

One Strike Review – The Quick and Easy Fighter

Have you ever been playing a fighting game and thought to yourself, “this is way too hard?” Well, One Strike is the solution to that exact problem. The game is so simple that it only takes about two-three minutes to be a master at it. The game revolves around six characters who you have the option of playing as. With the character you pick, you will then face off against said six characters back to back. The main catch of the game is that if either player is hit once, they lose. So in the story mode, if you get hit you will restart back to your first fight.

There isn’t much story to the game, it is basically just a 2D, pixelated fighter where you go from fight to fight. The other game modes are a versus mode, which I personally believe would be more fun than the game itself, a tag team mode where you play with an AI against two other AI, a Tournament mode, which puts you into a bracket tournament with up to seven other players, and a “practice” like mode where you face off against the enemies from the story with five lives instead of one. The problem I see with the Tournament mode is the ability to have seven players playing at once. There is no online interaction with the game so it would have to be eight people clustered around a computer with only two playing at a time. And if you do not have eight people for the mode, it replaces them with bots.

The story mode has three difficulties, which are easy, medium, and hard. Easy is in my own opinion far too easy, so once beaten I moved on to medium difficulty, which ramped up the difficulty a little bit, but not enough for it to be a challenge. Finally, when I reached hard mode I was expecting a huge jump in the difficulty of the AI, but alas, I was wrong. All in all, it took me about an hour and a half to beat every difficulty on the main story.

In my personal opinion, the game is not that great, it’s not even that good, but I still gave it a shot and it kept me busy for a while. A few things that could help it out would be to increase the number of characters, thus making the story longer, and have a custom control setup. The controls were kind of tight on the keyboard. The game isn’t inherently bad, it just lacks a story and seemed too easy to master, which is why I did not enjoy it.

With some changes made, I’d love to revisit this article and give it another shot!

EnomView Score 4/10

Liked this review and looking for more cool games? Check out our Steam games section, here!

Inner Space Releases this Tuesday – Trailer

A space flight adventure game developed by Polyknights called Inner Space is being released on Tuesday, tomorrow. Inner Space is an exploration flying game set in a world where physics are inverted. Take command of an unnamed cartographer as you adventure the bubble worlds, collect relics, and encounter each bubbles deity to discover more about its history. You can pick up this game on Linux, Mac OSX, PS4, Switch, Windows, and Xbox One on January 18, 2018!

Note from the creators:

We started PolyKnight Games back in college, when we would meet after class to talk about new challenges in game design. We became fixated on one question in particular: “What would a flying game be like in a universe of inside-out planets?” To answer that question, we decided to put aside our career plans and form our own indie studio.

If you like the idea of a plane that transforms into a submarine, then dives inside the belly of an ancient demigod, you’re in the right place.

 

 

Inner Space Trailer:

You can check out the game’s Steam page here or their website, here.

Robotic Controls – Fragmental Review

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Alright, let’s get this started. Got my robot guy ready, got my name entered, pick some bots, ready to go! Let’s f– Oh, I just fell out of the arena. Okay now I’m ready to– oh something just shot me outside of the arena and blew up my robot guy. Okay now– Oh I got pushed off of the arena. What am I even doing?

Yes, as you begin this game, you’ll be scratching your head pretty hard. First of all, there are no control options. The first few rounds of the game will most likely be spent figuring them out. I couldn’t pick up a weapon for a while until I discovered that you have to push space. Then comes the combat, which is not at all intuitive. Once you face your opponent, you may or may not be aiming at them with your gun. There is no indication that you are firing at them near the wall, or firing directly at the wall. Then there are things that look like walls but are actually chest-high partitions that you can fire over, but you won’t know this until you’ve been shot over it and killed.

The real problem with this game is the control. They are floaty and overly sensitive, so aiming in any conventional sense is an impossibility. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing on a keyboard or a controller, they just don’t work. Within the first two seconds of a match, you could be dead. If an arena match goes on for too long, they will have a wall of death come from the edge of the arena and shrink in order to destroy the players.

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Fragmental is not based off a player’s skill, it is based on pure dumb luck. With the graphics the way they are, you can barely see your player avatar to know where they are facing. I hope you brought your eye drops because everything is so bright, pink, and shiny that you will be squinting through the entire game. This is not just the background, each robot, which is pretty much the same, has a neon color tinge to them so you can’t tell them apart, as they appear as a tiny spot on the arena.

One good thing that could be said about this game was that there is a decent selection of guns. The icons on the screen indicate what kind of guns are available to you. However, if you try to grab one from across the arena, you will more than likely get shot down by your opponents on your way to get it.

It doesn’t even have to be your opponent that kills you. Literally, anything can kill you in these arenas. Knobs can come from the edge and push you out of bounds, turrets can shoot you from outside of the arena and kill you as soon as it starts and let’s not forget those wonderfully constricting walls of destruction that will kill you in an instant if you touch them.

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So, let’s review. You try to take your time and approach your opponents with some sort of careful calculation, but you will be killed by something beyond your control instead. One minute is entirely too long for this game, you are not on your own schedule, you’re on Fragmental’s time at this point! Taking your time to aim and get use to the controls? Nope! Time to get shot by identical character models to your own! Slide across the arena like the roadrunner, only this time, Wile E. Coyote’s Acme Gun will kill you, no questions asked.

Calling this a game is being very generous. A game is something you can actually win with your own skill and progression through the levels. The control of this game is so awful and fast-paced to the point where you will lose several times before you even gather an inkling of how to play the mechanics that are set up. If you were looking for a challenge such as that, by all means, click the link below.

Enomview rating: 3/10

Check out Fragmental on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/424040/Fragmental/

Rise of Insanity leaves Early Access in March

Starting Thursday, March 1st, enter the dark world within Rise of Insanity

In Rise of Insanity, as a doctor of psychology, you will explore the darkest recesses of the human mind. Overcome your fear to find the truth behind the tragedy that has befallen your family in this disturbing game experience inspired by the greatest psychological horror movies.

 

Set in America in the 1970’s, the story centers around Dr. Stephen Dowell, a renowned phycologist faced with a difficult patient who shows distinct yet contradictory symptoms of different mental disorders. The life of the doctor himself is also shrouded in mystery – you must step into his shoes to find out the truth.

 

What terrible fate has befallen your wife and child? Is your new patient, on whom you are testing your experimental treatment methods, somewhat responsible for what happened? Who is to blame? Don’t lose your nerve and overcome your fear.

Rise of Insanity Trailer:

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always preferred a depth to my horror games. It’s not enough to throw up a demonic crown with an iconic jumpscare sound effect. I want true horror. Horror that hits past your eyes, sending signals of fear right to your brain. From all that we can see so far of Rise of Insanity, it looks like the title is promising just that.

Enjoy the game on your computer or through virtual reality soon. Check out the game on Steam, here: Rise of Insanity on Steam.

The Tear-Jerking Story that Helped a Man Understand Death – The First Tree Review

We’ve all been through the rebellious teenage years of our lives. The times where you would much rather be out with friends. The times where your home life matters little to you. The times where you refuse to notice the sacrifices made by mom and dad. Your thoughts… your actions… all things you regret and wish you could take back in your adolescent years. If this has any meaning to you, then you are not alone. Follow both a fox determined to save her young from a hungry wolf and the touching story about a son’s attempt to cope with the loss of his father in the relaxing adventure, The First Tree.

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You begin your journey in the eyes of a fox. Your children have gone missing and it is your job to find and save the poor innocent creatures from the threats that lie in the wilderness. Within the first few minutes of this visually astonishing story, you see a flock of birds fly off from a corpse on the ground. That ate-out rotted body is sadly one of your young. You sit in sorrow but have no time to grieve since your mission still stands. One more child is in jeopardy, and he will not suffer the same fate as the last. Without haste, you begin your journey in locating and saving your only other beloved child.

As you wander the beautiful verdant forest and pass the scurrying bunnies and birds, you will find beacons of light in the distant. Make your way to those and you will find the true story behind The First Tree. You can interact with the foot of these beacons to dig up an artifact that has a specific meaning to a certain someone named Joseph. Joseph is the unfortunate individual who has recently lost his father. Whether this fox digs up a wooden train or a toy car, each item has a meaning and a story. Joseph is narrating these experiences to his wife, Racheal. At the start, the stories seem mundane. Ones about a show and tell, and gifts from dad. I found The First Tree tiring, spending three minutes running from one beacon to the next, just to hear a common school tale. I simply found the game… boring for the first ten minutes, but then the story starts to get interesting. Each story begins to tie with the next and leaves you in suspense until you find your path to the next beacon. I soon found myself hooked and engaged with Josephs sorrow.

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There are no complex controls in The First Tree, but with the few the game offers, I found the movement buggy and some obstacles that should be resized. You can only run and jump, but if needed, an extra jump is granted while airborne to carry you further. If you use your second jump late, then you will travel a great distance, but a low height. If you rapidly use both jumps, then you can achieve a great height, but risk losing the distance. The choice is yours depending on the obstacles present. The only problem is that I found a couple vertical walls difficult to scale normally. I had to find unconventional paths or angles to achieve the height needed. While it may have been an issue on my understanding of the controls, I found myself in unnatural places attempting to hop a wall.

While some walls may have stood out of reach, most of the others where scalable through power-ups. Actually, I should rephrase. The one and only power-up in the game… butterflies! Yep, you heard me, colorful butterflies. Along the course of your journey, you are bound to cross paths with a circle of purple butterflies. Walk through this circle and the butterflies will follow you as you walk. Once you take that leap of faith, you will rise in the air higher than you ever could with the standard double jump. Using these butterflies will be essential at some points to progress further in the story

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During your adventure in The First Tree, you will encounter light enhanced orbs. These can be collected and presented in a counter displayed on your screen. While me revealing the use of these orbs will spoil a piece of the ending, I will say to collect as much as you can find. What you do with these orbs makes the game so much more special and unique to not only you but other players that choose to tackle the game.

While the controls felt unnatural and buggy at times, it should not undermine the heartfelt story and beautiful graphics of The First Tree. The land is vast, and the mountains are wide. The world is yours to travel and uncover the meaning of understanding death. You may come to find that Joseph and the fox are not so different after all, and the more you play, the more you will understand the true purpose of The First Tree.

EnomView Score: 8.5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/555150/The_First_Tree/