The Most Depressing Thing About They Are Billions Isn’t The Zombies

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.

theyarebillions8

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!

2018-01-13 12_20_32-Greenshot

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.

TheyAreBillions3

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.

2018-01-12 10_18_47-Greenshot

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.

Check out EnomView’s review of the excellent, ruthlessly challenging zombie RTS They Are Billions by clicking right here, and check out the game on Steam.

5 Reasons Why They Are Billions Is So Addictive

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

TheyAreBillions1.jpg

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

TheyAreBillions3.jpg

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

TheyAreBillions4.jpg

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?

theyarebillions8.jpg

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

TheyAreBillions2.jpg

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!

Enjoyed this content and want to see even more? Check out how you can support us, here!

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.

2018-01-13 11_47_16-Greenshot.jpg

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.

2018-01-13 12_20_32-Greenshot.jpg

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.

2018-01-13 13_12_03-Greenshot

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/