I’ve known this title for quite some time now. Ever since it was in a beta stage on PC, it has sparked my interests. It was catered and tailor-made for that platform. Thus, of course, my surprise when this one dropped in our mailbox! So, what is it all about? Numantian Games went above and beyond into creating the perfect post-apocalypse survival RTS-type game that doesn’t hold your hand or pulls its punches. You are tasked into creating and maintaining a society while defending it from constantly growing mobs of the Undead that want to snack on your jiggly bits. Sure, you might think it’s not all too hard at first. But don’t let this game fool you or lull you into a false sense of security. Because trust me? This game does everything in its power to destroy any sense of confidence you’ve got in your everlasting stronghold. So, did this peak your funny bone? Are you curious as to what kind of horrors might follow if you dare to embark on the quest of being the perfect mayor in this steampunk world? Then strap yourselves in! Because this is, They Are Billions!
- They are Zerg!: The game starts you off in a fairly calm piece of the land unto which you have got to explore and expand upon. Random mobs of the undead are strewn about everywhere and a few towns are present as well. Now, of course, these towns have already been overthrown so it’s entirely in your best interest as to annihilate these as quickly as possible. But don’t go in with just a few units though! As when threatened? These towns will pump out wave after wave of the undead just to try and stop you from destroying the zombie generators. But don’t dawdle for too long outside of your walls! Because ever so often the game will launch an incoming mob of the undead to assault your base head-on. So be sure to wall yourself in and build defenses, because if not? You’ll probably turn into the next butt-snack for the ravenous undead! Waves that will get increasingly bigger until one final push will be done. But trust me, this final push? It’s a doozy!
- Map seeds: Random. Generated. Maps. My god! I love the game for this fact! Not only does this keep the game fresh and new? It will also benefit your playstyle. Each generated map has its own set of hurdles for you to overcome. And this isn’t where it stops. You can manipulate the seeds via a very detailed option selection screen right before the map gets generated. Each option has an effect on the overall difficulty of that particular map. Giving you almost full control over the generator. Tired of the surrounding? And have you beaten a few maps already on a certain difficulty %? Then you’ll be awarded a new area! Making They are Billions a game that will have millions, if not billions, kinds of different randomly generated maps for you to battle through!
- Graphics: The game looks really nice. You can zoom in on anything or any place and barely find any sharp edge or poorly done texture. They are Billions looks really fresh even though there aren’t many flashy colors being used. You might even say that the overall look of the game is kind of boring and drab. But that doesn’t hold it back from really being pleasing to the eye!
- Frame Drops: Though not graphically intense, you’ll have a smooth frame rate throughout most of the game. This quickly changes when the final wave hits. This is when things really start hitting the fan, rapidly. With thousands of units cluttering the field and explosions going off all around, the buttery smooth experience that you were previously having will vanish just like snow does before a sweltering sun. I just hope that this will be optimized with coming patches, as this really breaks the immersion and really holds back any possibility to successfully micromanaging your units.
- A few bugs: Though perfection is impossible, the game still has got some weird bugs. Like for instance, your villagers? These are random NPCs that walk around, giving your community a more lively vibe to it. But be careful where you put walls and gates. They will actually just clump up at the gate. A gate that will NOT open for them and eventually will start forming a villager ball around it. Sure, you’d think that the game might figure this out and will stop sending out random NPCs but NOPE. I eventually started walking my army through those gates so that they got through… And quickly figured out that villagers walk ONE BY FRIGGIN ONE through an opened gate. Yeah, I quickly stopped doing that… Or a bug that prevented my Thanatos unit from firing when placing it at a certain spot, but would perfectly fire if I wiggled him around a bit.
- No tutorial!: Be prepared to lose quite a bit when you go for your first playthroughs! The game supports 0 tutorial modes or missions. Well, the campaign does but since that one’s missing… So get ready for a lot of trial and error shenanigans. This is quite unforgivable, especially since there are so many intricate details and buildings for you to choose from! That knowing what does what, and what goes where isn’t all too obvious. At least give us some indications or something…
- Watered down PC version: Though we know that this is a PC port, you’ll still realize that it’s a subpar version of it. Why? Not so long ago the campaign mode was added to this one. So, of course, I was more than excited when I heard this news. I downloaded it as soon as possible, booted it up and… no campaign. Though Numantian has come out already telling us that it will be added soon. It begs to wonder, why couldn’t you just wait for it to be released WITH the campaign?
- Mouse!: I’ve already talked about the fact that this is a watered-down PC version. The reason why I didn’t include this segment into that one is that this deserves its own small section. You can control everything you need with the twin sticks, though this will need some getting used too. It’s the micromanaging of all of your units that will become annoying. As you know, RTS games revolve around keeping your units and buildings alive. While buildings are more than often static, your units are not. And an experienced RTS player will be able to keep their almost dead units alive longer by strategically moving them around. And what do you need to be able to do this? A mouse. Sure, the game supports this but feels like it was built specifically for a mouse to be used. The controller optimization is very crude, to say it gently. Navigating will be your worst nightmare for the first few games! So be prepared for this is you don’t have one!
Developer: Numantian Games Publisher: Blitworks
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PS4 and PC
Alexis spent 6 hours becoming the very best mayor of his community… After killing a dozen or so!
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: 20+ hours to get them all
Perfect for: RTS enthusiasts, Steampunking lovers.
Xbox Game Store link: Click here