I’m not good at RTSs and that makes me sad because I really enjoy them. I was excited when Meridian: Squad 22 was announced with the emphasis on the single player experience. I love that concept because the developer could then focus more on story and gameplay that isn’t “balanced” (read that as: could be even more fun than normal) towards making it fair when fighting another person. They are Billions takes that thought one step further. They Are Billions feels about right because the gathering of resources and building up your base to survive a zombie apocalypse fits perfectly within the concept of the RTS. Does it pan out? You bet it does! Errr… I mean, let me break it down for you.
That’s not to say it’s a walk in the park. Having watched plenty of people play They Are Billions on Twitch, I thought to myself, “Self, you can play that game!” So I picked it up with some Christmas money and tried it out. It comes off as your typical RTS where you gather resources and build your base. What I appreciate about it that the gathering is automatic. You don’t have to send units out to specific money spots. You build the buildings near the resources and the gathering commences automagically when the building is finished. You’ll need to watch what order you do it in because you’ll need building materials, but you also need workers and money and food for the workers. If you expand to quickly and forget to defend a specific spot, you can get rushed and die (or “rushed” in my experience). I’ve lost a few of my first rounds to a single zombie getting inside my base and taking over buildings which then spawns more zombies. This was also when my build order was bad and I couldn’t build offensive units yet.
Needless to say, I’m still terrible at RTSs. People on Twitch were playing with the difficulty modifier which controls the length of the game and the amount of zombies on the board. (I’ve seen people play at 500%. That’s insane! It’s important to note that it’s not a finite amount of zombies on the board. The game will spawn zombies on the edge of the map. I tried building to the edge of the map so they couldn’t do anything sneaky, but the game literally stops you from doing so. You need to be mindful of this limitation because you can build yourself in an invisible corner where a wall is impossible to put into place. It is pretty frustrating.