(Impressions) They Are Billions

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.

Let’s just say that I can’t do this level of difficulty yet. I had to start at 3% because I couldn’t get the build orders down. I’m beginning to understand though.

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.

Transforming tents into cottages because I need more people!

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.

There is no story mode as of yet so all you’ve got is a few randomly generated map tile-sets with different difficulty sliders. It feels kind of weak since this is what I would usually play after defeating the campaign and that makes it feel like it’s lacking something even though it’s fun enough as is. (It’s Early Access though so that’s to be expected.) It is basically the same game with a different map every time and you can make it harder on yourself if you’d like. (Although one could argue that about almost any game.) The plus side here, for me, is that it’s an RTS that I can control the difficulty on and set in a zombie apocalypse survival game, all mixed together. it’s a really solid and challenging game that will have even more to offer once it’s out of Early Access! I really do love this approach; I just wish I wasn’t so bad at it…

Further Reading on They Are Billions: Facebook / Official Page / Steam / Twitter

3 thoughts on “(Impressions) They Are Billions

  • January 22, 2018 at 13:10

    I too got this with Christmas money. I made an awesome base and upgraded with all the final tech. Everything was perfect. Then the last wave completely destroyed my base because it came from all sides. That’s a huge spike in difficulty that really turned me off. Before that, things were really fun.

    • January 22, 2018 at 13:12

      I also bought Factorio with Christmas money. Now that game is a lotta fun.

    • February 2, 2018 at 23:29

      Ha! I’ve never made it that far… but Factorio always looked cool!


Love it or hate it, let me know!