They Are Billions

A couple of nights ago I was on Twitch and the person I was watching ended his stream and no one else I was following was streaming. 

I thought I would have a look at the most popular streams and see if there was anything interesting being streamed.

The most popular streamer at that time had about 25k viewers which is a hell of a lot more than anyone I follow ever gets and he was streaming a game I’d never heard of called They Are Billions. 

After watching for a while I done a quick Google search and found it was on Steam and on sale at just under £18. The reviews were nearly all positive and the game looked interesting.

The only thing putting me off was that it is an early access game and I don’t always trust that early access games will deliver what they promise to.

I decided to look at some gameplay on YouTube and was impressed with what I saw and it looked like a game I would enjoy playing in it’s current state so went ahead and bought it.

I have to say I’m pleased I did, it could be one of the best games I’ve played in a while.

The game is described as a Steampunk strategy game set in a post apocalyptic world and reminds be of playing the original Warcraft and Starcraft games where you start off with a command centre and a few troops and you then need to gather resources, build your base, defend your base, build your armies and destroy your enemies.

The big difference with this game is that while usually you will have an enemy base to attack, the enemy is actually billions of zombies trying to destroy your base.

At the moment there is only one mode called Survival. You pick your difficulty level based on the number of zombies on the map and how many days you have to survive for (the more days the easier the game as you have more time to develop your base and troops).

You then start on a randomly generated map with just a command centre and 5 troops. You then just need to keep your base alive for a specific amount of days.

It might seem easy but it’s actually very difficult. 

As the map is random, every game plays differently and the map may or may not start you in a good area. Some games you might have several entry points to your base, others only 1 or 2. You might also start with very little available resources making it more difficult.

No matter what your starting area is like, your going to need to constantly expand to be able to grow your base and defences to survive the increasingly difficult waves of zombies.

One mistake could cost you the game, a poorly defended side could allow the zombies to break through your defense or if you miss a small entry point 1 zombie could sneak in and it only takes 1 zombie to destroy your base because if it destroys your colony buildings it spawns more zombies and they overrun your base.

To add to the difficulty, there is no save and reload function. The game will sometimes auto save but other than that it will only save when you exit the game and each save overwrites the previous save. Once your base is dead, it will delete your save. This means you can’t reload to fix mistakes.

The first night I played it I was so engrossed in my game I lost all sense of time and ended up playing it into the early hours of the morning. It’s the first game I’ve played in a long time where I’ve not noticed the time while playing.

I’ve played a couple of games now but not yet beat the game, I’ve came nowhere near to beating it despite playing on an easier setting to learn how to play. The best I’ve done is get to day 70 in a 120 day survival game and even though I can spend hours on one play through to see it end with a defeat in seconds I don’t mind losing as it’s fun and I think it’s going to take lots of loses to work out the best strategies to win.

One of the YouTubers I was watching said a few times that the games AI is quite sophisticated and was told by a developer that each zombie has their own AI. The zombies will probe defences and work out weak points to attack which if that’s correct it will make the game more interesting as sometimes games can have predictable AIs which once worked out can be exploited but if the AI is unpredictable it adds extra difficulties to the game.

The developers have said that there are more modes being created including a campaign and they are planning on releasing new buildings and troops which will improve upon the game. As it is, the game is well worth the money with just the survival mode so anything else coming in the future will be a bonus.

If you like RTS games and are happy to buy a game in early access, I would highly recommend buying They Are Billions, just be warned that you will lose time playing it.

– Sparko Marco

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