Name: They Are Billions
Developer: Numantian Games
Released: PC 18.06.2019, Xbox One 05.07.2019, PlayStation 4 09.07.2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
There are literally billions of zombies attacking!
The PC version got a 50+ hours campaign mode in early access as I write this review. But my review includes my experience with the console version, specific the PlayStation 4 version. And sadly, there ain’t any story mode for consoles just yet. Just to give you a little salt on the wound, here is the trailer for that campaign mode you can’t play;
Console players might get this mode in a future update, but for now, we just have to wait, and therefore, my review of They Are Billions will not include a score from this topic.
The art direction is decent enough to create a tense atmosphere, with the help of the sound design. It may not look like a standard videogame with high quality 2019 graphics, but it delivers a great indie/retro feel. Yes, there are some minor bugs and flaws in diverse aspects such as blurry textures, animations dropping out, residents getting stuck in your gates and some misplaced sound designs now and then. But these things are forgivable for now, the core essence of your experience in this title lays in the gameplay.
Besides the flaws of being a PC game ported to console (details on this under “Controls”), the gameplay mechanics are just brilliant. The in-depth mechanics on the zombies amazes me, it’s easy to say that once hundreds of zombies are attacking your base might easily destroy and kill your base. But so can a single zombie as well! If you’re not paying any attention, and a single gorgeous zombie manages to break through your defenses and destroys one of your buildings, all of your workers within that building turns into zombies.
As you might have figured out, you have to build defenses, which means some of the gameplay mechanics lays on base building. Like many other RTS games, you also have to collect resources, in this case, you have to build hunting cabins to gain food, and tents to receive gold and workers, you also have to build sawmills and quarries to receive wood and minerals. With all of these supplies, you can begin creating your defenses and military to fend off the undead, and you will need plenty of it.
Do not be disappointed if you only find a few hundred of the undead on the map, if you dare to explore. As time passes, a huge horde will pass by and if you’re not prepared, well, you die…
You can try to send out a messenger to figure out when the horde is coming so you can be prepared to that exact time. But as time passes, the horde increases.
There isn’t much variety in diverse military units, traps, and defenses. You can upgrade your wooden walls to stone walls by researching for upgrades. But I still feel like I want more variety. If you have played RTS games such as Age of Empires 2, Starcraft 2 and Command & Conquer, you will find the user interface very familiar and easy to use. This type of UI is also a great way to introduce newcomers to the genre as well.
Let’s talk about the obvious one, in my opinion, They Are Billions should have stayed exclusively on PC until the developers were satisfied with that version. Why? Well, one thing is that the developers could have figured out a better way to optimize a PC control schematic to console.
X – Left mouse click
O – Right mouse click
Triangle – Shortcut to base UI
Square – Shortcut to unit UI
R1 – unknown
L1 – Rotate Object
L2/R2 – Zoom camera
Touchpad – pause the game
You would believe that this would work just fine, but to add on that, the left joystick moves the mouse (yes the “PC mouse” is still there) and you move around the map by using the right joystick, this could have worked, but the camera and “mouse” feel heavy to move. So basically, they just added PC controls onto a controller. To give a great example on how to port a PC game to console correctly, look at Diablo 3.
It might not be easy to port a PC RTS (Real-Time-Strategy) game to consoles, now it is challenging and not newcomer friendly.
The console version only has two different modes with a total of four map themes. You can play with diverse settings and difficulties but without an online mode, co-op mode nor story mode. The replay value lays in surviving by yourself, the lack of content might be a reason you’ll put this game on your shelf after a short amount of time. But then again, if you love RTS games and survival games, They Are Billions do offer a great challenging match for you.
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Replay Value 7
They Are Billions is a great RTS game, just not for the console players just yet. The control schematic and the smoothness of the controls ruins the experience on the console. Other than that, the gameplay mechanic amazed me, Numantian Games managed to bring out something fresh in regards to zombies in video games. But sadly, the console version got even less content than the PC version for now.
User Review( votes)
- Great gameplay mechanics
- In-depth zombie mechanics
- Challenging to defend yourself against the hordes
- Controls should have stayed a PC exclusive
- Lack of content
- Needs more variation in units and defenses