REVIEW – They Are Billions (Xbox One)

Zombies, being the persistent jerks that they are, have vastly outnumbered the last surviving humans. Instead of directly shooting them in the head or lighting them on fire like in first person shooters or horror games, They Are Billions takes a different approach to this exhausted video game stereotype.

A real time strategy game for Xbox One, They Are Billions has the player scavenging for the last scraps of resources to build colonies and defenses to keep the zombie horde at bay. Starting with only a few warriors, the player will need to start building housing and places to mine resources like sawmills to prepare for the inevitable onslaught. A single zombie has the power to sneakily invade the colony and cause havoc if not quickly contained.  If a building falls, those citizens will fall victim, turning against the player. This snowball effect is near impossible to stop once it gets started making this one difficult game.

There is no question that They Are Billions provides a high challenge.  However, the challenge is not solely reliant on the stiff gameplay difficulty but instead comes from the steep learning curve.  This console RTS is actually a pretty complicated game and there are zero tutorials or pop-up hints. Therefore, the player is left struggling to learn about the complex gameplay infrastructure revolving around planning defenses, how to use combat units, and just how to navigate the intimidating UI all through trial and error.  My first attempt, for example, had me with nothing to do other than wait for the zombies to fully destroy me as I unknowingly expended all my wood and didn’t know how to get more. Watching a Let’s Play or some kind of online video before starting up for the first time is encouraged.

This isn’t a typical RTS title as the focus is on stacking defenses as opposed to creating military units to Zerg rush your enemy in a symmetrical map. There are also only a few different map types and when it comes down to it, not much is available when it comes to creating your stronghold. It also seems a little short-changed that there is no campaign mode, only a survival option and a weekly challenge are available.

They Are Billions is a title that feels like it is stuck right in the middle of being something great but it isn’t all bad, it is a different take on the RTS genre but the player is left to fend for themselves, and zombies will constantly attack but there is a focus on defending as opposed to attacking. There is some heavy strategy involved, if that is your thing and don’t mind the learning curve, but non-RTS fans will probably want to stick to other, more popular ways of getting a zombie fix.

Also available on PS4 and PC.

SCORE: 6/10

Not As Good As: Halo Wars 2
Also Try: StarCraft 64
Wait For It: World War Z 2 (the movie)

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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