They Are Billions Review
Part tower defense, part city builder, They Are Billions is a real-time strategy game whose flow swings between cautious turtling as you hunker down to fend off the zombie hordes and well-considered dashes to expand your territory and exploit vital new resources. Introduced into Steam Early Access last year with a survival mode that challenged you to endure a certain number of days on a randomly-generated map, the game now features a hand-crafted campaign mode as part of its Version 1.0 release. The result is a hybrid RTS that shines when it plays to its strengths even if several of its new additions feel like unnecessary distractions.
When you first start a new map and see your isolated base surrounded by zombies, the game’s title will feel accurate, if an understandable exaggeration. Stray zombies take refuge in the fog of war, milling around in small groups until you alert them and occasionally shambling towards your settlement. There aren’t really billions, but it looks like there could be. Fifteen days later, the klaxon blares to signal the arrival of the horde and soon, as a seemingly relentless river of undead lay siege to your defenses, you start to suspect billions may well be an understatement.
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The core survival gameplay offers plenty of meaty strategic choices
It's always tense knowing that one zombie can bring everything crashing down
The campaign serves as a helpful tutorial for new players while also challenging veterans
The ebb and flow as you defend then expand neatly paces each mission
The ironman design doesn't suit the hand-crafted campaign missions
Some of the new missions styles in the campaign remove much of what's interesting about the core gameplay