The Are Billions is an RTS zombie post-apocalypse survival game. The game is currently in Early Access and recently hit Steam.
They Are Billions is not your normal RTS. You currently only have one enemy – zombies. Instead of your traditional RTS like Starcraft or Command and Conquer, your aim is to survive for a set period of time.
In Survival Mode, which is the only mode available at present, you can choose how many days you need to survive for, the number of zombies on the map etc.
You start with a command center, which you can think of as your ‘town hall’. All of your building options are displayed here. The game follows other RTS games in which there are hotkeys for everything, including the traditional CTRL+NUM to group your units.
Expanding across the map is done with Tesla Towers which supply electricity to buildings.
Resourcing is broken up into a couple of different types. Your main resources are Colonists, Workers, Food Production, Gold, and Electricity. There are other types of resources which you collect around the map as well, such as Wood, Stone, Iron, and Oil.
Colonists are produced early on by placing down tents. This will likely be the first building you place. Colonists consume food. Food is produced by Fishermans Cottage, Hunters Cottage and later on by building farms.
All buildings use electricity. Electricity is produced early on by Mills. Later in the game, you can get power plants which use resources such as Stone and Wood to produce large amounts of power.
Finally, Gold, which is a key resource, is collected by taxing your colonists. You can also find it on the map once you expand and mine it. Gold is used to build buildings, produce units and buy upgrades.
All buildings use colonists to run them. These become your workers. Once you run out of workers, you need to build more colonist housing.
Most buildings are upgradable. Farms can be upgraded to advanced farms to produce more food. The upgraded buildings will use more power and colonists.
Early on in the game, you will find yourself struggling to balance your building construction with troop production. Initially, you are provided with 5 units which consist of ranger units, which are very quick but very fragile and Solider. You will use these units to scout around your area early on in order to find choke points where zombies will rush you as well as to find resources.
But first things first, you need to get your colonists protected. Zombies will randomly walk into your town. As time goes on, this becomes more and more frequent, until eventually, you get a massive zombie swarm which gets bigger and bigger over time, with harder and harder units.
You will get towers and walls up in the nick of time, maybe produce a couple of troops, but the timing is very tight. This was one something I really liked about this game. It is hard. You have a short amount of time to get ready. You constantly get attacked from all corners of the map. But it doesn’t become a chore dealing with the zombies. It feels very challenging and rewarding when you stop a zombie swarm with only 5% of your wall left.
As well as the towers which hold a maximum of 4 units, you can build defense buildings once they are researched such as the Ballista Tower and Shocking Tower. These are range based defense towers which you can put behind walls to protect them.
Towards the end of the game, you will slowly unlock more and more buildings and units. This is one of the issues I did have with the game. You have three main buildings to build in order to unlock everything in the game. The last unlock, the Foundry is very hard to build, and the upgrades in it even harder. The last unlock, the unit Titan, requires 6,000 gold to research and 2,000 gold to build. To hold that much resource, you need two warehouses. You will very rarely ever get this tech currently.
However, some of the other units are required. The Shocking Towers, for example, is absolutely required. The swarms become so large that these buildings absolutely devastate the zombie hordes. It’s a very satisfying feeling watching a whole line of zombies melt. This is equally true with the high-end units such as the Flame Troop.
The game eventually ends when you reach the number of days required to survive.
Overall, I found this game a lot of fun and very satisfying. I lost the game a number of times and had to lower the difficulty before I was able to complete the game.
However, the game does have some issues:
Replay value is a real issue at the moment. It’s not something like Rim World where you can fire up the game every few months and get a completely different game each time. Every time you play the game will be pretty much the same. The only difference is the number of zombies you can have in the game. Hopefully, this will improve over time with new game modes in the works.
I also found the UI very unresponsive and annoying. Trying to find units that were not in groups was also a pain. There is no overview of units yet. There is also no way to kill/disband a unit to gain workers back.
Overall a very fun game, but lacks content and game modes. Multiplayer would be a very fun addition.