Stumbling upon a good early access game is as rare as finding a sober person in Glasgow. Most them are unfinished pieces of trash, which do not deserve your money and rarely exit their early access stage to proceed to some form of a full release. They are the gaming industries equivalent of straight to DVD movies. Still, from time to time, there comes an exception, and here is one of them.
Beating a Dead Horse
They are billions is described as a post-apocalyptic, zombie survival real time strategy. Based on that, my expectations were rather low. The zombie genre has been milked to the point where I find walking, half rotten corpses almost cute. Moreover, it comes from the realms of the dreaded early access games, which are notorious for their lack of quality, and many reviewers simply refuse to touch them. Still, I was mildly intrigued, since I do not recall a RTS take on the zombie genre, and many people seemed to be enjoying this one. So, with forced optimism I gave it a shot, hoped for the best… and boy, was it worth it.
A Smooth Start
Right of the bat I was mesmerized by the post-apocalyptic scenery, with a rather rusty, almost steam-punk stylistics and a hint of a blast from the past – retro textures. I started out my game by managing a small base, consisting predominantly of tents. The level of technology present in my camp was an equivalent to the stone ages, the number of my inhabitants small enough to barely fill a classroom and my knowledge of what the heck I was doing limited at best. The early stages of the game are quite soothing, everything is going as well as it could. As expected from an RTS game, a majority of your time is spent by gathering resources and setting up your infrastructure. There may have been a few zombies knocking on the door from time to time, but nothing too crazy. They serve only as a reminder to build up defenses. However, with additional time, things take a dramatic turn.
Are They Billions?
By the time my base grew to a rather sizable colony I had hard time keeping the suckers out of my lawn. This got only worse and worse, to the point where my screen was swarming with zombies, and on many playthroughs, I literally ended up drowning in them. The sheer number of enemies on screen at some points were honestly impressive. Paint a picture in your head of a top-down view of an army of zombies and multiply the outcome by ten. That’s how crazy it gets. There may actually be billions as the title suggests, while contrary to my presumptions, it’s not as if mauling them was a trivial task. Overall, the game has wildly exceeded my expectations in all aspects.