Zombies and strategy seem a difficult combination to square, but in Numantian Games you have taken the measure. After being a whole sensation in Kickstarter, we are going to analyze They Are Billions and we tell you if we have survived their anguished battle against the living dead.
The guys at Numantian Games have had a lot to talk about in recent times on Steam. They have done it with a video game that has not done anything especially revolutionary but has achieved a playable proposal with such good taste in the aesthetic and well balanced in the playable that has become a real phenomenon in the digital platform of Valve. The Spanish studio, which likes classic genres as evidenced by the fact that its previous game was Lords of Xulima, a turn-based role-playing title that will please the most veteran; now picks up elements of classics such as Age of Empires, mixing them with concepts such as Torres Defense and they shake it all up in a cocktail shaker to get a hellishly funny result: They Are Billions .
The game has been very attractive to most fans who have been testing for months, and now comes the test of fire with the official release of its final version just a few days ago. Since then I have spent time discovering the individual campaign of They are Billions, and also giving all the attention it deserves to the final version of its hilarious survival mode that has become the true standard of the experience. Two ways to see the same concept, fun and frenetic strategy game where you have to be fast and have absolutely the entire map controlled.
We are not going to waste time, after all, there are hundreds of zombies already crowding the other side of the wall of our city and trying to break it down. It is time to see in their analysis if They Are Billions will be able to resist the stake.
They Are Billions, holding the Onslaught
Film producer Don Simpson coined the term High Concept. With it, he tried to summarize, by means of a single phrase of two very clear concepts, the subject of the films to which he was going to give green light with the seal that he had next to Jerry Bruckheimer. For example, if we took their idea to They Are Billions we could say that it is “Age of Empires with Zombies”. Something similar, right?
On the one hand, because it has the elements of the legendary Ensemble Studios game in terms of the type of combat it proposes, the addictive and well-managed management of resources, the construction of the base and, obviously, the use of real-time for its formula strategic And, on the other, because the enemies far from being other civilizations are hordes of undead that come to our city based on waves that are like a monstrous tide of flesh, threatening arms and sharp teeth that threaten to take away all our efforts .
The result is devilishly funny.
The waves, of course, are announced in advance. There is a system of time that controls the days and the elapsed hours, and that marks us when the next wave will be that we will have to face. There is always enough time to stand up based on building defenses and a solvent army, but the deadlines are getting shorter and shorter and the intensity is maximum at all times. If we want to survive, we have to be organized and be very clear about what we should do.
Of course, between waves and waves, there are some zombies scattered around the map that should not create us any bigger problems. In fact, I already commented that if we suffer more than one Game Over with those loose enemy units or bother to continue moving forward without reviewing concepts or refresh what we should do because, definitely, something will be wrong.
A mistake, of course, anyone has it. But the game almost always gives the feeling of being fair, and that if there is a zombie pandemic in your city has been solely and exclusively your responsibility. Although it is also true that some improvement in the navigation of the units would not hurt to remove from the equation those characters who occasionally stay inexplicably hooked with something and cost us a game. To prevent such problems, of course, we must try to plan and prevent them trying to avoid as far as possible minimally narrow aisles, but at times when the game puts us under maximum stress, getting everything under control is difficult and that’s where They Are Billions is more fun.
It is great that feeling that causes in the player. An amateur who, as soon as he understands how the epidemic works and how quickly it spreads, will be fully aware that there can be no mistake. A solitary zombie in an urban environment could be meat from our cannon in fractions of a second in any other videogame; nevertheless, in They Are Billions they can cause the pandemic to spread between our walls in a matter of seconds, and that is that the great distances and the rapidity of the infection are aspects that give very little margin of reaction to correct a situation of these characteristics . In most cases, if a creature crosses our defenses and mixes with the civilian population … we are lost.
And that anguish works great. And it does so from the first minutes of departure when before having resources to be able to begin to place the Palisades, we have to cover as much as possible with our well-organized patrols. And it does also when we’ve been a long time and, with the attention to prepare for the next wave in just a few hours, neglect a flank that can end up being lethal to our existence with only a small group of undead. The tension is always there.
Ways to die
In the end, the whole video game is based on resisting those attacks as we can, and that same concept on which all modalities revolve is, precisely, one of the points that make it more difficult for Numantian Games guys to achieve a certain variety. To try they try some tricks here and there but, of course, not all work.
The story mode, for example, is a succession of missions very similar to each other but puts small decisions in our hands. For the hero of the campaign, we can choose between two characters. On the one hand Carlos, a soldier of great size and enormous strength that has a weapon of enormous power: The Destroyer, which launches explosive projectiles. Calliope, for its part, is the female side of the couple, and is much faster and lighter, with two pistols called The Sisters of the Devil that uses as an attack. What are these characters serving us for? In their absence, the types of missions slightly change the class of objectives and when they make an appearance, directly, they become something relatively similar to a MOBA and put us at the controls of the hero while we try to make our way on the maps. It is not the most inspired part of the title, of course, and except for a moment of punctual brilliance, in general, it pales before the interest of everything else.
There are countless things to release, because after all the campaign is really long. Do
not expect anything especially revolutionary in narrative terms either. There are a starting point and some more push for its development, but in general, the thing is based on enduring the onslaught of zombies in most of the objectives. Of course, again with the idea of the choices that the user has, we can choose in what order we want to fulfill the missions and also to what to allocate our improvements within a tree of skills that are unlocked little by little based on the points we go investing. There are plenty of things to release because after all the campaign is really long, so it serves as an incentive to keep moving forward, although the rate of unlocking in relation to the duration is somewhat slower than necessary so that the thing has something more dynamism.
How long is the campaign? Hard to say. It was promised that it would take us about 50 hours could be, of course. I find it difficult to calculate since the game has received some modifications on its difficulty that those responsible, possibly correctly, considered something exaggerated in the early stages of the campaign. They estimate themselves, approximately 20%. On the contrary, the challenge level of the Brutal and Nightmare difficulty levels has been extended to satisfy the most veteran ones, of course, and some things that I did not like too much have been corrected for the more tactical missions with the heroes that could speed up the course of some of them. The game, as I say, is constantly changing and it is difficult to calculate the duration of it, so I can only say that it will have us a lot, a lot of time entertained.
Where the title becomes strong is in Survival Game. In this modality, with the name of an Ice-T movie, the true experience is hidden and it is here where They Are Billions get our nerves to the surface and show their best clothes. The progression is much more successful in this mode (much freer and better raised), and everything works like a clock to entertain us, have fun and always mark good horizons before us. The objectives of resisting in each map are freeing us access to the following, and everything works to be addictive. We finish a location “with the tongue out” and having spent them traumatized, and we start in the next with the sensation of calm that is twisting and tensing.
We always compete against the chronometer and the waves of zombies that arrive on certain days, but there is also the possibility of competing against other players in the weekly challenges. Memo boards of scores that can encourage us to improve our deadlines and performance, and shoot the difficulty with the different meters that can turn the experience into pleasure or into a real hell.
They Are Billions, in addition, has a content editor. Something arider than we are accustomed to seeing fans in recent times, where this type of mechanism has been remarkably standardized to facilitate its use, but full of possibilities and with a lot of fabric to cut. There is already a zone enabled to expose them and make the community enjoy them, and we can find some sample carried out by the study to challenge us.
Aesthetically They Are Billions is a very resultón game. There are not crazy in the technological, neither the profile of game nor the genre they demand it, but artistically it is a beautiful title and with a lot of visual identities. Likewise, its performance is adequate in a wide range of equipment, and the title is accompanied by good audio effects and a great soundtrack with more than one memorable theme.
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After passing with remarkable success for the Advance Access, They Are Billions has faced its trial by fire and has passed it successfully. It is true that the campaign cannot stand the tug of lengthening a formula that is somewhat more limited than what an RTS needs to last for so many hours. However, the feelings of tension and anguish are so brutal and the game needs so much attention on our part that it is an experience that, at least, you have to try … And suffer!
- The feeling of the anguish of the waves of the swarm are unrepeatable
- The fact of knowing that each mistake can be fatal and the tension it entails.
- Take the best of the RTS and the Defense of Torres and mix it with success.
- Economic and production cycles really cared for and addictive.
- The aesthetic identity of the video game is very successful.
- The campaign lasts for dozens of hours, but with the first missions, there is not much more to discover.
- Missions with heroes are not too interesting.
- The very concept of the game, with the waves, is somewhat limited to achieve variety.