Despite still being in Early Access, They Are Billions is already really good. But the version of the game I fell in love with months ago just keeps getting better thanks to a number of smart updates, including the latest, which adds a number of super-powerful new buildings that can be used to help fend off the zombie apocalypse.
For those who don’t know, They Are Billions is a real-time strategy game where you build up a steampunk settlement to withstand zombie waves of increasingly destructive power until you either survive the last one or get overrun by hordes of infected. Since the game hit Steam last December, the developers at Numantian Games have added some new maps and community challenges, as well as re-balanced different units and fixed issues with AI and various bugs. Over the weekend, the studio announced the game’s biggest update thus far, which includes a bunch of new content including buildable ”Wonders,” each of which grants important bonuses that can completely change the way players approach They Are Billions’ end game, especially on higher difficulties.
There are six total, two for each of the game’s advanced workshops:
- “The Silent Beholder” — Transforms the Command Center and reveals the entire map. Research cost: 100 Wood, 100 Stone, 150 Iron, 7000 Gold. Building cost: same.
- “The Crystal Palace” — Adds 60 colonists and 800 food per cycle with an upkeep cost of 100 gold. Research cost: 150 Wood, 200 Stone, 150 Iron, 6000 Gold. Building cost: free.
- “The Victorious” — Bonus 20% gold for all dwellings in range with an upkeep cost of 10 oil and 120 gold per cycle. Research cost: 100 Stone, 200 Iron, 100 Oil, 7000 Gold. Building cost: 50 workers in addition to the research cost.
- “The Academy of Immortals” — All combat units automatically become veterans with an upkeep cost of 120 gold per cycle. Research cost: 200 Wood, 200 Stone, 100 Iron, 7000 Gold. Building cost: 50 workers in addition to the research cost.
- “The Atlas Transmutor” — Adds 40 to the oil supply in exchange for 20 wood, 20 stone, and 10 iron with an upkeep cost of 100 gold per cycle. Research cost: 100 Stone, 200 Iron, 200 Oil, 8000 Gold. Building cost: 50 workers in addition to the research cost.
- “The Lightning Spire” Adds 800 energy and an energy transfer radius of 30 cells with an upkeep of 100 gold per cycle. Research cost: 150 Stone, 200 Iron, 100 Oil, 8000 Gold. Building cost : 60 workers in addition to the research cost.
None of these Wonders will automatically win you the game, but they all grant hefty bonuses and are an efficient use of space, which is super helpful for shoring up defenses in the late part of the game. In addition, the prohibitive costs of each one mean the chances of being able to build more than one, let alone all of them during a single playthrough, are slim to none.
Instead, each Wonder presents an interesting tradeoff depending on what kind of strategy you’re going for. Fielding a big army of expensive units? Better get that Victorious for the extra gold. Looking to get a head start on clearing out the surrounding ambient hordes? Make a Silent Beholder to clear the fog of war and scout out all of the surrounding dangers. Each structure also grants additional Victory Points, which factor into the overall score you get for completing a playthrough (scores over a certain amount are required to unlock later maps). Taken together, they each offer secondary goals that offer something new for veteran players to work toward. So far I’ve only managed to make the Silent Beholder, because, surprise, They Are Billions is still really hard. It was useful for making the entire map visible (cool!) but not for actually helping me kill anything on it (sad!).
At the same time, if you’re an exceptional They Are Billions player, the new Wonders also offer fun new opportunities to show off and get even more overpowered, as long as you can stay ahead of the resource drain. For the average player, it’ll be enough to just behold the majesty of a single Lightning Spire or Atlas Transmutor before the zombies come pounding on the gates.