Deaf Game Review – They Are Billions

I am at a loss for this review, dear readers. This is the very first time I’ve ever fired up a new game and been utterly lost, so I guess it’s best if I just walk you through my initial impression.

They Are Billions game start screen

It’s more easily distinguishable in the image but when playing on my PS4 on a 40 inch TV screen, I had to lean into the screen about a foot away from it and I could still barely tell which menu option I’d selected because the highlighting/color difference is negligible. Eventually though, I worked out that I was hovering over Options, where I wanted to be.

Game options menu with one single option.

You’ve got your game options menu, which allows you to toggle on “Show Visible Alerts” which seems like it might be an accessibility option but I couldn’t actually progres far enough in the game to be able to tell you what it actually does.

Sound options menu with standard volume sliders

The sound options menu gives you a whole host of volume sliders and I’m assuming there is no dialogue since there are no subtitle options, but again, I couldn’t progress at all in the game so I can’t tell you that either.

Control options menu

Lastly, you’ve got control options. And let me tell you, the controls are maddening. It’s a PC game put on a console and you use the left and right sticks to control the mouse, basically. Precisely nothing was changed or optimized for console and my entire experience of trying to control anything at all was a disaster. To select units and such, fairly precise clicking is required and that’s not so easy to do with a Dualshock controller, it turns out.

Ok, now into the game! Don’t get excited, it doesn’t get any better.

Building shown in the middle of the screen with the UI displayed at the bottom.

Here’s where you start in the game. You’ve got a group of fighters and you’re left to your own devices to figure literally everything out. There was a very brief (and very small) tooltip box that said what controls did what but by the time I noticed it, I was able to read the very top thing before it vanished. So I clumsily clicked around, I clicked the above building a bunch of times and nothing happened, I clicked on some of my fighters and they got a circle around them, so in what felt to be the only intuitive thing to do, I tried to move him, but what seemed that it would have been natural controller movement to me ended up deselecting my guy and I had to start the whole mess over again.

Eventually we got moving, after more clicking and I’d managed to figure out how to select my group and move them all (Hold X and drag LS and then hit circle over where you’d like them to go. See? Not intuitive at all.)

Group of fighters approaching group of enemies.

I finally came upon a group of enemies but I didn’t know how to do anything but select and move my fighters, so everybody died.

Building shown in the middle of the screen with the UI displayed at the bottom.

So I went back here, after clicking on everything that seemed clickable, absolutely nothing happened, so I sat and looked at this screen for five minutes waiting to see if maybe something would happen. It didn’t and there was nothing left for me to click, so I gave up, which was honestly a relief because the controls are that awful. It would have been easier to play if I plugged my mouse into my PS4 and held my mousepad on my lap and who among us doesn’t dream of playing console games like that?

Oh, it’s worth noting that your fighters have callouts when you actually do manage to successfully command them to do something, and they’re not subtitled.

It’s also worth noting that the game has a whole bunch of difficulty options, but also that even playing on both of the easiest settings, I still couldn’t actually play the game. Oh and let’s not forget the microscopic text of the menus and UI.

Game duration options
Infected population options

Apparently the PC version has an actual campaign mode that has a tutorial but the console version apparently isn’t finished yet but it was released anyway, I guess?

I really don’t even feel like I can do an actual review of this game because it was just that big of a confusing mess and there’s not really anything for me to rate, so I’ll just leave you with my experience and the rest is up to you! Best of luck to you, should you be brave enough to attempt the console port of this! And I’ll update this with a real review should I ever manage to learn how to play it.