Act Now and Save Humankind for Free in Star Billions

By Tof Eklund 08 Apr 2016 3

Star Billions is a cute, funny, well-written game about four AIs who are out to destroy save the last remnant of humankind. They just need a little help from you to do it. It's a small gem that plays a lot like Lifeline, and it hasn't gotten as much attention as it deserves. Star Billions Season Two just debuted, and Catch and Release has made  the app (inclduing Season One) free for a few days to promote it.

Like Lifeline, Star Billions puts you in the role of remote adviser, periodically responding to requests for advice. Two crucial differences immediately appear: the first is that Star Billions asks you to mediate between the four AIs that control the Little Brother on it's mission to find a new home for humanity, each one with their own personality and predilections, deciding which one has the best strategy for the immediate crisis. The second is that Star Billions is an all-ages game: each AI is represented by a cute cartoon animal, the jokes are clean, and the tone remains light even when decisions get weighty.

Star Billions isn't a children's game: the dilemmas posed are as much philosophical as strategic, and a lot of the writing is silly on it's surface, but also works at a subtler, more mature level. That said, if you can't enjoy seeing an AI dog and an AI cat debate what "egg salad" might be, and whether or not it is possible, this game is not for you.

In keeping with it's ligher tone, there are simple minigames included in Star Billions,to help you pass the time, literally. You don't score points in these games, you take minutes and seconds off of the clock before the next message from the Little Brother arrives. Telling the player how long it will be until the AIs need theit help and letting them work off the time does break the illusion of "really" being in communication with a distant starship, but realism is hardly the goal of this game about greedy space-rabbits and lonely rock people.

My 5 year-old loves Star Billions. He giggled through all of the "Muppet" humor and really got into the minigames. Letting him play and then doing voices for the AIs was pure family-gaming zen for me. Star Billions Season 2 is not included in promotion. Game-enhancing preschooler not included. If laughter persists until your sides hurt, that's good. Now available on Android and iOS.

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