Rebuild, an exercise in zombie apocalypse survival from Sarah Northway, is now available from the app store. If you’ve often wondered how you’d fare against the undead when things really hit the fan, Rebuild will give you the answer.
- Colorful and cartoony graphics
- Tap-based menus comprise the gameplay element
- Plenty of strategic decisions to make, survivors show good variety in abilities
- Graphic style not quite appropriate for this game
- Soundtrack is appropriate, but grating and not enjoyable to listen to
- No social gaming network integration
As big fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead, we’ve been enthralled with the concept of surviving amidst the throngs of walkers bent on turning us into tasty treats. Rebuild textually tosses you into a similar situation, using text boxes within a short narrative as a clever way to customize the game to your liking. You can enter your own name, select the city name and size, choose a difficulty level, and more. The gameplay itself is similar to an MMORPG, as there is no on-screen action but plenty of decisions to make in a variety of menus. The city is presented in Farmville fashion, with square plots of land enveloped by light or darkness to indicate safe zones or zombie zones, respectively. Several of the plots contain buildings like hospitals, churches, and other edifices that allow you to scout, recruit survivors, gather supplies, or kill zombies. You have a small band of people in your group, each excelling at one aspect of surviving or another. Each can be equipped with objects found in your exploration, most notably weapons of various sizes. Occasionally, zombies will attack your compound and you may lose a friend or two. It’s important to leave a few people guarding your home while sending others out on quick missions. The end of each day brings a report of that day’s activities. There is a ton of info at your fingertips to allow you to make the critical decisions as you attempt to retake the city from the brain munchers, which is your end goal. There is a great level of strategy involved to remain in control and upwardly mobile.
Graphically, Rebuild has a bit of a cartoonish look that may appeal to some, but ultimately doesn’t feel quite appropriate for the scenario. Regardless, the imagery is crisp and the game has a polished feel. There is a soundtrack, but we had to turn it down low as it just seems to grate on our nerves after a very short time. The controls are tap-based, requiring you to make decisions and micromanage all aspects of life in the center of chaos. While they are serviceable, some of the scrolling isn’t as reliable as we’d like and it can be a bit confusing until you put in some time.
Replay value is pretty good, as the variety of city sizes, difficulty levels, and applicable strategies should keep things fresh and interesting upon repeated play. Despite receiving a score upon meeting your goal, there are no leaderboards to be found, replicating the isolated feeling you might get when everyone around you has dies and come back to life. Still, we would have liked to see some type of social gaming network integration available. An iPad-only app for $2.99, Rebuild is an interesting 3.5-Dimple experiment.