Surviving in a town overrun with zombies is tough. We get that. Scavenging for food, desperately hailing survivors, and attempting to expand your territory while fighting off infected hordes can tax just about anyone's resolve. And let's not even get into drafting a constitution with the undead knocking on your door! In the iOS version of Rebuild, the captivating zombie survival strategy simulation browser game from Sarah Northway, you get to do all of those things, plus repair a broken helicopter, raid a bar, and help scientists work on secret research projects!
You begin with a few people and a few plots of land, just enough to stay alive. Expanding your territory is essential to winning (and surviving), so every turn you'll probably invest a few resources into striking out into the black unknown, just to see what's there. You can scout nearby buildings to see what they offer, and if someone happens to be there, you can attempt to recruit them. Food can often be found by scavenging empty buildings, and zombies occupy a fair number of unexplored squares. Finally, once you clear everything out, you can reclaim a piece of land to annex it into your town.
Everyone needs a place to live, so you have to make sure you've got enough homesteads to house survivors. Food is also a concern, as is happiness, so expanding to include farms and churches is also important. The real fun part, though, is uncovering unique buildings and stumbling across crazy events. Do you think a helipad might be useful? How about an infested subway system? Schoolhouse? Laboratory? Convenience store loaded with booze? Rebuild throws handfuls of interesting events your way, both good and bad, and managing them is just as fun as managing the rest of your blossoming survival camp!
Analysis: Rebuild for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is essentially a reworked version of Rebuild 2, a game that stirred more than a little attention when it was released. The original Rebuild even took the top prize for Best Simulation or Strategy in our Best of 2011 feature! On the mobile devices, gameplay is largely unchanged. There are multiple ways to win, most of which are a secret until you stumble across them, and the point and click interface fits itself well into a poke and tap environment.
The brilliant part of Rebuild is how it manages to give you a complex game that can be played in a simple sort of way. Each character has a set of stats, for example, that determine how efficient they are at fighting, laboratory research, repairs, etc. When you assign someone a task, the game automatically chooses a well-suited candidate for you, but you can always change job assignments if you want to get down and dirty with managing your people. You can even find equipment caches that give stat bonuses, like the dog that adds offensive and leadership skills.
Rebuild is a scalable experience that lets you choose difficulty, city size, and a few other variables before the game even begins. If you've only got a few minutes, you can charge in and rescue a small city in half an hour. If you want the full Rebuild experience, though, you'll crank the difficulty up and work with a massive swath of land. Both work well in the mobile environment, as it's easy to stop in the middle of a game and pick up where you left off at a later time.
Rebuild is an excellent strategy game that performed well in the browser scene. Now that it's on portable devices, you can tote your city with you wherever you go. Be warned, though, that once you start, you won't be able to stop. Rebuild has that "just one more turn" hook that will keep you pushing to explore just one more square, liberate just one more building, and research just one more ability. It's a near-perfect casual strategy game, no matter what device you play it on!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.