Rebuild 3 is the great sequel to the original Rebuild on IOS by Sarah Northway & Friends. If you’ve never played Rebuild, it’s basically a deep sim/building management game where you’re thrown into the middle of a zombie apocalypse, scraping to survive and while leading and keeping your band of survivors safe.
You start the game by running through customization options for your main character. Sex, body build, hair, the usual rigmarole. It then plunges you into the story through clunky and invariably skippable text walls, explaining how your custom character moves from city to city, surviving the zombie apocalypse. The story is weak, though you do get some interesting twists and turns with the sentient zombie factions and finding the cure. The narration is not the point of Rebuild 3, and you can find graphic novels and TV shows elsewhere if you’re more interested in a story line with zombies.
The heart of Rebuild 3, and really what will ultimately suck you into for hours on end, is this: The map. You have your main character and the other survivors on the screen, and you send them around the map to do tasks for you. These can range from scouting undiscovered locations, scavenging for food and supplies to clearing out hordes of zombies, reclaiming empty buildings to expand your safe haven to trading with merchants and friendly factions.
Each mission comes with a danger rating, and that determines if your survivors get into trouble if they take on the mission. Sending survivors in groups, or specialized survivors, will increase the safety of the mission. There is no rush to play this game like an RTS because it’s pause-able, allowing you to catch your breath and think before your next step.
Once lands are reclaimed, you’re given the option to build a variety of buildings over that one. Laboratories that give you farming technology or l33t zombie killing skills, workshops to build explosives or convert ammo, schools to teach and reassign specialized survivors and so on. There’re quite a few things to do when you’re rebuilding civilization, and you’ll find yourself swarmed with tasks to accomplish while fending off the undead.
And that’s really it. As the days past, hordes of zombies push against your home like waves upon the shore. If you get overrun, you lose the territory and potentially any survivors that may have been protecting it at the time. This is frustrating, usually because you have to stop everything you were doing to protect yourself against the horde. Guarding the horde is safer but takes longer, and jumping in to attack the horde clears it out much faster but poses a much larger risk. The trade-off becomes a crucial decision in dire times.
Zombies are not the only things to worry about. You need to juggle food and materials as well. Food is produced from farms and take valuable land space. Materials can be harvested from trees and parks indefinitely, but it takes survivors and time to do so, and those are always lacking. Once your basic needs are secure, you’ll need to keep your survivors happy and make sure you have enough space to house them all. Building apartments solve that, but that reduces land space for something else you could’ve built.
A lot of the graphics and what you see in the game is familiar and nostalgic if you’ve played the original. New graphics were added, and it gives the game a more cartoony feel than the grimy, realistic look it tried to achieve before. The interface may be slightly cluttered, but for its depth and complexity, serves well and probably was the best the developer and the UI designers could do. The game’s also got a great track to it, dirty and post-apocalyptic like, along with the immersive ambiance that’ll pull you into its world.
All in all, Rebuild 3 is a SIMS management masterpiece that will suck you in for hours on end. The original Rebuild was a staple back in the day, and this sequel carries everything I liked from it and added on so much more. Get this game, and I promise you this: your commute will never be the same.
It’s time to rebuild.