If The Walking Dead franchise has taught us anything, it’s that settling down and building a town is the best way to survive a zombie-filled world.
Developer: Northway Games
Publisher: Northway Games
Release Date: May 29th, 2015
Platforms: PC (Windows and Mac OS), Android and iOS
Platform Reviewed on: PC (Windows)
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville is the third game in the Rebuild series and is the first to be released on Steam. The game follows the traditions set by the previous games in the series but unlike the others, this game is being sold on Steam. The first two games can be found as free-to-play flash games on various flash game websites.
It follows the classic gameplay style of the previous games while building nicely on those elements to create a strategy game fans and newcomers will love.
This is the first game in the series to have a full campaign which extends across over 10 different cities where the player needs to complete the objectives in order to complete the level. The plot is pretty standard for a zombie apocalypse. Survive, kill zombies, make a cure.
The plot for the game is very simplistic and it slowly builds as the player progresses through the campaign. The story is built up mostly through the diary entries which are available at the start and end of each city in the campaign. Later cities in the game feature more plot building during the gameplay which makes for a nice change of pace while the game progresses.
Players shouldn’t expect anything too amazing or unique but it’s interesting enough to keep players around till the end. The addition of a campaign is certainly very nice to see and the developers have made a good attempt at it.
Besides the campaign, there’s also an option to just jump straight into a new game without a story. Plus you can replay cities in the story to try and get a better score. So there’s lots of replay value in Rebuild 3. The only thing it’s ‘lacking’ is multiplayer but that would have probably taken too many resources away from other areas of the game. As a result, it’s probably a good thing that it’s a single player only title. Especially for the developers’ first venue into a pay-to-play game for this series.
The latest game in the Rebuild series follows the classic gameplay from the first two games. Players take control of a small settlement in the middle of a zombie-infested city. The aim of the game is simple, the grow the base and complete the objective for the town. When playing the campaign, they might be an alternate objective but when playing a random game, the player is looking to grow the base and build a City Hall so they can establish a government then leave the city. Leaving the city ultimately ends the game and rewards the player with a score screen.
Each map in the game is randomized and there are a small number of special buildings which can spawn in the maps. These buildings can provide a certain benefit such as protection from fires and large food benefits. Some of these structures also come with their own little missions for the player to try and complete before they get an active or passive benefit for their compound.
Reclaiming buildings is at the centre of the game and that can only be done when the building is freed from the zombies. Before reclaiming a building, it’s also possible to scavenge them for resources such as food, materials for construction and weapons. Some buildings will also hold a survivor which can be recruited to the new city if the player has a survivor who is proficient in leadership. Reclaiming a building with a survivor in it will make them run away and you’ll never be able to recruit them. So you can’t do a sneaky recruitment by just reclaiming the spot on the map.
Each survivor in the game is skilled in certain areas such as “attack” or “engineering” which dictates their role in the compound. These skills make survivors better at certain things so it’s better for the player to assign them to those jobs and positions. While each survivor is innately good at certain skills, they can be trained at a school.
Buildings can be used to reclaim structures for the fort and also convert structures into a different building. This is especially useful on certain maps where the player spawns in an area with few farms or housing for survivors.
Survivors in the game require food to live and must be kept happy to ensure they’re willing to continue working each day. Food is collected from farms every day and happiness can be generated from specific buildings.
All survivors in the game have their own story and relationships which develop over time. It adds a nice layer of depth to the procedurally generated characters in the game. Not something really needed but it’s very nice to see.
Outside of this, it’s also important to build a laboratory and work through the research tree. It provides the player with a variety of bonuses when fighting zombies, when farming and can provide more happiness for the overall town.
Just like with the original flash games, Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville has deep gameplay with plenty of options that can change how each map plays. As a result, every playthrough feels different but this isn’t enough to prevent the game from becoming tedious and repetitive. This is especially true for the lower difficulty levels where the game follows the patterns.
There are several other rival NPC forts which exist on the same map. Each faction has their own agenda and will be friendly or aggressive towards the player. It’s still possible to become an ally with any faction in the game of course.
Each faction has their own story and mission line which the player can complete if they wish. They are led by a unique character seems to change cities as often as the player does. While there is a sense of familiarity with each faction, the unique stories add a level of depth which is unique to the strategy genre.
The player is able to send their survivors into battle against zombies and other rival factions if they wish. Combat is played out automatically according to which side has the most attack or defense. Some combat will also have a bonus section at the end in diary form which allows the player to make a choice between several options. It’s a nice change of pace from the rest of the game and choices like this help to make the player more involved with the game.
As the game progresses, the player has to deal with more threats such as moving zombie hordes that crawl across the map towards the player’s base. When fighting another group, they may send out raiding parties which try to steal resources from their opponent. Factions will also send out teams to take zones away from the opponent and allow the zombies to reclaim it.
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville is a zombie-themed 4X strategy game which is a nice addition to the genre and is a great sequel to the original flash games. It’s a highly strategic game that has plenty of mechanics for players to learn about and utilize as they progress through the game. The difficulty levels make this game suitable for players of all skill levels while also offering experienced players a nice challenge.
The campaign in the game offers a high replay value thanks to the scoring system which is also present on random matches also. It’s a solid 4X game and while it does lack action, the gameplay is deep and the lack of a steep learning curve make this a nice choice for any casual strategy lover. Veterans of 4X strategy games may find the game to be a little bit weak compared to other games in this genre, however.
Unique factions with their own plots
Lots of nice little touches
Clever writing and great humour
High replay value
Gameplay can become a little tedious and repetitive
Factions don’t remember previous interactions
Not all game functions are explained