How often does an online game series gain enough popularity to lead to a bigger game? This was the case with Rebuild, a post-apocalyptic city-building simulator by indie developer Sarah Northway. After two online games, she took things a step further with Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville. A far larger and a far more ambitious attempt than the previous games.
Developer(s): Northway Games, Sarah Northway
Publisher(s): Northway Games
Release date: May 29th, 2015
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Android*
Steam price: 13,70 $
* The game is available on mobile as well, but if I'm not mistaken, the mobile version lacks some of the content of the full game
It started as some kind of unknown disease in Amsterdam. A disease that turned people into walking dead, with an insatiable hunger for the flesh of the living. Despite attempts to contain the infection, it spread like a wildfire from one continent to another. You used to live in Seattle, until the outbreak reached there as well. You tried to escape, but too late – one of the zombies got the drop on you and bit you. But even though months pass, the infection somehow doesn't kick in. What is it that makes you different from the others? After spending a long time wandering from place to place, you finally encounter a small group of survivors, who have decided to stop running, settle down and build something that will last. Thus, you start your quest to reclaim as many cities as possible from the zombies, and perhaps find the cure for the disease along the way. The time has come to rebuild. But be on your guard – there are other groups of survivors, who seek to secure territory for themselves, and not all of them are friendly.
If you've played any of the earlier titles of the series, the basic gameplay should be fairly familiar. You manage survivors with different skills while attempting to defend agaist the hordes of zombies and reclaiming more buildings. Different buildings grant different bonuses: hospitals speed up recovery time from injuries and might prevent sickness, laboratories allow researching new technologies, schools make it possible to teach your survivors new skills etc. However, Gangs of Deadsville adds some new features and expands some older ones, bringing in some new elements.
The survivors are divided into five roles: soldiers, leaders, scavengers, builders and engineers. Soldiers are all about fighting zombies. They're your best pick, whether you're defending or clearing an area to be reclaimed. Leaders are useful when attempting to recruit more survivors to join you. They can also bartend or preach to increase the happiness of survivors, if you have bars or churches. Leaders can also negotiate or trade with other factions and can haggle better prices. Scavengers are used to collect food, items or resources that have been left behind. Or if you're feeling 'pragmatic', you can send them to raid the resources of other factions. In addition, the scavengers are also good at producing additional food, whether by farming, hunting or fishing. Builders are the fastest when it comes to reclaiming new areas or building new buildings. The engineers are the intellectuels, who are the best at researching new technologies. In addition, they can produce various types of items at workshops, if your fort includes any.
(Note: If you have schools, it's possible to train survivors, until all of their skills are at maximum. However, they can still be assigned to only one role at a time.)
The game features four resources, all of which can be either traded in exchange for something else, or used for various purposes. Bullets can be crafted at workshops. Make sure you don't run out of them, or guns will be useless. Medicine can be a lifesaver, if illness strikes. Fuel can be used for making explosives or to run complex machinery. Building materials are needed to build walls to reclaim new areas, for new buildings, or for crafting several items. Food is a necessity for survival.
This is the newest feature that separates this from the earlier games, other groups of survivors who likewise seek to expand their territory. You can trade and ally with them, raid them or wage war against them. Some factions have ideologies that shape their opinion of you depending on what policies your group lives with. Some factions are at odds with each other, which means being friends with one group can make you enemies with the other. Here are a couple of factions that appear in the game.
The Last Judgment Gang
This bunch of trigger-happy bikers has been around since the first game. They are the messengers of the apocalypse. The holy men doing the Lord's work. Or so they would have you believe. More likely they're just a bunch of Bible-thumping thugs, who use religion as an excuse to raid the resources of anyone who isn't with them, including you. Granted, their leader, Father O'Grady, is more reasonable than his predecessors, meaning it is possible to actually get on good terms with the gang, but it's easier said than done – they will start with a low respect for you, sending raiders and constantly giving demands. And there will be consequences if you don't meet their demands. All in all, better than they used to be, but still among the most unlikeable factions.
While zombie apocalypse isn't necessarily what you'd call a good thing, some people saw it as an opportunity. The Luddies are a group of hippies and vegan farmers, who decided to seize the opportunity and build an egalitarian farming society without all the evil technology and the troubles it brought with it. Oh, and their leader, ''King'' Owen Ludd is a firm believer of conspiracy theories, which is naturally his explanation for the zombie menace. Overall, the Luddies are nice, if a bit eccentric lot. The only downside is that they won't look kindly at you trying to bring more and more advanced technology available again.
It would seem not all infected people lose themselves completely. The Rotten were infected by the zombie virus, but they still retain their personalities. Mostly, anyway. Although with many of them, brain damage has somewhat reduced their mental capabilities, which means that some of them struggle against their instincts that tell them to devour your face. Currently, the Rotten spend most of the time hiding in the subways, avoiding contact with living people. But they're loyal companions, if you manage to get on good terms with them. Also, the Rotten are a particularly comedic faction – they're led by Jesse, a zombie who dresses like a cowboy and talks in a broken John Wayne impression, and their idea of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar includes Caesar getting back up after getting stabbed and giving Brutus a proper beating.
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville is certainly the most fulfilling of the series. Game features a ton of black comedy and pop-culture references, expanded content, multiple endings, and of course, the introduction of several other factions. If you're into zombie games or city-builders, you shouldn't miss this.
I am shark god Dakuwanga, and I thank you for reading this article!