Published on October 5th, 2015 | by Patrick Garde1
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville Review
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville from Sarah Northway shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a sequel of a sequel, but the unique notion of this iPhone, iPad and Android game is the fact it’s a sequel in name, mechanics, and gameplay alone. In terms of story, it’s safe to say this strategy game does not follow on from the previous two, as it has you playing a survivor whose story starts prior to the world needing to be rebuilt.
The story behind Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville is similar to any other zombie filled, apocalyptic setting, where a deadly disease has broken out, resulting in the dead being reanimated and turned into murderous brain eaters. Where your character fits into this world is subtly mentioned in the title of the game, and that is to rebuild and take back the world from the jaws of death/the dead, one building at a time.
You’ll start the iPhone game by creating a character, picking from gender, the clothes they wear, and even their body size. It’s all fairly minimalistic and is purely visual, but the one choice that actually matters is what your occupation use to be, be it a soldier, or even a homeless person. With each separate occupation comes a specific bonus for your character to keep throughout the game, whether that’s a bonus to clearing out “zeds”, or building and scavenging faster. That’s all up to you as the player!
Once you’ve finished finalizing your character, you’ll be treated to a birds-eye view of the zombie-infested city that you need to clear up. To your left will be some interesting stats that you’re really going to want to keep an eye on. These stats are: food, happiness, building materials, ammo, medicine, and fuel. All of these have their own different uses, but can be summarized with a simple, “the higher it is, the better it is for you” type of formula.
Food and happiness however, are particularly important. If you haven’t got food, then the survivors under your care are going to start to become more and more unhappy due to the fact they are starving, and will either eventually leave, or worse. Happiness is also very important, for the reason being that if your survivors are not happy individuals, they are eventually going to start doing things that you do not want. Sometimes, they’ll steal from the food supply due to low happiness, other times they’ll act stupid and get themselves killed or even worse for the whole group, and that’s riot. Riot is where the survivors stop listening to whatever you have to say for a while and they will gladly do as they please, until the problem is settled. What this effectively means is that they stop doing tasks, and put your whole town at risk, since a rioting guard refuses to do their job of keeping everyone safe from zombies.
Gameplay wise, Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville is pretty simple to get the hang of. Each survivor who has agreed to stay with you, you can drag onto a building, where you will see a number of options for them to go and do for their task. They can focus on killing zombies, scavenge for some new items, or you can reclaim the building after some time and add it to your ever-growing city. Once you’ve taken over a building, you can either do guard-duty, which will keep watch of any incoming zombies around the border and will increase your overall defense for that part of your city. The higher the defense stat; the less likely those zeds are going to do anything even remotely harmful to you when a horde comes knocking at your gates.
Along with simply taking over buildings, you can also demolish and build new ones. For instance, you might want to build a hospital so it’s easier to deal with any medical problems that may crop up, as the game will throw events at you like a disease they may end up killing one too many of your survivors.
If you’re not looking for a building to keep people healthy, you can instead look into one that will keep them happy. You can build a bar to give people time off to relax, chill, and raise their happiness back up. Every individual has their own happiness meter, so keep an eye on it providing you want them to be the best at what they do.
Individual character happiness is one gripe I do actually have with the iPad game. The problem with it is that if you would like to check to make sure one of your survivors are all happy and whatnot, you have to go and look on their profile for each individual just to check. There’s no instant way to see if they need a break or some time off to relax, unless you go through and check, and that can get a little arbitrary and annoying if you’ve amassed plenty of survivors by this point.
There are 5 different skills in this Android game, and each survivor is assigned one of them, except for the player created character, who has all 5, and those skills are: Soldier, Scavenger, Engineer, Builder, and Leader. Soldiers excel at combat, whereas Scavengers are much better at finding items. Engineers can research faster than other skills, and that research is used for permanent buffs. Builders can construct buildings faster than any other, and the Leader does a better job of negotiating with people. For instance, when trying to recruit a survivor, you’re more likely to get them to come along with you, regardless of their situation if you bring along a leader.
A survivor’s skills can level up as they go along, progressively getting better the more they do an action they are particularly good at. If you’re not happy with the skill a survivor has, because maybe you just have one too many scavengers, you can have them train at a school to replace their skill. They’ll start all the way back at their basic skill level, but it will be a skill you actually would like them to have.
Now, it’s all well and good having a rag-tag band of survivors, helping to pitch in around the farm to collect some food, or guard over by the police station to stop that zombie crossing into our own back yard, but there’s also got to be rules. The further you progress in-game; the more likely a policy is going to arrive. These policies could ask you whether you would rather be a capitalist or communist-like society, or a mixture of the two. Depending on your answer, it can help or play havoc with your town’s happiness. Thankfully, a policy can be changed at any time, just in case you weren’t happy with your decision the first time.
Lurking about in this city isn’t just you and the dead by the way. You may come across some factions, or a trader. Stay on friendly terms with them and they won’t make your life a living hell for you. But feel the need to attack them, and then be prepared for the consequences. The dead may be horrifying, but that doesn’t mean people can’t do even worse. Plus, they can hold guns!
When it comes to gameplay, Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville is all rather simple once you’ve got the hang of it, and it all makes for a worthwhile experience once you’ve finally managed to sink your teeth into it. It’s not the type of iPhone game where some 5 minute play time is going to get you very far. Although you may not be able to have a quick few minutes with the game, the overall gameplay itself is something to enjoy. It has this “one more turn” mentality that games like Civilization has. It may not be to the same degree or quite the same scale, but it does have that little itch to make me want to take just one more building!
The graphics though won’t be to everyone’s style. They have quite a cartoony theme to them, which I personally enjoy, but it’s nothing ground-breaking in terms of visuals, and it most certainly won’t be to everyone’s cup of tea, which may be a problem. The distinct art style in an iPad game like this is hard to avoid, as it’s in your face with every event, and move that you make. If you don’t like it, then I can’t see you looking past it. But if you do like the art-style, it could be hard to draw a negative on it at all.
There is one thing I did notice in the Android game that caught my eye, and that was the fact there was at some point a punctuation error. It didn’t ruin what the game was trying to say or make it unreadable, but it sure did make it a little weird to read, and made me do a double check, just to make sure I was reading it right.
Overall though, I would have to recommend Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville. The price tag is a tad steep at just under $5, but the gameplay is an easy excuse to keep you sucked into the game for just a few minutes more, right when you’re about to leave. The graphics are nice, but may not be for everyone’s taste. Honestly though, if you don’t find yourself having any issues with the graphical style, then you’ll find a game that is easy to enjoy.
Summary: Sarah Northway has really put a lot of love into Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville, and the series in general, and it shows. Although the visuals may not be for everyone’s taste, the gameplay side of things make it a difficult game to put down.