Note: Now that things have calmed down a bit, I should be back on a normal weekly schedule. However, I'm switching my reviews to Mondays so that I have the weekend to work on them.

Developer: Sarahnorthway

Platform: Flash

Release Date: 2/12/2011

Content Warning: Blood and Gore, Moderate Language, Minor Sexual References


          After all of these casual social games lately, I’m in the mood for something a little more hardcore. Nothing says hardcore quite like doing battle with hoards of the undead, so I was lucky to find Rebuild recently. It’s not quite what you’d expect from a zombie game, though. Instead of your usual affair of picking up the nearest shotgun and blasting some patrons out of Chateau d’Sweetbreads, Rebuild has you managing a colony of survivors after some unexplained zombie apocalypse decimated the world. Your goal (beyond simply surviving, of course) is to rebuild society by any means necessary. In order to do that, you’ll have to give orders to survivors, manage their food, shelter, and happiness, and conquer surrounding blocks so that you can barricade them against the undead.

The beginning of a new age. I mean, doesn't every city have blocks of farming fields?
          Rebuild has a very Oregon Trail-ish feel to it, with a wide variety of random events popping up to keep things interesting. One day you’ll have a biker gang come through and wipe out a bunch of zombies that might otherwise try to invade your fortress, and the next you’ll have a week’s worth of food go moldy. There’s even an event that references Oregon Trail where one of your survivors dies of dysentery. Your map is even randomized every time you start a new game, ensuring that they’re always a little different. The writing is quite good, and I particularly appreciated the inclusion of an option to toggle swearing. However, it resembles Oregon Trail in both the good and the bad. Because your fate is largely dependent on random events, there isn’t exactly a ton of skill involved. For this reason, I recommend staying away from the higher difficulties until you’ve already beaten it once. Usually, ‘insane’ is just a term for a difficulty that’s harder than hard, but in this case it’s an accurate description of your mental state while attempting to play it.

          One thing that I really enjoyed about the game’s ending is that there’s more than one way to win. I won’t spoil what they are, as finding them is part of the fun, but I enjoyed that it can play out as any kind of zombie invasion that you want. You can even keep playing after you’ve found one ending and end up finding them all, which is a little weird but still pretty fun.

          You might be thinking “Alright then, this game should be pretty easy, because I can reset it whenever I get a bad event.” Well, you can forget about that. Your game state is backed up to a server any time you do much of anything, and it will save anything you get before you even have a chance to read the text to find out if the event was good or bad. It is a bit of a pain, but I prefer that over the reset policy because it makes the events matter more.

          The art style in Rebuild is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a post-apocalyptic zombie game. There’s lots of blood, and unfortified areas have dark colors where fortified ones are more colorful. All of the option menus and events are written on notebook paper, and selection buttons are bullets. Not exactly graphical game of the year, but it certainly gets the job done. I do have to register a complaint about a few events that have special animations, though. I understand that flash is a rather difficult program to use for pure animation, but the scenes for hoard attacks (and a few other things that I’m not going to mention because of spoilers) really needed some more work, or to not be included at all.
          There’s really not much to say about the music and sound effects, mainly because there aren’t a whole lot. There’s only one song that plays on the main map screen, and it will most likely wear on your nerves before you finish the game. There also aren’t very many sound effects, which is understandable considering it’s not an action game, but buttons don’t even have any sound effects to them. You can turn both off, and I recommend doing so.

          Sound and graphic issues aside, Rebuild is one of the few flash games that has ever made me completely lose track of time. Even when I’m really into a game, I usually keep track of time and what’s going on around me, but while playing this game I looked up to find that over 2 hours had passed, and that’s saying something good. I don’t know that Rebuild completely deserves the 3rd highest rating ever on Kongregate that it’s gotten, but it’s still quite fun and definitely worth a look if you don’t mind the blood.

                                                                Score: 8/10

This has been the Freeware Fanatic, saying at least they’re not philosophical zombies. Minnndss, minnndddssssss… just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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