(Today's Halloween, don'tcha know, so this entry seems fitting. Enjoy your national candy day, folks.)
I have waited, for ages, for a good zombie-based RTS game to come out. And while Rebuild doesn't quite fit the bill - it's a Civ-style, turn-based strategy game - it's good enough.
Rebuild's premise is a little different from your average zombie game. Rather than trying to survive and escape the zombies, you're trying to survive and, uh, rebuild. There are few titles more succinct than this.
Rebuild sticks you right in the middle of a city that's been overrun by zombie hordes. Your goal is to retake the city, block by block, by sending fellow survivors into danger zones to wipe out the 'zeds', collect food, find more survivors and, ultimately, extend the fence of your fortress around the entire city. You also have to defend your walls from zombie attacks by appointing your troops to keep watch and fight back during battles.
What makes Rebuild a little more complex than your average browser-based game is the juggling of resources and survivors. Your survivors need certain levels of happiness and food to thrive, and so you need to have lots of people on board - but at the same time you don't want so many that you become overwhelmed. What's more, your survivors all have specialties, so you need to maximize your chances of survival by deploying them properly - and since Rebuild runs almost strictly on percentages, paying attention to specializations is very important.
Rebuild is a point-and-click strategy game. So long as your mouse is working, you'll be able to navigate the (pleasantly simple) menus with ease.
Rebuild is not the most attractive browser-based game in the world, but it's hardly offensive. The maps are a mixture of commercial puns and gaps of sinister black, and the occasional battle scenes between the survivors and the zombies are cartoon versus cartoon. Not spectacular, but the visuals aren't the important part of Rebuild anyway.
Though I do find All-Mart amusing.
Meh. Rebuild has appropriately sinister/industrial music befitting a zombie game. It gets a little irritating after a while, especially since (successful) games of Rebuild can take a REALLY long time, but it's far from the worst I've heard.
As far as browser games go, Rebuild is pretty bloody hard. Even with a helpful tutorial at the beginning of a new game, you're almost always going to lose your first city... and maybe your second. And third. This is exasperated when you take into account that there are five difficulty settings, and when you fail you're probably at... the second lowest. (Maybe lowest.) It only gets worse from there.
The saving grace of the difficulty is that cheapness doesn't usually factor into your losses; generally it's just a run of bad luck and worse decisions on your part. You need to play this game wisely and pay heed to warnings of incoming zombie hordes, as survivors can be scarce and you don't have many turns to adapt to increasing numbers of the undead.
Rebuild is a lot of fun. Granted, you'll basically be playing the same thing over and over again, but the randomization of the city blocks and the contents of the buildings - not to mention the outcomes of all your forays into danger - make it a replayable experience. Just, ah, get used to seeing this screen a lot:
(And stay tuned for a review of its sequel later in the week!)