Apps that Don’t Suck: Rebuild

Be still my beating heart. I found an app that was designed by a woman, involves destroying an oppressive misogynistic cult and the icing on the cake, killing motherf’ing zombies. If P-Mag gave out Golden Ovary awards, the very first one would go to Sarah Northway, creator of Rebuild. 

The objective in Rebuild is to reclaim a series of cities after the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Players start with a city block with a handful of buildings surrounded by a protective fence. The rest of the city is obscured by a fog of war, the player has to send scouts outside of the fence to explore and expose new tiles. In addition to exploring, the player has to provide for the rescued citizens inside the gate, including training, weapons and food. Different buildings provide different functions. Apartments and suburbs house survivors, malls and police stations provide security, farms grow food, churches and bars keep survivors happy, labs allow scientific research,  and schools provide training in each of the five skill areas (farming, foraging, science, building and soldier training). Other buildings, including convenience stores and drive-ins, serve no purpose and can be demolished and replaced with more useful places.

Screenshot of city view in mobile game, Rebuild
This game is gorgeously designed. The art and UI elements are among some of the best I've seen in a mobile game.

Rebuild is a turn-based game. During each turn, the player can assign survivors to buildings or unexplored squares. Assigning too many survivors will increase the player’s vulnerability to attack from roving bands of zombies, which occur at random (easier levels have more warning) in between player turns. The user interface at the top of the screen keeps the player informed of their current vulnerability. As the game progresses, the number of attacking zombies increases.

Screenshot of Rebuild shown after a zombie attack. Text reads "Battle the undead hordes"
Motherf'ing zombies.


As the player explores the hidden tiles, she/he can collect food, tools and weapons, as well as recruit new survivors to join the city. Individual survivors can be renamed and equipped with weapons. Skill points are gained by doing related activities or by going to school. The array of characters is pretty diverse, both in terms of race/ethnicity and gender.

Rebuild screenshot of the character customization screen. Text reads "Customize characters."
Bad. Ass.

There are multiple ways to win each city, which the player will discover as they move through the fog of war. Each type of win allows the player to take a group of survivors to a new city, where she/he can begin from scratch. I don’t want to give too much away, but the paths to victory are creative and engaging. I alluded to one of them in the opening paragraph – you can totally fight a misogynistic cult!

I played the hell out of this game for a few days straight, and the replay value is high enough that I’ll pick it up again soon. Rebuild is available for Android, iPhone and iPad, currently it’s $0.99 at the Apple App store. I’d give it a solid four fluffernutter sandwiches out of five.

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*I purchased this game on my own volition, and received no compensation for this review.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

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