WW2 Rebuilder Restores and Illuminates Wartime History

WW2 Rebuilder
Reviewed On
Steam (PC)
Available For

Building and construction games are nothing new these days; we’ve seen iteration after iteration, from LEGO to Minecraft. We’ve also played World War 2 titles nearly to death. However, what makes WW2 Rebuilder so interesting is that the developers have decided to combine the two genres and take what is possibly the most interesting approach to a World War 2 game I’ve seen in a long time.

Plot Ahoy!

The game’s title offers a pretty solid description of what you do. Marshall Plan jokes aside, that’s basically it. You wander across various maps to find destroyed sites, break down the ruins for resources, and rebuild them. That’s really it as far as the plot goes.

Review Notes

WW2 Rebuilder (hereinafter Rebuilder) offers a pretty solid tutorial before dropping you into the utterly destroyed Gimbert Station, and this mission is your first real taste of just how much thought has gone into developing this game. The rail station approximates the devastation that occurred after the 1944 Soham Rail Disaster (Soham rail disaster – Wikipedia), and there’s no question that the devs want you to think about that event. Gimbert Station is named after or perhaps in tribute to Benjamin Gimbert, the driver of the train in the actual disaster on June 2, 1944, which involved an exploding ammunitions train. Gimbert and fireman James Nightall risked their lives to minimize the damage, and while Gimbert survived, Nightall did not.

I include this little trip into History Channel territory because it’s important to take note of these details in Rebuilder because doing so offers a much deeper gameplay experience. Rebuilder is a pretty solid building game, make no mistake, and if you want to enjoy the act of rebuilding without paying too much attention to the setting, Rebuilder absolutely offers that option. However, paying attention to the locations the devs chose and why makes the title all the more immersive. For so many of us, though unfortunately not as many as we could hope, the events of WW2 are an abstraction.

Intellectually, we understand the devastation of war, but there’s something about having to break down twisted railroad ties that puts that devastation into perspective. The real lines involved in the Soham disaster were opened back up for freight traffic within eighteen hours, and even though I returned Gimbert Station to functionality in a far shorter period of time, playing through the repair gave me a greater appreciation for that achievement.

With respect to actual gameplay, it’s straightforward. You start a level and then have to complete the mandatory missions in order to open up the next map. You spend your earned ability points on a larger resource carrying capacity or faster walk speed, which believe me, you’ll want. During the reconstruction, you get the option of redecorating, which strikes me as a little bit odd. That said, be careful what you decide to add to the build because you’ll need to find the resources to complete that build. Finding the additional materials can become tedious quickly. Fortunately, Rebuilder provides the opportunity to invest points in a view that highlights usable materials.

Don’t forget to explore the maps fully because there are often hidden mini-quests and at least one mini-game in which you defuse a German bomb. The maps are pretty true-to-life as well; Normandy Beach looks as pockmarked with craters as the area around Pointe du Hoc remains to this day.

Visually, Rebuilder’s graphics are pretty solid, but the visuals themselves are pretty static unless you’re in one of the many cutscenes. These cutscenes are either introductions to the level or memories telling the story of how the location came to be destroyed, and the voice-acting could honestly use some work. The rest of its soundtrack isn’t going to wow you, but it’s pretty creditable. Weirdly for such a low-intensity game, Rebuilder takes forever to load, and you should expect to find some glitches. However, while mildly irksome, these are far from deal-breakers.


WW2 Rebuilder celebrates endurance and offers players the opportunity to rebuild rather than destroy, and frankly, for that alone, it is worth checking out. Hopefully, you’ll find the gameplay interesting enough to work your way through the maps as you meander your way through war-torn landscapes and fixing what you can.

WW2 Rebuilder retails for $19.99 on Steam.

Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard

  1. Small hitboxes make the mice extremely frustrating, which feels true to life.
  2. You get to drive a bulldozer, need I say more?
  3. To trigger the memory sequences, you walk through ghosts. That gets…weird.
  4. There are also a fair number of collectible items in WW2 Rebuilder, including letters. Yes, those are as emotionally charged as you think they’d be.
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