Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Rebel Inc.

Go To
Will you bring peace and hope, or see this war-torn country descend into violence once more?
Rebel Inc. is a 2018 iOS game from the developers of the highly acclaimed game Plague Inc., Ndemic Creations. An Updated Re-release titled Rebel Inc.: Escalation launched on October 15th, 2019 for PC as well. While Rebel Inc. is visually similar to Plague Inc., the gameplay differs significantly.

The game takes place in the aftermath of an international invasion of a unnamed but thematically Central Asian countrynote . With the fighting in the chosen region over, the player is assigned as the governor of that area. The goal of each mission is to develop and stabilize all the zones of that region, while dealing with insurgents and keeping your reputation from dropping to zero.

Rebel Inc. provides examples of:

  • Attack Drones: Averted. Drones are only used for reconnaissance. The closest they get to attacking is an upgrade that has them combat boost any of your troops in the vicinity by providing direct intel.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Everything you do causes prices to increase due to Inflation, and reduces your income. Once the insurgents show up, you have to outsource your military while you build up your own. The outsourced military has a time limit, and extending the limit becomes progressively more costly. Your permanent military is probably still weaker by the time this happens, and has a considerable training time to boot.
  • Addled Addict: One of the random events on Opium Trail involves your national troops being addicted to drugs, lowering their combat strength, unless additional measures are paid for to stop their addiction.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Yeah, tanks are cool. Yeah, in open terrain they'll roll right over the insurgents. But they're useless in a support role, and what's worse, they can't go into battle in the mountains to take the fight to the insurgents. The loss of support they cause is just the cherry on top. They're a bit more practical in Campaign mode, where several Combat Tactics counter every last one of their weaknesses, including their inability to travel through mountains, but you're at the mercy of the Random Number God if you intend on relying on tanks.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: While the game is intentionally vague about the cause the insurgents fight for, they bring nothing but trouble in the area. You're trying to bring back order, reopening schools and hospitals to reach that goal... But look at all the morally questionable (at best) and outright morally bankrupt (at worst) decisions you took while solving any Random Event that pops up, and can only justify by claiming you couldn't afford to piss off some people or groups at the time you made them...
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Insurgents on a Tank. Just a single insurgent unit is present in the scenario map. However, it has monstrous strength, completely immortal, instantly takes over any zone it enters without any regard to its security power, and has a good liking to go from a zone to another zone. In the map, it appears as just a larger insurgent icon.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: The Flavor Text for the 4th Anti corruption initiative implies an attempt to make it a Defied Trope, by banning the printing of high denomination currency. The launch trailer also displays a briefcase full of money while talking about the governor's failure to control corruption.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Devil's Peak. The feature of this level is an active volcano, which will, at random, cause an eruption in a zone (with a warning). When this occurs, the population must be evacuated, as any Soldiers, Insurgents, or structures will be destroyed in the inferno.
    • The local authorities is well informed of the hazard that troops can be deployed right at start.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • Civil Servant - default option. No special abilities or penalties.
    • Economist - receives the entire yearly budget up front. Can reduce inflation.
    • General - can start training troops immediately (all others have to wait for insurgents to first show themselves) and comes with a free garrison. Can further increase national troop strength. Civilian initiatives more expensive. Can also institute martial law.
    • Banker - receives interest on unspent funds. Can print money at the cost of inflation and can hire lobbyists to increase reputation. Receives a smaller budget.
    • Smuggler - receives extra cash from high corruption. Can make additional money at the cost of lower national troop strength. Can train troops faster at the cost of their strength. Can bribe insurgents to lower their activity. Can temporarily decrease corruption.
    • Warlord - national troops are the Warlord's private militia (starts out with the Militia initiative, can train troops quickly and cheaply, but they will periodically ask for more money or get rowdy). Can also act like a dictator. Can only be unlocked by beating each map on Brutal difficulty (or by paying real money).
    • Tank Commander - the first coalition unit and the first two national units you deploy are tank divisions, which are substantially stronger than normal but cannot gather intel or be deployed in rough terrain, additionally they can decrease support in regions they operate in. Can decrease corruption by running over corrupt officials with tanks.
    • Development Director - can deploy civilian experts to prioritize zones for development. Less military units.
    • Billionaire - can use personal connections to fund the operation. Only 3 military units are available, who are capable of disbanding insurgents via payments. No garrisons available.
    • In addition, your government can be customized and given various bonuses with up to 6 advisors divided by color, with 5 possible advisors in each role : green (military strength) note , blue (military bonuses) note , yellow (civilian matters) note , pink (law enforcement and diplomacy) note , orange (intel and PR) note  and purple (game modifiers) note .
  • Death from Above: Air strikes cannot be stopped. There is nothing insurgents can do about them, except make you lose the game by dropping your reputation to nothing. Bombers will weaken any insurgent forces in the zone and destroy any located training camp.
  • Destructive Saviour: The air force is this. Yes, they're very good at taking out insurgents, but they're not exactly precise weapons. If you employ airstrikes, occasionally you'll hit civilian targets.
  • Drugs Are Bad: On the map Opium Trail, the insurgents rely on the drug trade to finance their operation. Besides increasing their capability, too many active drug farms will wreck havoc among the region's citizens (possible lowering reputation in several random events) and your own national soldiers (generally requiring you to spend money to deal with their addiction or else suffer from weaker troops).
  • Early Game Hell: The 2nd map and the economist become this. The map is heavily weighted in favor of the rebels: it's a mountain range that features two huge cities on opposite sides of the map with only a single road connecting them. Mountainous regions are harder to collect Intel (and thus begin Initiatives in) from and take longer to move through. The economist is more complicated to manage, and doesn’t bring any practical advantages, with the main gameplay change being that she simply gets her annual budget in lump sums rather than monthly payments. The subsequent maps are significantly easier, and the leaders have far better traits to work with.
  • Easy Logistics: While the game certainly restricts the player with regards to funding Initiatives with the Corruption and Inflation mechanics, once purchased they require no additional upkeep for the rest of the game, and units remain ready to fight regardless of where they are or how bad their battles are going. Units can't even be destroyed. Subverted in the Campaign if you get the "Poor Logistics" modifier, which forbids movements to any zones without a government building such as an embassy or a garrison or a soldier next door.
  • Election Day Episode: One of the initiatives will start the election event chain, after giving you a small reputation boost. An event then will pop up asking you if you really want to hold an election. You can agree for a small fee, demand that it take place ASAP (costs more but gives a better reputation boost), or postpone (reputation hit). You will be periodically asked if you want to hold an election, with each option showing the likelihood of insurgents disrupting elections. If you hold an election and it's disrupted, you incur a reputation hit, while holding a successful election will gain you reputation points.
  • Gathering Steam: Soldiers that stay in a single zone and aren't engaged in combat will entrench themselves, passively increasing their strength with no actual cap. A soldier unit that has stayed in a zone for a couple months can easily beat back large insurgent incursions.
  • Geo Effects: Rivers can't be crossed by insurgents when fleeing a lost battlenote , allowing your forces to destroy them if they're surrounded on other sides. Each province is also classified as either urban, rural, or remote, with progressively higher movement costs and lower intel gathering rates in that order (movement costs can be lowered by investing in roads). Likewise, the first bonus map involves caves, used by the Insurgents as camps. Without the proper initiative to teach soldiers how to clean them up, an Insurgent-occupied cave acts as a beefed-up camp immune to airstrikes.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Defeated Insurgents will always flee to a nearby zone where they'll start sowing dissent after a short while. To destroy them, they must be either beaten when stuck somewhere they can't flee (they can't cross the edge of the map, your HQ's zone, garrisoned zones with the proper upgrade or rivers without bridges) or surrounded by soldiers.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Saffron Fields are a bunch of plains with a single mountain area up in the corner that's easy to blockade. It's not too difficult to set up garrisons and troops just outside the mountains to hem the insurgents in and either stabilize the rest of the map before coming in to clean up, or sign an easy peace in your favor.
  • Guide Dang It!: Several mechanics are not explained in game, such as entrenchmentnote , Security neutralizing insurgents, and corruption risk vs actual corruption note 
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You do get to name your Operation: [Blank].
  • Heel–Face Turn: Downplayed with the Smuggler, and even more so with the Warlord. Both governors are experts in illicit operations, but are now putting their old skills to help stabilize the region they're assigned to.
  • Joke Character: The Impulsive Shopper and the Trained Monkey advisors. The Impulsive Shopper randomly buys Initiatives if you try and save money, and the Trained Monkey randomly selects responses to events if you wait for the deadline to respond. Although both mostly exist to make the game harder, they do have a limited use: The Trained Monkey can occasionally make decisions that are not currently available, and its random decisions can always be avoided if you're paying attention. The Impulsive Shopper will never help an experienced player, but may sometimes purchase options the player has been neglecting while they've been focusing on fighting the insurgency and so can be moderately useful for beginners.
  • Killer Rabbit: On brutal difficulty, it's possible to reduce insurgents to a tiny red spec. Not all of them are set to flee to the mountains. Some will turn Super-Persistent Predator and continuously reach for the headquarters. If you lack the troops to completely block / surround it, then you have what amounts to a single immortal insurgent who mysteriously destroys everything in its path and single handedly trashes your reputation to death.
  • Leave No Survivors: It's one of the way of stabilizing the region. It's possible to arrange a peace deal with the insurgents that could damage your reputation... or just keep attacking them, until you are able to encircle and destroy them. After some time, if you keep the Insurgents in check as they will try to establish other camps in unstable zones, the civilian initiatives will build up support in all the zones. As soon all the zones are stabilized the game will end. This is also an achievement in game, called "Peace is for wimps".
  • Magikarp Power: National troops take forever to train and are weak early on. However, if you continue training more of them and invest in a number of initiatives, they can grow in strength to the point where they rival Coalition troops. As a bonus point, they don't antagonize the local population and don't disappear after a while. They become even stronger if you choose the General as your governor, as he has additional initiatives that arm national troops with high-end weapons. The air force random event can even further boost national troop strength, sometimes at the cost of Coalition troop strength. There is also a random event wherein you have to address soldier desertion, with one of the options being to pay more money for salary and training, thus increasing troop strength even more. This trope is even more in effect if you choose the Smuggler path and activate the initiative that speeds up national troop training at the cost of their effectiveness.
  • Men of Sherwood: National Troops evolve from a Redshirt Army to this towards the mid to late game. Standard upgrades are enough to put them on par with Coalition troops, if not better in some aspects like intel gathering, not antagonizing locals, and not requiring Reputation to keep in-country. Random events also give opportunities to increase their power further, Advisors can offer bonuses as well, and the General and Warlord can buy more upgrades.
  • Military Alphabet: Zones are given designations in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, such as Alfa Uniform.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Giving NGOs a free hand will randomly give you free Initiatives but increase Corruption and Inflation by a large amount. Inflation increases costs and can prevent you from buying Initiatives, while Corruption reduces your Support and Reputation. Not paying the small cost to control the worst of the downsides can create a doom loop where where your have spiralling inflation wasting your money and corruption going unchecked.
    • The "Universal Justice" initiative where pledge to arrest and try criminals no matter their wealth or background, can backfire if you choose to let go or reward corrupt judges or violent police leaders, as people realize the governor lied to them, causing negative impacts.
  • Nintendo Hard: Not only are you fighting an Real-Time Strategy battle against the insurgents, you also have to juggle your budget, reputation, public support, random events, inflation, and internal corruption. You also have to rebuild the region's infrastructure and provide medicine, education, electricity, clean water, and roads. Even the "Casual" setting can be very tough and where failure is expected.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: As mentioned under Ripped from the Headlines, the unnamed country which serves as the game's setting is obviously a lawyer-friendly version of Afghanistan.
  • No Kill like Overkill: A Campaign upgrade lets tank units kill an insurgent unit on their arrival, presumably by running them over. There is even an achievement if you kill the last one in the zone through this: "The Subtle Approach".
  • No Woman's Land: Downplayed at first; three of the eight governors (Economist, Banker, and Development Director) and several of the advisors are women, but the region is clearly very conservative towards women. Spending money on education initiatives will also trigger an event that allows the government to pass laws to guarantee gender equality (at the cost of angering remote areas, deemed more conservative) and the Coalition soldiers include female soldiers (revealed in a random event). Ends up averted if you supported gender equality reforms, with the national airline hiring its first female pilot and a TV channel aimed towards women becoming a big success, which raises support since both the pilot and the TV host claims in an interview this couldn't have happened without your intervention.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: While not technically a sequel, it is a game borrowing enough from Plague Inc. to be a spiritual successor. Which makes it odd that it is titled Rebel Inc when you are in control of the Counter Insurrection forces (in other words, the Rebel's enemies), while Plague Inc had you in control of the pandemic. Also, Rebel Inc was in basic development before Plague Inc, only for it to be put on the backburner.
  • Notice This: If an insurgent camp spawns in zones with full intel, and there are no garrisons nearby with the Security Checkpoints initiative, it will be visible as a faint question mark, gradually gaining opacity over time until you send a soldier or drone to investigate it.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: A popular tactic for high-difficulty Azure Dam runs was to simply plop the HQ on the dam itself, providing a massive amount of security for the region's major game mechanic. The Campaign mode update removed it from valid HQ locations.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Similar to choosing a pathogen name in Plague Inc., you can choose the name of your operation. You are given two randomize buttons for the two-word name, allowing for names like "Swift Falcon" or "Old Thor". You can also enter your own name.
  • Peace Conference: You can opt to start peace negotiations with the insurgents, if you feel that you can't defeat them militarily. They will refuse to even start the negotiations if they feel that their position is stronger than yours. Once they do, there are several stages, during which you have to choose one of three options: one that favors you (e.g. insurgents lay down all weapons), gives you reputation, but is likely to antagonize insurgents; one that favors insurgents (e.g. insurgets get to keep all weapons) but costs you a lot of reputation; and a compromise (e.g. insurgents only lay down heavy weapons), which loses you some reputation and has only a small chance of antagonizing insurgents. After all that, you can agree to the deal, demand more concessions, or restart negotiations. Once the insurgents agree to a treaty, you will likely incur a massive reputation hit (sometimes enough to make you lose the game), depending on how many zones they control and how many troops they have left. On the other hand, all zones then pacify in a matter of (in-game) days, so the game is pretty much won at that point.
  • Police Brutality: one random event is the nomination of a new militia leader who vows to take a hard line against crime and Insurgents, raising concerns. After some time, another event will happen where the militia is found guilty of abusing his powers. You can choose to arrest the leader (militia becomes less effective at slowing down or fending off Insurgents) or let it go (support loss, worsened with justice system reforms.).
  • Police Are Useless: Averted. The basic militia slows down Insurgents at the cost of lowered support, but upgrading the militia into proper cops boosts supports as they are actually trained to uphold the law. And they slow down the Insurgents even more.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Smuggler is able to turn their national soldiers into a full-blown mercenary company, generating money for each unit on the field at the cost of rising Corruption.
  • Random Event: The game will occasionally pop up a random event that requires you to make a decision. You can hold off on making the decision for a few game months, but eventually the game will pause and won't resume until you do make a decision, unless you have chosen the Trained Monkey as one of your advisors, at which point the game will randomly make the choice for you.
  • Random Number God: Your savior and/or destroyer in Campaign Mode. Every map brings with it randomly generated modifiers that could make things easier or harder for you, and both your and the insurgent's campaign-wide upgrades are randomized. It's great if you get something good like "Gold Standard" which utterly erases inflation as a concern, not so great if the insurgents get "Combat Network"note  which can make them even harder to fight back and control.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Not only is “Civilian Shakedowns” an initiative for the warlord, checking the pillage box. The game also explicitly uses ellipses when alluding to some of the activities the national soldiers get up to, saying “The militia have a different mindset to normal soldiers...” suggesting that this is what the “Turn a blind eye” option entails.
  • Reformed Criminal: The Smuggler is a retired Arms Dealer who can bring in their unique skills at exploiting chaos and corruption to fund their operation, at the expense of being much more sensitive to the negative effects of corruption, precisely because they're a former criminal.
    • The 'retired' part is between apostrophes in-game, leaving the reformed part quite ambiguous.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The game is essentially a Captain Ersatz title about fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan and to a lesser extent Iraq. While the country is never named directly, the game begins in April 2002 in the aftermath of an "invasion", with a "Coalition" of forces trying to help the government gain control of the country. There are also other references: the Troop Surge random event can occur if the game goes long enough, with the Coalition leader giving the player 2 Coalition units to end the war once and for all. Another event sees the Coalition distracted with an unnamed other war where they request one of the player's Coalition units to be temporarily withdrawn, probably referring to the division of resources between Iraq and Afghanistan. The creators outright admit on the Steam page that the game takes inspiration from Afghanistan and the lead developers met with Afghan officials in Europe to see their perspective and include it as part of the game's desire to be respectful to the situation and the people in it.
    • There is also a random event in which you must respond to the insurgency blowing up ancient Buddhist statues, referencing the Taliban doing the same in Bamyan in 2001. While it could be interpreted as a reference to similar acts of destruction by ISIS, the reference to Buddhism puts it squarely in Afghanistan.
    • The options to have the insurgents turn in weapons and set up a political party during peace deal negotiation may have been a reference to the peace deal between the Colombian government and the FARC.
    • The map Black Caves does away with the Captain Ersatz, as it is the literal translation of the infamous Tora Bora cave system.
    • The map Azure Dam is an expy of Mosul Dam[1]. Mosul Dam was built unwisely on top of karst rocks (limestone/gypsum) which dissolve when they come into contact with water so concrete has to be pumped into the foundation below the dam to stop it collapsing and flooding Mosul below 65ft/20m of water and Baghdad under 15ft/4.6m of water. Additionally the dam had been captured by ISIS in 2014 and work to shore up the foundations not carried out and delayed for security reasons.
  • Samus Is a Girl: One random event involves angry locals claiming Coalition men are molesting local women during security check-ups, while the Coalition claims women are only checked up by female soldiers. You can either tell the locals to deal with it (lowering support in the long run), ask the Coalition to stop security checks on women (giving Insurgents a boost) or send envoys to watch over the soldiers during their operations (which costs money). Choosing the last option reveals that locals didn't know about the female soldiers due to their heavy military gear and helmets, solving the issue peacefully.
  • Surveillance Drone: The drone unit will fly over the region, finding out insurgent positions & camps, and can be upgraded to provide a bonus to combat units.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: If insurgents appear near your headquarters on brutal difficulty level, these won’t run back to the mountains like most cases. These will always take a path that gets them closer to the headquarters. If you lack enough troops to surround / completely block its approach, then its effectively immortal and doesn’t stop. As it moves between stable regions, it will wreck your reputation down to zero.
  • Super Powered Mooks: Basic soldier units can be upgraded in order to acquire unique abilities:
    • Terrain specialist attachments allow the soldiers to function more efficiently in specific terrains. Specialized soldier unit also can near-instantly clean up occupied caves, if the cave is in the same type of terrain.
    • Tank units have far higher combat power than normal soldiers, and the battle progress goes significantly faster, shortening the battle time that unit has to go through. However, they cannot enter rough terrains without good roads (or without All Terrain Tanks player tactic), they decrease local Support level, cannot gather intel, unable to clear caves.
  • Taking You with Me: The security initiatives (Local Militia, Local Police Recruitment and Local Police Expansion) will each kill one insurgent whenever they are destroyed by said insurgents. This can render up to 3 insurgents dead, freeing up your armies to deal with larger insurgent incursions and attacks. Garrisons will also go down swinging, killing 5 insurgents whenever they themselves are destroyed.
  • Tank Goodness: An update adds the Black Caves region, with an optional ability to requisition a tank unit; and the Tank Commander leader, who can utilize tanks in other regions. Tanks are much stronger than normal units, but cannot gather intel, provide support to adjacent units, or pursue insurgents in difficult terrain as well as lowering support without proper initiatives (as they basically roll over everything including houses). The Tank Commander can also reduce Corruption by having corrupt officials run over by a tank. and with the Campaign mode upgrade "Reckless Driving", a tank unit gains the ability to destroy an insurgent unit as it enters the zone.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The Warlord. He has 6 unique initiatives (the most of any governors) and all six of them are dedicated to bully and misuse the locals for his and your benefits.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Reputation affects income, and it spirals down if you don't stabilize the region soon enough. Good luck getting out of that hole with reduced means to turn the tide.
    • Random Event will bite you when you aren't doing well, having little stability tend to reduce local support and reputation even further, having large swaths of land controlled by Insurgents means you can't send help to their inhabitants in the event of a disaster and Insurgents will get even more support, and being free to destroy cultural relic, receive smuggled weapons and kidnap foreign journalists.
    • {Subverted}. Surviving low reputation and stability for a while, you will get a Random Event where Coalition Forces lend you a hand in stabilizing the region, where you may choose to increase the number of Soldier Units or support, i.e. Surge.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Once you enable international assistance, the game will ask how you want to handle it. If you choose to allow charities and NGOs free access in the region, they will occasionally perform some of the improvement initiatives at no cost to you. However, this will significantly raise inflation and corruption. You can refuse their aid, asking them instead to give donations to you. You can also take the middle ground and allow some aid.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The Smuggler gains more funds the higher corruption is, which actually makes it interesting to raise it somewhat.note 
  • What the Romans Have Done for Us: One of the methods to increase Reputation and Support Level is to provide the locals with modern infrastructure, education, and economic opportunities to the region, which in turn would drain support away from insurgents.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: At zero Reputation, you're fired and the insurgents win.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Some of the local population will support insurgents. That number can be mitigated by raising support for your policies.