This Week I Played Teardown

Do you ever just want to take a hammer to a wall? Is the only thing stopping you knowing that you’re either going to have to fix it yourself, you’ll lose your security deposit, or that you’ll go to jail? Well, Teardown solves those problems and fills that need (Although you might still go to jail).

Teardown is a voxel-based destruct-em-up that is currently in Early Access on Steam. In essence, Teardown is a heist game with a level of sheer destruction that eclipses the Red Faction series. The player has to fulfill a set of objects for your clients. At first, these objectives are easy enough, knock over a building, drop a safe into the sea. Later the missions get harder and harder. You’ll have to steal paintings wired to alarms, drive cars around race tracks, and throw a different set of safes into the sea.

Timber!

There are two primary mechanics in Teardown, breaking things and running. In most levels, once you’ve done one of your objectives you have a minute to finish the rest of them before the police show up and lock you up. This makes the game more about careful planning and less about random destruction.

The strategy I tend to apply to levels is to draw a loop that touches all of the required objectives, and as many secondary objectives as I can manage. Then it’s a matter of drawing as straight of lines as possible between those objectives as I can. And that is a total blast, literally.

Making your efficient path through the level involves bombs, guns, rockets, and your trusty sledgehammer. It is so satisfying to carefully make a bridge by dropping a third-floor balcony between two buildings or ramping a car off some stairs to lodge it into a building. Perhaps most satisfying of all is just running a payloader straight through a building just because. Doing these things alone in the sandbox mode is worth the price of admission. The timed insanity of the campaign is beyond perfect as well.

Omm nom nom

As you progress through the campaign, you’ll unlock new locations and weapons. You start with a hammer, a blowtorch, and a fire extinguisher. Then you’ll unlock a shotgun, pipe bombs, regular bombs. There will probably be even more items added down the road. On top of that, all the locations you unlock can be visited any time in sandbox mode. In sandbox mode, you don’t have to worry about things like ammunition or alarms. Have at it.

It’s hard to write about Teardown. You honestly have to experience it. The game has near limitless replayability. You have total freedom to do whatever you want however you want to. There really is no limit. There is also the ability to add your own levels. The game is still new at this point, but there are already a lot of creators out there creating awesome levels.

Amazingly, such a creative game is fundamentally about destruction. Even more amazing is that Teardown started as creator Dennis Gustafsson playing with voxel rendering and physics. He outlines on his blog part of the creative process that went into the game and it is a great read. In short though if you’re a tech nerd, Teardown has your back. Microsoft has been touting ray tracing coming in Minecraft. Friends, Teardown already has it.

Truck go brrrr

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some things that are frustrating with the game. There are times where even a decently appointed computer is going to get bogged down but the physics simulation. This is because as I mentioned the game started life as a technology test. I have no doubt this will get smoothed out as the game progresses through early access. But it is worth noting. This doesn’t affect gameplay too much. You’re rarely knocking things down while alarms are going off. Which is a small mercy.

Presently Teardown is available for twenty dollars on Steam. I have a rule about not giving hard recommendations to games in Early Access. With that said, Teardown is a fun and entertaining game. You can pick up and set down Teardown easily.

If you want to know more, I suggest you follow the creator on Twitter or check out the blog linked above. If you are the kind of person who has no qualms about buying early access games, then give this one a go. Those buildings won’t Teardown themselves.


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