Teardown is a sandbox puzzle game developed and published by Tuxedo Labs. It harkens back to the likes of Red Faction: Guerrilla, offering players a fully destructible world to do what they want in. Having spent nearly 2 years in early access, some people speculated if this was going to be nothing more than a glorified tech demo. But with it finally seeing an official launch, the question now stands. Is it any fun?
Yes. Yes, it is!
After all, how couldn’t it be? When a game claims that their world is fully destructible, you know you are going to be in for a good time. You can drive cars full force into a building, burn entire log cabins to the ground, or throw propane tanks up into the air just to see what will happen. If you imagine it, you can probably do it.
To help on this destructive journey, the game provides you with a number of different tools. You have things like sledgehammers, blowtorches, shotguns and bombs, all of which interact in different ways. For example, explosions cause shrapnel and debris to shoot off in all directions, whereas fires will spread rapidly if not kept under control.
This is all made possible through their incredible voxel engine, which simulates the carnage in real time. I spent countless hours goofing around inside their sandbox mode, and if this was all the game was, I’d still call it worth the cost of admission. However, if you aren’t into the ‘make your own fun of it’ style of game, then Teardown also comes packaged with a campaign.
The narrative here is pretty thin, but its serviceable enough in progressing the plot forward. In short, you decide to take on a dubious job as you are struggling to make ends meet. This quickly unravels itself, and places you into the midst of an ongoing war between two bigwigs.
There are a total of 20 main missions for you to partake in, the majority of which are presented in the form of heists. These are effectively elaborate puzzles, which task you with completing an objective within a 60 second time limit. The objectives range from collecting GPS trackers, all the way to stealing high end sports cars. The countdown will only begin though once you have triggered an alarm, so this means you have as much time as you’d like to do your preparations.
The cool thing about this is the freedom in which you are given to solve the puzzles. It allows you to get into the mindset of becoming a criminal mastermind. You start thinking about positioning cars at key exit points, blasting open walls to make small entrances, and creating makeshift ramps to reach higher levels. It’s a great thinking exercise. Ultimately, the decision is your own choice, and the game has a lot of replayability because of that.
Besides heists, you also have the destruction missions. These task you with shortening a buildings overall height, or making you cause enough damage to fill up a destruction gauge. There isn’t too many of these in the main campaign, but the mayhem challenge modes—more on those in a second— make up for that entirely.
I found the campaign to be an enjoyable experience overall, albeit a bit short, taking only about 5 hours to complete. If you are a completionist, the side quests and challenges will also add on an additional 3-4 hours’ worth of gameplay, so keep that in mind if you’re consider buying this.
As you progress further into the campaign, you’ll be rewarded with unlocking three different challenges modes. These are more casual and arcade focused, where the goal is placed on obtaining a high score. Fetch tasks you with collecting as many objectives as possible before the timer runs out. Mayhem tests your destructive capabilities by seeing how much devastation you can cause within 60 seconds.
And finally, haunted is similar to fetch, but instead of a time limit, there is a menacing helicopter constantly chasing after you. I found these to be a nice break of pace from the main bulk of the game, and I’d hope that Tuxedo Labs continue to implement new challenges via content updates.
The steam workshop has been directly integrated into Teardown, meaning that fan made weapons, vehicles and maps, are all available at your fingertips. It’s oddly fun seeing how far the communities’ whacky creations can test the limits of your PC, and is very reminiscent of a modern-day Garry’s Mod.
Graphics and Audio
The voxel aesthetic isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes. That’s not to say that the graphics are bad, but more that they are practical in making the games physics possible. Still, I believe that the artists did an outstanding job of presenting the game in the way they did. The voxel environment mixed with the realistic skyboxes, weather effects, and water, create an interesting juxtaposition.
The audio is also more lifelike, helping to further establish a level of authenticity to the simulation. Materials all interact the way you’d expect them too, with weight and density of an object playing a part in how it sounds. The soundtrack is a collection of various ideas. At one moment it could be an ominous soundscape, the next, a jazz style chase piece. While I wouldn’t say it was something to write home about, it was perfectly fine in setting the mood and atmosphere.
Teardown is easily one of the most creative and fun games I have played in very a long time. It’s a prime example of showcasing what is truly possible through the video game medium, and while the campaigns narrative is easily forgettable, the uniqueness of its gameplay more than make up for it. If you are looking for a game that is just downright entertaining, you could do a lot worse than Teardown.