Teardown

“Teardown” released in early access on PC last fall with blocky graphics and downright fantastic destruction physics that challenge the player to get creative when charting a path through each level with hammers, blowtorches, dynamite and stolen vehicles. 

It might be a year of hanging around the house, but there’s something extremely satisfying about blowing up walls, tearing down buildings and carving your way through a destructible environment to plot out the perfect getaway.

“Teardown” released in early access on PC last fall with blocky graphics and downright fantastic destruction physics that challenge the player to get creative when charting a path through each level with hammers, blowtorches, dynamite and stolen vehicles.

It might look a bit like “Minecraft,” but you’re not doing any building here.

Each of the game’s levels serve as a sandbox of destruction, giving players the main mission of collecting items or vehicles spread throughout the map and returning them to getaway point within 60 seconds.

Each level gives the player unlimited time to set up the heist — running around to blow a path between one building and another — to maximize your take once the alarms are triggered.

Approach the level like a normal game and you’ll be lucky to collect one of a half-dozen items before the authorities arrive, but that’s where the destruction comes in. A gate in the way? Cut it off with a blowtorch. That wall getting in your way? Nothing a little dynamite can’t fix. Finding yourself wasting precious seconds driving around the map? A stolen boat dropped off in just the right spot will do the trick.

It ultimately ends up feeling like a puzzle game in just about one of the best sandboxes out there. All the tools of destruction open a ton of different options for each approach and pulling off the right heist takes a ton of planning as well as some lucky execution in the plan. Even a can of spray paint comes in handing in mapping out the course. In one level, you’ll have to collect safes from around the map that are far too heavy to carry. With the safes on the second level of a building, I demolished the lower floor so I could pull a construction dump truck underneath the safe so when the heist was underway, I could shoot out the floor below the safe and it would fall into the truck for a quick getaway. In another level, a building was in the way of the getaway spot so used a loader to carve a path through the house.

Once you’ve started the heist, the game switches into an action game where you have to navigate the course you’ve set up for yourself just right where the work you put into the setup can either help or hinder your getaway. Vehicles can get snared in too many debris, for example.

Check out one of my successful getaways (which was maybe the 10th attempt at this course) here: youtu.be/hnHF2VrhM5c.

It’s here, too, where frequently saving the game helps as you can try to chart just the right course.

“Teardown” is still in early access, meaning its developers are still working on the game and adding new features. They recently added an option to easily import fan-made levels and content that adds a tremendous amount of new content.

Together, the planning and getaway combine some of the most satisfying puzzling challenges I’ve seen in recent games and I can’t wait to jump back in for more.

Matt Buxton is a freelance writer and gamer. He can be reached at matt.a.buxton@gmail.com.

If You Play 

Game: Teardown

Rating: 5 stars

Platforms: PC

Price: $20

Internet usage: 2 GB download

Release Date: Oct. 29, 2020