Teardown Review (PS5) – A little while ago, during a rather tepid PlayStation Showcase, I saw this little game about blowing stuff up. It looks a bit like an adult Minecraft but with guns, carnage and a fist full of explosions. The game in question is Tuxedo Labs and Saber Interactive‘s Teardown, which embraces the art of destruction.
I would be lying if I said that every time I saw a wrecking ball or other heavy vehicle ripping something apart I did not think “I would love to do that for a day”. Teardown lets me live that fantasy; everything is destructible and you are given various tools to facilitate in this entertaining venture.
Teardown Review (PS5) – I Just Love Blowing Stuff Up!
I knew I was playing something entertaining when I ran up to the door, in the opening few minutes and I pressed the wrong button. Instead of opening said door I smashed the middle out of it and walked through the hole. I knew I was on to a winner.
In Teardown you are given various tasks by numerous shady characters who are trying to one-up each other and get their own back by destroying and stealing each other’s possessions. These jobs trickle through on your pixelated PC and offer a little light-hearted narrative to your otherwise mindless destruction.
These missions start simple and blossom into things akin to planning a multi-target heist. Your first job is to blow up a house and I started small. This was my first foray into the game and I initially blew up bits of it with throwable gas canisters and knocking through bits with my sledgehammer. By the end of the mission though, once I worked out what was available to me, I was driving through the foundations of the building in a massive vehicle. Such fun!
When I say everything is destructible, I am not simply spouting hyperbole. If you drive your vehicle into something, even the front of that will start to chip away. Everything is made of voxels like Minecraft and certain things take more or less damage and need certain tools to break down. Each level is your sandbox for carnage and it’s a beautiful thing.
Not only that, I would also say that not many games this year have made me feel more creatively intelligent than Teardown. What I mean by this is that when you start getting into the meat of the game, the missions require a lot of planning before the execution. In some levels, I used an hour or so of trial and error before performing what can only be described as a voxel-based destruction ballet.
Trial and Error
For example, there was this one mission, not too far in the game that has you stealing two safes and has a side mission of also stealing a few key lockers, if you feel the need. The issue with this is that each one of these five items is alarmed and as soon as you move any of them, the alarm triggers and you have one minute to make your getaway.
What do you do then I hear you ask? Well, you have to plan, use vehicles in the level and set up a route where you can get everything you want accomplished and escape within one minute. It gets those creative juices flowing and that’s where one of the game’s best features, the quick-save, comes into play.
This feature allows you to experiment, as it lets you to try inventive new things even if things end up going south, since you just hit quick-reload and you won’t have lost a thing. There were so many instances where I had planned my route, placed cars between objectives and tried to do the mission only to take far too long. Then I would discover something, like knocking down a wall or moving certain objectives that would vastly improved my time and it was immensely rewarding.
Truly and Amazingly Unique
Teardown is like nothing else I have ever played. It has a simple premise, which extends to its gameplay and design. What makes it though is that the game has a very loose framework and it is down to the player to create a solution to each problem thrown at them. I looked up a few levels on YouTube after I had done them and other players completed them in vastly different ways. That’s a true testament to brilliant game design.
Teardown, while being completely voxel-based, still looks great. From a distance, it may look dated but it’s littered with little touches of beauty. The way things break apart, the lighting and the angular nature of its presentation and how each semi-open level area is designed all add up to make a game that feels unique and a pleasure to explore. While not being everyone’s cup of tea, I loved Teardown’s feel and visuals.
From a technical standpoint, I was also very impressed. Even though, at times, there were a lot of voxels flying about, buildings falling down and boats being smashed through shacks, I never had any technical issues. I had the odd weird thing where my character would get stuck but that’s due to the way the game works, it was normally my fault for dropping a building where I was stood or something similar. Everything ran like butter and I had no bugs or issues to report.
A Truly Brilliant Experience
As you can tell, I absolutely adored Teardown. In a sea of RPGs, cookie-cutter shooters and bloat, it’s nice to have a massively unique, stripped-back game, that gives you the tools to creatively solve environmental puzzles and have a blast doing so. Teardown is great in short bursts, long sessions and does not cost much at all. I just love breaking stuff, it’s cathartic and as 2023 goes, it’s up there with my favourite games. Right, I’m off to blow some sh!t up.
Teardown is now available for PS5 and is included in the PS Plus Extra & Premium November 2023 free games lineup.
Review code kindly provided by the publisher.