You run Löckelle Teardown Services, a family owned demolition company. Your debts are piling up and customers have dried up long ago. This is the scenario you are presented with at the start of Tuxedo Labs’ Teardown, as you receive an email from your mother about an admittedly fishy job to demolish a single house near a mall. After an introductory level in which you demolish said house – a protected heritage site, guess the job was fishy after all – you get a message from a cop letting you know she has a positive visual on your van and she could arrest you right now, but she’d be willing to look the other way for a little help with her investigation. Into the man that hired you. From there you are thrown into a world of criminal investigation, insurance fraud, revenge, and lots and lots of explosions.
Teardown is a voxel-based game where you can destroy almost everything, given the tools and the inclination. Why do you want to destroy so many things? Well, apart from the sheer joy of it, to complete the many strange missions you have ahead of you. See, after a few levels where you get used to the movement and controls, acquiring objectives and secrets for your various clients, Teardown introduces alarms into missions. The way these work is that you have as much time as you like to explore and prepare in a mission from the time you enter it until the exact moment you trip an alarm, usually by acquiring one of your alarmed objectives. Then you head into go mode and usually only have 60 seconds to hoof if all across the rest of the map, acquire as many objectives as you can and most importantly, leave the level before a helicopter zeros in on your escape vehicle. And while on the early levels you might be able to just run around and grab your required objectives, in later levels there’s no way to complete even the required objectives that way, never mind trying to complete a level with all your optional challenges too. So you have to get creative. And in this case, creative means destructive.
As expected from a game all about breaking things, you have an entire toolbox of items to help you in your mission, though perhaps the word arsenal is more apt. Starting with just a sledgehammer, spraycan and fire extinguisher, as you complete levels and especially optional objectives you add a blowtorch, multiple guns, two types of bombs, a rocket launcher, oh, and wooden planks. Yes, Planks, because they are perhaps the most vital tool in your arsenal. Need a ramp to a higher level? Planks. Need to make a bridge to get between two upper floors quicker? Planks. Need to tether two object together for safe transport? Planks (Or cables, but a lot of the time you really want those planks). Need to make a rainproof shelter to keep safes from getting wet before you want them to? Planks. You can also use cars, boats, trucks, and construction equipment to get you around, over, and occasionally straight through the various missions in the game.
You might be wondering about the very specific example I just gave you about keeping a safe dry, and that’s because the missions in Teardown are as varied as they are wild. The mission in which you need to keep safes dry also requires you to eventually dunk them into the ocean. Another mission requires you to blow up all the propane tanks on a company’s island compound, and one mission requires you to put out fires caused by lightning strikes and rescue priceless art from the flames. Of course, most missions fall into a comfortable structure of needing to navigate a level, steal, deposit, or destroy a particular set of items, and make your escape, and while early levels tend to have their object closer together, or more easily relocated without tripping an alarm, latest levels require you to navigate large levels and perform your tasks with a 60 second time limit, or while being shot at by a helicopter, or chased by robots with guns. You know, totally normal things..
And that’s where the aforementioned arsenal comes in. You have to use all your tools, especially those ever so versatile planks to tear down and prepare the level to create a path that you can use execute a perfect heist. Don’t have enough tools to complete a level, or not as well as you like? Use some of the money you gain from completing objectives and discovering secret valuables in levels to upgrade the capabilities and carrying quantity of your tools, and you can take your improved tools back into earlier levels to try for better scores and faster times, encouraging level replays as you try and find that perfect route for the speediest heist. As a quick aside, I have seen the speedruns for this game and they are mind-blowing,
Once you’re done with the campaign mode, or if you just want to blow off steam, you can load up Teardown‘s sandbox mode where you can load up the game’s maps to explore and exploit to your heart’s content with unlimited supplies of all your tools and no punishment for accidentally killing yourself. There are also two different challenge modes, one where you must navigate across a map collecting as much randomly spawning treasure as you can while an attack helicopter tries to kill you, and another where the end goal is to destroy as many voxels in a map as you can, with a timer going off once you destroy your first thousand, so you have to make every second and every explosive count.
And if that’s still not enough Tuxedo Labs is actively supporting a mod scene with tons of user created maps, vehicles and weapons. While custom missions are not yet in Teardown, with the active mod community and Tuxedo Labs desire to add more into the game, it just seems inevitable.
Tuxedo labs very recently put Teardown into a 1.0 version after quite a long time in early access – including many months with the campaign mode complete so now is the perfect time to go pick it up, dive right in, and lose a few days of your life.
This review was based off a copy of the game purchased by the writer.