April 21, 2022
When you first look at Teardown, you might assume that the goal of the game is to destroy everything you can see, or that you are destroying large buildings. The truth is somewhere in the middle; you are destroying buildings but your goals don’t involve destroying everything in sight. Instead, you will be carrying out different errands that require you to put your destruction skills to the test.
Teardown is a first-person sandbox game where you take the role of a nameless business owner who can take apart objects. During the campaign, their main goal is to carry out a variety of jobs to earn money, which includes theft and property destruction. At the end of a mission, you are running back to your escape vehicle as if you were carrying out a heist.
Destroying the environment to achieve goals
Destruction in Teardown isn’t as easy as walking into a property and carving a path through the cubed 3D environment. You will encounter a variety of security measures that either significantly cut down the amount of time you have or will result in immediate failure. Like a professional thief, you must examine your surroundings, make a plan, and then carry it out to ensure your job is successful.
Teardown’s biggest appeal is its sandbox nature. Completing the objective is your goal, but how you go about doing that is up to your discretion with a world of fun that can be had within the game’s voxel environments. The world can be destroyed in a number of ways and every means has an end. If you need to steal computers, you can make your way to the room where they are located, or destroy the flooring to make the computers come down to you. If you need a shortcut that takes you across the ocean, you can steer a boat or use it as a battering ram to forcefully create a shortcut on land.
You won’t be tearing apart the environment with your hands, as you will have a set of tools that you can use to break down obstacles. As you progress throughout the game, you will gain access to more tools that expand your destruction options, allowing you to pull off more creative heists or even revisit past missions to complete them more efficiently. If you need to test your plans before you carry them out, you can always quick save your game beforehand. This gives you the flexibility to experiment and restart if things don’t go according to plan, allowing you to try different strategies without having to restart the whole mission.
Successfully pulling off a mission with your creativity and wits gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. You don’t have a lot of direction other than knowing what you need to do and where you need to go, which really makes you feel like you are planning an elaborate heist. You control when the pieces fall into place, and you can’t help but feel like an expert thief at the end of a mission.
“Offering the sandbox and challenge modes builds on Teardown’s strengths, as it gives you the freedom to play however you wish.”
Different game modes to play however you wish
If the various missions are starting to bore you, you can play the sandbox mode to do whatever you want. There are no goals, no obstacles, just you and your tools breaking down the place without a care in the world. The number of tools and locations you can work with are determined by the campaign, though you can unlock all available tools in the options if you want a sneak peek of future tools or if you want all the destruction now. For those who prefer having an objective but feel that missions are too constraining, you can try the challenge mode which gives you a single objective to accomplish. You have to achieve it within a certain time limit, but it provides another playstyle that isn’t completely based around being a professional thief.
Offering the sandbox and challenge modes builds on Teardown’s strengths, as it gives you the freedom to play however you wish. Whether you want to be a professional thief, put your skills to the test, or relieve stress by doing whatever you want, Teardown has something for everyone. Even if you have exhausted all three modes, there is an active modding community that has created a variety of maps, missions, tools, and more for a player to work with. There’s always something to do and with hundreds of mods to explore, you won’t run out of content anytime soon.
Repetitive & limiting gameplay can wear out its welcome fast
Unfortunately, Teardown does lock new areas and tools, and you have to play the campaign to unlock them. While you can unlock the new areas and tools by going to the options, it will make either the campaign or the sandbox mode redundant. You have either played the campaign enough to do what you would like, or you have no interest in the campaign and want to do what you like.
Teardown’s campaign can also feel limiting. While unlocking the tools and maps gives players an objective to work towards, it can feel restrictive when you can’t mess around with the environment as much as you’d like. Rather than plan out an elaborate scheme to achieve objectives, it can sometimes be more appealing to rip buildings apart rather than be constrained by obstacles or objectives. Working your way towards new tools and maps can feel repetitive, especially after you have spent some time in the early stages of the campaign. Breaking down your surroundings with your sledgehammer is entertaining at first, but after a while the exhilaration wears off. Even after you get new tools such as the blowtorch or the shotgun, it doesn’t provide as much variety for the rest of the missions until your toolset develops even further.
The gameplay also doesn’t have any large variations. The campaign, sandbox and challenge mode are all similar to each other, using the same tools and settings. While destroying the environment to achieve your goals is the core of the game, that is all you can do. Other than achieving objectives, you are just repeating the same heist/destroy/challenge formula repeatedly. This makes Teardown a game that is better played in short bursts, unless you are really enamored with the game’s offerings. Otherwise, it might wear out its welcome faster than you might expect as you start to get bored with the repetitive gameplay.
- Three game modes let you play the game however you wish
- Different tools allow you to achieve the same objective in different ways
- Everything in the environment can be used, encouraging your creativity
- Unlocking all maps & tools in the options can make the campaign redundant
- Going through the campaign can feel like a chore in the beginning
- Lack of gameplay variation can bore players if you aren't a big fan
Teardown does a great job in delivering on its premise, offering players the ability to pull off professional heists any way they want by manipulating the environment to their advantage. You will always have something to do if you get bored of the campaign, such as the sandbox mode where you can experiment and play to your liking, or the challenge mode where you put your skills to the test. Unfortunately, the game’s freedom is tied to your progression in the campaign, forcing you to work within certain constraints. Unless you are a big fan of creating your own experiences, you can quickly become bored of the game if you don’t give yourself time to take a break. Despite this, Teardown is still a solid sandbox experience that can provide hours of entertainment and goals to work towards. For players looking for a good sandbox experience that makes you think and promotes your creativity, you can’t go wrong with Teardown.