Review – Teardown
When Teardown first launched into early access back in 2020, it promised an unrivaled sandbox destruction game. In the years since, it has gained a massive following and delivered on that promise. So well in fact, that it has become a powerhouse that is infamously difficult to run at high framerates. Now that it’s finally out of early access, does it actually deliver?
So if you’ve seen anything about Teardown, you might simply be expecting a destruction sandbox with not much more to do in it. Whilst this is mostly true, with regards to the fact that there is a sandbox to play in, it’s also a strategic heist game. It has you undergo a variety of objects on the map to complete the mission, be it stealing safes or paintings, and escaping before the police arrive. There’s really no story here to pay attention to, but the basic premise is that you run a start-up teardown company and do a variety of jobs for clients may that be either simple building teardowns or heists.
These missions make up the bulk of the game, with several missions per each of Teardown‘s nine base maps. The problem is there’s really not much here in terms of variety or strategies you can use. Alarms can’t be defused, so there’s no way around them. However, it does enable creative thinking of how to get from objective to objective in the least amount of time possible. Setting up can take some time, so it’s a good thing that Teardown has a quick save function that allows you to reload without losing all that progress. It’s a solid, almost puzzle-like angle to the game that has you strategically using limited resources to complete a number of objectives. There’s some variety in the later stages, but much of the early ones are very similar.
How you complete these heists is very much up to you. Do you blast your way through and improvise through the levels or set-up your routes and execute it perfectly? When going from building to building: do you use cranes to get up into higher places or set-up planks? Each mission is very much a sandbox. Although, once the alarm sounds, the sixty seconds you get can feel a little bit restrictive. As such, I actually increased the alarm time in the settings so I could have just a little bit more fun. Also, if there’s a mission you really don’t like, you can easily skip it.
Where Teardown shines is within its physics based gameplay and voxel destruction. It can take some getting used to, but once you get understand the rules it becomes an absolute blast. Unfortunately, there are some issues, such as buildings not tipping over if there is one voxel connecting the building together. This has been addressed by the developers and it’s a reasonable tradeoff considering the complexity of the issue and what it would mean for the gameplay. If you take this into account and don’t expect truly real world physics going in, this one is really easy to overlook. The destruction and attention to detail in it is still phenomenal. Seeing each individual piece of a building flying off and colliding with other objects in a delightful collage of destruction never gets old.
Finally, whilst I wouldn’t normally bring this up in such detail with this review being primarily focused on the vanilla experience, Teardown is built as a sandbox experience where mods aren’t just supported, but heavily focused on, with full Steam Workshop support. This includes everything such as physics modifiers, maps, vehicles, and a ton of weapons. Teardown should experience some impressive longevity, thanks to mod support. Simply looking at the workshop on Steam shows an impressive list that will keep you busy.
However, as expected with the physics based destruction, things can get messy with the frame rate, especially in a game where everything can be broken into individual pieces. I will accept that my RTX 2060 and Ryzen 5 3600X isn’t the top of the line rig, so I was happy enough to drop my settings and resolution, scaling down just so I could squeeze a little extra performance out of it. Running around the map with explosions going off everywhere will undoubtedly tank performance, even with high end hardware. As such, if you really hate framerate drops, just be aware. On top of this using workshop maps and weapons, such as an asteroid strike in a city, I easily managed to bring down my framerates into the single digits, but at least it did look magnificent for a few seconds. Good stuff.
Teardown is an exciting and experimental destruction engine with some stunning moments. Whilst the heist missions do add a little extra variety to the sandbox, its full potential isn’t reached with them. Regardless ,if you just want to blow stuff up, then Teardown is a good time if your PC is up to the task. Also, with native Workshop support, I expect Teardown to have some long lasting appeal.
Impressive voxel based destruction that will push your PC to its absolute limits.
Offers a little bit more than a destruction sandbox and what is there is surprisingly solid even if there’s not a lot.
There’s really not much to say about the sound design, other than it’s serviceable.
Fun Factor: 6.5
Teardown‘s destruction might be a lot of fun, but its missions might get on the repetitive side. Mods will definitely provide much of the longevity.
Final Verdict: 7.0
Teardown is available now on PC.
Reviewed on PC with an RTX 2060, Ryzen 5 3600X and 16GB RAM.