Let’s get this out of the way. Teardown is an absolutely amazing game.
The premise is this: You are basically a thief, and need to steal stuff. A lot of the things that you will be stealing, have an alarm system tethered to them. As soon as you disconnect the alarm, you have 60 seconds to get the gear, and get out. The challenge comes from levels which may have a number of items to steal spread across them, and only the same 60 seconds to get everything, and get gone.
What Teardown becomes then, is a puzzle game. You’ve got the layout of a level, and need to smash, move, and improvise a route through a level to get the objective complete and get your butt out of there. It’s predominately a game about destruction – you can destroy almost everything, and it looks spectacular.
Teardown feels a bit like a tech demo at first. The Minecraft-esque voxel style looks basic at first, then as you see things smash and crumble, and explode and pop, it is incredibly impressive. On PS5, it runs smoothly and the results as you begin to experiment from smashing holes in wooden doors with your axe, to driving a crane through a building help open up your mind to a whole range of possibilities.
Here’s an example. An early level has you ruin 5 expensive cars that this chap owns. You need to put them all into water, and his house is on the cusp of the lake. The catch is that whilst you only need 2 to pass the level (all 5 to fully complete it), as soon as you move one, the alarm sounds as they’re all tethered to a security system. I ended up managing three, smashing one into another, and then a truck into those (via a path I’d cleared previously) and then dumping the final one on my escape route in a swimming pool, but I’ve no clue yet on how to manage the other two.
More tools give you more room to experiment. Blowtorches can help things burn down, and planks can help you make impromptu routes where perhaps you have done a little too much destruction, or just need to bridge a gap for a quick exit. When the dust settles (and it will, eventually, but there will be a lot of impressive looking dust) you will marvel at your destructive results.
What gets more impressive though is the mod pack – supported on consoles! At the moment limited to set packs, the fact that things are moving over from the PC community is great news for the longevity of the game. Vacuum cleaners, dogs and hook shotguns are already available, and they change the game in ways you can’t really get your head around until you start playing with them.
Teardown is a bit unlike anything I’ve played before. A destruction, puzzle, heist ‘em up, it’s interesting and exciting. Despite the chaos, it’s oddly relaxing too, at least, until the alarm sounds.
Reviewed on PS5