Do you remember the first time you demolished a house in Red Faction: Guerrilla? It was like the start of something new. The beginning of an era of games that would be more tangible, more physical and more fragile than ever. Of course, that didn’t happen. Games have largely focused on creating even brighter static scenes with crisper textures and ray-traced lighting. But thanks to a small Swedish developer, we have a window into this delightfully destructive alternate world – and believe me when I say Teardown’s window breaks just fine.
At its core, Teardown is a heist game. Each new mission gives you a series of computers to steal, safes to hack, or cars to dive into the ocean, challenging you to use a limited set of tools to smash your way into crime perfect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun little challenge – but it’s not why I’ve opened Teardown almost every day for the past year.
I play Teardown every day because breaking things never gets old. Teardown might be a voxel game, but Tuxedo Labs took great care in building its sandbox levels with realistic materials. Breaking a wall with a sledgehammer will chip away the plaster while leaving the harder masonry exposed.
It’s the closest (and safest) way for games to grab a sledgehammer and go to town on a run-down construction site. But this fidelity to life is not only satisfied by the materials. You see, Teardown is perhaps the best (and only) convincing argument I’ve seen for ray tracing. With every last voxel at risk of being thrown across the map, baked lighting wouldn’t reduce it – and while Teardown’s own ray tracing solution isn’t as taxing or as accurate as RTX, it manages to paint perfectly your rubble with precise lighting.
There’s a phenomenal feeling to seeing the light bounce through the hole you just pulled from a cabin roof. Tear the roof off a house during a storm and the furniture inside will become soggy, speckled reflections on their now smooth surfaces. Teardown may use voxels, but it uses them to create something quite beautiful.
shoot them down
That alone would be enough to make me stay. Tuxedo Labs itself has done a pretty good job of adding new tear-off maps, letting you slice up a riverside village and an urban mall with abandon. But over the past year, mod support has completely transformed Teardown from a fun oddity into a worthy successor to the king of physical sandboxes, Garry’s Mod.
Teardown’s base destruction can be improved. Do you feel like the fires are going out too soon? Download a mod to keep the flames burning for as long as possible. And while Teardown doesn’t track structural integrity (buildings will still “float” even if only one voxel is connected to the ground), there are mods to simulate this by causing explosions to cause chain reactions of damage. by shock wave. This is best seen on miniature city maps, where the collapse of a tower can reduce an entire neighborhood to rubble.
In recent months we’ve also seen mods that add completely new and bizarre game modes to Teardown. My favorite is Basilisco, a terrifying killer robot snake that floats through the sky with a piercing red spotlight. Avoiding this beast on a rain-soaked nighttime map turns Teardown into something akin to a survival horror game. You will hear a terrible scream and turn around to find what was once an apartment building is now a pile of bricks.
Tuxedo Labs even teased Teardown “Part 2” recently – adding more physical toys like ropes and thrusters, as well as some truly gruesome AI bots to stalk you through a map. I’m not just excited about how these will provide more opportunities to break down the base game – I’m excited to see what the community will do to grow and grow these tools.
Going to the Steam Workshop to see what’s new in Teardown has become a fun routine. I feel like I’m shopping around, but instead of planning a new recipe for dinner, I’m outlining what I want to crush this week. Either way, something is going wrong.