Immersion is often misunderstood. Most gamers think of immersion as some magical thing that occurs when the writing and setting and story all coalesce into something akin to a play or performance. Inhabiting a protagonist is not the only form of immersion. Sometimes a game immerses you by providing exactly what you need without knowing you needed it. The headlines lately haven’t been great, so is there a game that will immerse us in mayhem, destruction, and class warfare against the rich?
Yes, yes, and yes. Teardown from Tuxedo Labs is an innovative heist game that eschews stealth in favor of brute force. And if you don’t think it’s fun to trash some rich asshole’s car collection or demolish the industrial chemical plant they inherited from daddy, well, you’d be wrong.
Teardown is a successful mixture of Minecraft, GTA heist DLC, and the N64 classic Blast Corps. You’re the head of a small demolition company that’s fallen on hard times. To survive, you take contracts for less-than-legal demolition work and, often, some light theft. But instead of sneaking in and leaving without a trace, players must smash and grab all the loot in under a minute once the alarms go off.
The strategy lies in the unlimited prep time you have for each mission. The strategy is to survey the level and figure out what's in the way of you going from point A to B and then destroying it, literally. It’s so refreshing to do a heist where you can actually move fast and make noise. Demolition is crucial. Need to grab something valuable off a desk and get outside in a hurry? Smash a hole in the wall. Have a heavy safe to transport? Drive your dump truck through the wall to get it.
You’re only scored on how many assigned objectives you complete per level, so you can take as long as you want to explore levels. This has two advantages. The first is that you’ll find loot scattered about that you can sell for upgrades to your different tools. The second is that you get to absolutely trash some mansions. Sure you don’t need to spray paint a penîs on the priceless art on the wall or set the feather bed on fire, but damn it feels good.
The story progresses around a few wealthy one-percenters in a feud, each hiring you to get revenge on their rival only for the rival to hire you to get them back and so forth. Teardown does a great job of setting up what feels like victimless heists. These childish millionaires absolutely deserve to get trashed and it's a joy to be the one to do it.
The trashing isn’t as rudimentary as it seems, either. You get a lot of tools to help you design the escape paths that allow you to complete all your goals in the one-minute window. My personal favorite is the shotgun, which blasts through brick and leaves big, satisfying holes. You can swiss cheese a clock tower, go grab a crane and yank the whole mess to the ground. There are plenty of explosives, too. And eventually light sabers? Yes!
Teardown brings the fun of voxel sandboxes into a genre desperately in need of new ideas. It has a massive modding community too so once you finish your time with the main campaign you can find lots more to do in player-created levels too. It’s endlessly replayable, simple to learn and, pun intended, a real blast.
Teardown is available for PC.