It’s easy to log out of Teardown just as a tech demo. A simple framework of maps, tools and missions designed to showcase the incredible voxel destruction techniques of developer Dennis Gustaffson.But in 18 months of Early Access, Teardown proved itself not only as a stunning display of technical prowess, but also as a bloody little heist and The most creative sandbox platform since Garry’s Mod.
Teardown is first and foremost about destruction. It’s a game of wooden shacks, concrete walls, metal walkways and plaster corridors – all of which respond appropriately to being wailed by a sledgehammer. Despite its blocky appearance, Teardown’s world breaks down in convincing fashion. When supports are removed, metal pipes bend and snap, while plaster walls flake off, revealing stronger brick walls that kick up dust as they collapse.
I thought it would be interesting if Teardown provided just a set of context-free levels to smash. But the genius of this game is how it brings a method to this madness – from this set of materials and environments, how Teardown’s campaign lets you use a limited set of tools to complete it through a series of devastating heists Task. Sure, you have infinite hammer swings, but that won’t get you through brick walls or fenced windows – while you’ll slowly unlock an array of blowtorches, shotguns, bombs, and rocket launchers, they’re for limited.
In the early missions, you’ll use these tools to draw a route on a blank map, running the route quickly to collect valuables before the alarm timer goes to zero. It’s a pretty simple quest, but it’s very satisfying for forcing you to think about your carnage. It won’t be long before Teardown has new twists – from fire alarms that require you to extinguish any stray sparks, to attack helicopters carrying rockets.
Teardown first launches halfway through its campaign, and those early missions might feel a bit the same. But with the arrival of Early Access, Gustafsson got more creative with the game’s mission design, leading the game to reload more interesting challenges into Act 2. Suddenly, you’re dealing with car chases, tornadoes, and killer robots, and Teardown’s engine-destroying spectacle really comes into full play.
Look, even though Teardown is a voxel game, it’s absolutely stunning – that’s probably the only convincing argument I’ve seen about ray tracing in a game. The dismantling would not have been possible without light passing naturally through crumbling walls, filtering through dust clouds and reflecting off rain-slipped pebbles.When a building collapses, it really downcollapsed in a puff of smoke, broken wood and broken glass.
As an event, Teardown is a fun experiment with plenty to stimulate, framed by a lighthearted story about a contractor who keeps getting hired by the same feuding businessman who, honestly, should all Let their toys be smashed. The Chase Side – Shows and optional objectives give you more cash to upgrade and unlock new tools, and give you more excuses to revisit your possibly unfinished demolition work.
Each completed mission also sees your mission center slowly transform from a rundown warehouse into a lovely family home, and your stealth demolition specialist manages to build something new from all this destruction. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from driving a truck through your new home, but it’s a nice touch.
Having said that, I’m not sure these robberies alone will keep me coming back month after month. Instead, Teardown’s true, lasting lifeline can be found in its modding community, which has absolutely exploded since the game’s 2020 Early Access debut. Tired of its nine maps? There are dozens, if not hundreds, of them on the Steam Workshop, from entertainment in the Counter-Strike Arena to small entertainment in New York and photo-scanned train yards.
Sledgehammers are fun, but why not head into town with a laser rifle, minigun akimbo, or portable black hole to these new destruction locations? The portal-style test chamber comes with a working portal gun, but if it’s going into your head, you can always fire a bazooka through a hole on one side of the puzzle.There are mods that turn those pesky attack helicopters into scary robot dragon Chasing you mercilessly on dirty Russian streets.
The modders even tinkered with the way things were fundamentally broken. The failure of Teardown does not take into account structural stability or tension, which means that the entire building is usually supported by a single voxel. Various modders have tried different approaches to this problem, breaking objects in flight or linking destruction to create more believable building collapses.
This is reminiscent of the best part of Garry’s Mod, scouring the Steam Workshop every week to see what new crap I can add. Smashing stuff is a joy, and there are enough new things to smash on the workshop to keep me busy for years to come.
The only real regret is Teardown’s complete lack of multiplayer. While I can understand the programming nightmare of trying to synchronize thousands of exploding voxels across multiple clients, it’s easy to imagine all kinds of new improv games that could emerge from Teardown’s foundation.
Because the foundations are truly incredible. Teardown isn’t just a tech demo – it’s a window into a world where game worlds can only become more dynamic, more physical, and more fragile. A world that sees Half-Life 2’s physics and red factions: Guerrilla’s destructible architecture and doubles down — instead of going for higher graphical fidelity and an increasingly static world.
Teardown is a game that gets excited about its technology and wants to show you all the ways it can break things. It’s a fantastic series of heist puzzles, a never-ending series of new worlds and new tools to break them all. But most importantly, Teardown was really just a great time.