Here it is, the dream started by Red Faction: Guerilla, anger at Lego, kicking down a sand castle, all realised in glorious voxels. If you can see it, you can blow it up. Teardown delivers handily on the core idea that collapsing buildings is innately satisfying.
Sometimes all you need from a game is to be shown a building and given a sledgehammer. Then, you throw explosions in the mix. Treat yourself, grab that crane, pick up a car and swing it at that window. Teardown, for me, came alive in the sandbox mode where all you needed to do was ruin everything.
It does have a fully-fledged campaign, with intricate heist missions. The planning needed here is on the macro level, as it steadily ramps up the objective complexity. Punch a hole in this wall, place this car here. Bring the fire extinguisher. Race against the timer in a ballet of explosive parkour as you hurtle from one objective to the next to the getaway.
It’s fun, to a degree. It’s necessary for longevity, I suppose because not every player is happy to load up the game and become a one-person ball of random destruction. But it seemed to keep disguising the fun, the bones of Teardown.
Sure, driving a supposedly classic car into the sea is fun. Doing three against a sixty-second timer, is a little less so. But what was really, truly joyous for me? Taking that car, strapping twenty rockets to the back, and ploughing right through the foundations of an ornate mansion, watching it collapse as each structure was ground into dust beneath the wheels.
Sometimes you simply don’t care about whatever a game wants you to do. Sometimes, manic destruction is all you need. Give the monkey in your brain a little treat, grab the rocket launcher. Rain terror on architecture for the crime of simply being present. Marvel at how the pylons collapse with the sober grace of a felled oak tree.
And then you can jump into the mods! The glory of the grapple returns, and you can demolish it in even stupider ways. Personal highlight – pulling a truck through a chimney, and being sent flying the other way. Carry your own portable anti-aircraft cannon. Bring a dog!
Teardown’s gremlin-esque circus of destruction is just the tonic for the daily blues. Troubles melt away as the bricks explode in vivid detail. It’s the joy of pretending you are Godzilla amongst a grand Lego city, with none of the clean-up or residual guilt. It is the game of wanton destruction I have wanted since I first levelled an entire building in Red Faction Guerilla, or collapsed the floor under a sniper in Battlefield Bad Company 2. It is just a goddamn blast.