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Video Game / Teardown

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Teardown is a puzzle indie game by Tuxedo Labs, currently available on PC, ps5, and xbox s, has voxel-based graphics and a heavy emphasis on environmental destruction.

The game takes place in some fictional version of Sweden/Europe. You work for Lockelle Teardown Services, a family-owned demolition company. And right now, you are very much running low on cash. You take a shady job for a real estate developer, only to find out that you've illegally torn down a protected heritage building. Next thing you know, you're doing jobs for the local police department, while you're also doing more shady jobs for two different businessmen who have it out for each other (all while not knowing you're working for both of them), and an insurance company who wants to teach them a lesson as well. All the while, you're blowing stuff up and generally trying to figure out how to rob a place and get out of dodge before the police can arrive to stop you.

While not all the missions are in the "heist" format, it is the type of mission you will be doing the most - stealing or destroying every objective item and leaving before the police arrive. The objectives are tied to alarm systems that will immediately go off if the link is severed. This requires players to be creative when it comes to achieving their objectives. Fortunately, you have unlimited time to manipulate the environment and plan your heist, a quick save function so you can try again immediately if you fail, and you have plenty of tools at your disposal, starting with a sledgehammer, a fire extinguisher, and a blowtorch, and eventually you can get your hands on timed explosives and a rocket launcher by completing objectives and gaining higher ranks.

Ultimately, most missions will involve utilizing a variety of tools and even vehicles to establish an optimal route to achieve your objective, either by opening up more optimal routes, setting up vehicle positions for quick traversal, or even relocating objectives when possible.

There is also a sandbox mode where you can explore and blow up environments to your heart's content, including player-made environments.

The game exited Early Access on Steam in April 21, 2022, with twenty missions in five environments being available. Two expansions have since been released, a free update and set of missions called Art Vandals which deals with Gordon Woo's daughter helping the family with jobs, and a paid DLC called Time Campers wherein the player is sent back to the Wild West. Both add new maps and missions. Three more DLC have been announced as expected before the end of 2024.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: While not made explicitly clear, the mission to demolish the tower at Lee Chemicals mentions it's the 75th anniversary of the tower's construction. Since Lee Chemicals was established in 1922, it can be inferred that the campaign takes place in 1997.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The only way to break into the manor's impenetrable vault on Hollowrock Island is an air vent... which is big enough for a person to fit through.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: While some valuables (which are sold for money to upgrade your equipment) are on full display, many are hidden away in cupboards, attics, under desks, behind boxes, or in secret compartments between walls. It's not uncommon to blow up an area and unexpectedly find something shiny in the wreckage.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Amanatides's last few emails. Is he just doing a spot of Evil Gloating to the person he sees as his chief henchman or did he figure out it was you who has been breaking into Hollowrock the whole time and is taunting you with the fact you helped him set up his revenge on you? The messages can be interpreted both ways, though it's especially weird if he actually was planning revenge on the player since he also gifts them a tank for helping create the Truxterminator. Ultimately it doesn't matter if he figured it out or was Right for the Wrong Reasons since his plan has to be stopped either way.
  • Big Bad: Amanatides, the CEO of BlueTide, a company that produces a highly-addictive and dangerous energy drink. He eventually sends an AI-controlled truck bomb to blow up an entire town.
  • Big Good: The policewoman Parisa Terdiman. Out of everyone hiring the protagonist, she's the only one who doesn't have a profit motive or some criminal design in hiring a demolitions expert. She is breaking the law doing so, but only to get enough evidence to catch a bigger crook than the player.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Parisa keeps making you do 'favors' because she has evidence you destroyed a cultural heritage site in the tutorial.
  • Blowing Stuff Up: You get multiple types of explosives. This is a game about demolition. And the destruction is incredibly realistic, in spite of the seemingly simple visuals.
  • Boring, but Practical: Planks. Fully-upgraded planks are useful for patching accidental holes, building platforms, and creating ramps to help get to and from somewhere faster. They're almost essential for getting all the objectives in later levels.
  • Car Fu: Vehicles can be used for demolition, especially construction equipment. At least three missions even involve the theft or outright destruction of vehicles.
  • Construction Vehicle Rampage: Construction vehicles are effective tools for destroying buildings. However, they will still break after a time.
  • Cowboy Cop: A non-action version in Parisa Terdiman, who sees nothing wrong with blackmailing you to help her solve a tax fraud case she's been struggling with. Which leads into helping her build a case against BlueTide.
  • Crime After Crime: After taking a shady job out of desperation, the protagonist is roped into working for a Cowboy Cop (whose intentions are quite positive, but she is willing to recruit a criminal to steal evidence to acquire evidence against even worse criminals) and then several other criminals, committing escalating heists and demolition jobs.
  • Drop The Hammer: Your first tool is a sledgehammer. While it is limited in what it can break, its big advantage is that it's not limited by ammo as other tools.
  • Easter Egg: On the home-base map, after completing the "Truckload of Trouble" mission, the treadmill that was previously in the house for half the game and out in the garbage pile for much of part two can be found in multiple out of the way spots across the map, seemingly independent from the actions of the Player Character. This being a nod towards SMii7y, a YouTuber who posts occasional videos of the game, including a subplot depicting the treadmill as a sentient Companion Cube.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Gordon Woo, Lawrence Lee Junior, and Amanatides keep making hilariously wrong assumptions about who is making trouble for them. In the case of Woo and Lee, they are right (half the time) to keep accusing each other but not only do they keep hiring the guy who is breaking into their property in the first place, but the other culprits they neglect to consider are the police and the local insurance company.
  • Everything Breaks: Outside of specific types of rock and concrete (to prevent the player from breaking the environment entirely and drilling through the ground with explosives) and the vault in Hollowrock Island, you can functionally level everything to the ground in a variety of ways. However, you also need the right tools for the job - your sledgehammer is really only good for softer materials like wood, and while a blowtorch is a fantastic cost-effective tool to handle metal, it is useless against brick and concrete, requiring a more powerful tool, a propane tank or construction equipment.
  • Evil is Petty: One mission from Lee is to get a better time on Gordon's racetrack, just to screw with him.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Gordon Woo and Lawrence Lee Junior are both rather mean men trying to screw over each other. Woo wins, but only because Lee gets arrested by the police. Lee makes sure it's a Pyrrhic Victory in Part 2.
  • Game Mod: The game features an extensive modding API and Steam Workshop support, allowing for the creation of new tools/weapons, new maps, and in some cases even new gameplay modes.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive:
    • Downplayed with the nitroglycerin. While it will explode if you shoot at it or drop it from a moderate height, it's much more stable than what you would expect from it being nitroglycerin.
    • Played straight with most explosives in the game. Lightly nudge a table of chemicals, and the ensuing explosion will kill the player. Throw a gas canister and it carries a good chance of detonating.
  • Hand Cannon: The "gun" tool in a nutshell. If you fully upgrade it, it will punch rather large holes in virtually anything.
  • Heroic Mime: The protagonist never says anything. Their mother and contractors do, but never the player. This leaves it up to the player if they're not heroic at all, Forced into Evil to help supply their mother the money they need to keep the lights on, a raw mercenary who only cares about money, or any other interpretation.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • In one mission on Isla Estocastica you have to destroy a series of targets while being pursued by a guard helicopter that in turn shoots at you with guns and rockets. The helicopter isn't terribly accurate though so if you're clever or low on resources you can maneuver in such a way that the helicopter shoots the targets for you.
    • Amanatides gifts you a tank for your service which he leaves on Hollowrock... coincidentally on the same night Terdiman sends you there to clear it of robots. It's especially helpful for pushing the big Spider Tank into the water.
  • Homage: The final mission is one to Blast Corps, in terms of it involving a large yellow truck on autopilot with enough explosives to destroy the entire area that must be guided to a specific point to be safely disarmed. Though unlike Blast Corps, you can also redirect the truck itself (and more or less have to since its starting path includes some indestructible terrain).
  • Karma Houdini: Anton Wolfe never really gets punished for the crimes he has you commit, though he doesn't really get everything he wanted either.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: There are a variety of valuable items all over each environment that the player can steal for cash to upgrade their tools. Generally, you're already there to rob the place anyway.
  • Lighthouse Point: Hollowrock Island is a small, run-down port town with a lighthouse in the middle.
  • Made of Explodium: Propane tanks are useful early-game explosives that can be thrown.
  • Made of Indestructium:
    • Robots can't be destroyed no matter how much you throw at them, shrugging off rockets, gunshots, and bombs in equal measure. They don't do so well with being underwater though.
    • The caged vault under the mansion in Hollowrock Island cannot be damaged or cut at all. You have to find another way inside to get the gold bullion within.
  • Mundane Solution:
    • Anything that has its alarm attached to a vehicle or an existing physics object can simply be moved to a more optimal location, such as right by the getaway vehicle. If you can move the alarm box without triggering the alarm itself, you can likely relocate it. This is most prominent in the first Marina heist, where both main objectives are cars on the back of a trailer truck and a boat respectively. In fact, the boat needs to be moved period to allow the car to be driven onto dry land.
    • In "Insurance Fraud", half of the vehicles have alarms connected to other sources (the crashed Crownzygot to a diesel generator, the Cayuse to a platform, and the Gordo Pathtracer to a server rack) that can be moved.
    • In the mission where you have to throw safes into the water, to avoid triggering their water sensors prematurely, you can use the trailer truck out the front to haul nearly all of the safes around without exposing them to the rain. (Easier said than done, of course, but if you do it carefully it will make the heist a lot easier.)
  • No-Gear Level: Isla Estocastica only provides your starting hammer, fire extinguisher, and spray paint with the reason that you're 'on vacation' and the rest of the stuff couldn't get through security in time. You can scavenge small numbers of better tools on the island itself, however.
  • No Kill like Overkill: The truck bomb Mr. Amanatides sends to your mother's house has enough bang to take out the whole town since it's a mission fail if it goes off at all. You have to push it into the ocean to stop it from detonating.
  • Nominal Hero: Let's be honest, the player is basically committing a bunch of crimes in order to build up money to prop up their failing family business. Even the jobs working for the police involve robbery and hacking. The protagonist just works for anyone willing to pay them or to get out of trouble, usually for a previous mission. Fortunately, most of the targets pretty much deserve what happens to their property.
  • Notice This:
    • Targets have a white wireframe around them if you move close enough, which is also visible through walls.
    • Valuable items that can be looted have a pulsating light surface.
  • No Water Proofing In The Future: Quilez's security robots are bleeding edge technology with incredible damage resistance to small arms and explosives. The only way to destroy them is by submerging them in water.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The alarm will be tripped if the alarm boxes or anything the wire is attached to becomes loose, preventing any attempts by players to avoid triggering the alarm by carving large holes into walls or blowtorching away parts of vehicles. You can move the building it's attached to, but soon as the chunk with the objective falls off, the alarm is raised.
  • Playing with Fire: Largely discouraged. Outside of the very first mission, the player has to watch for and stop the spread of fires they end up causing as they destroy the environment for a very mundane reason - fire alarms, which are a bad thing to set off considering you're always trespassing.
    • The Time Campers DLC takes place before fire alarms were invented and buildings were mostly wooden, thus making burning down inconveniently placed houses viable.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • A lot of missions involve dealing with things that are hooked up to alarm systems, sometimes in the weirdest places. Even random power tools just lying around in the open. Naturally, of course, they become the targets of theft anyway. Apparently whoever is paranoid enough to hook up any remotely valuable items to alarms is more or less justified.
    • Escalates to guard robots later on, courtesy of Quilez Security. By that point, the player has robbed multiple locations that tried a lot of ways to secure their property and none of them worked, so they might as well use heavily-armed robots at this point.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: The Isla Estocastica missions involve starting with only the sledgehammer, the spray can, and the fire extinguisher, as the player couldn't get the rest of their equipment through customs. This forces the player to look for equipment crates across the entire island in order to have the tools necessary to complete the mission, and they also have to be wary of their limited fuel and ammunition.
  • Scenery Porn: Every environment may be in voxels, but every environment is also incredibly detailed in spite of that, and the game utilizes raytracing to provide incredibly realistic lighting and reflections. Even when this trope turns into Scenery Gorn once you start destroying everything, it's still gorgeous to see the destruction play out so realistically.
  • Serial Escalation: Half the jobs the player gets in Part I will be Gordon Woo and Lawrence Lee Junior trying to screw over each other, starting with Woo getting the player to steal some cars from Lee. Lee retaliates by hiring you to destroy Woo's fancy car collection, and it escalates from there. It gets to the point where Woo assumes that the destruction of the safes with insurance papers are the work of Lee as well, even though that was actually a job the insurance company hired the player for. Neither of them figures out that you're working for both of them or the police for that matter. Eventually this results in Woo hiring you to blow up the dam by Lee Chemicals, which completely floods the area. Eventually you need to stop a bomb truck from blowing up an entire town.
  • Sheet of Glass: Gordon Woo's villa contains a lot of glass surfaces. For a lot of buildings, it's easier to enter by breaking the glass wall than by going through the door, even if it's unlocked.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The shotgun is the player's first major unlockable tool. You never shoot anyone with it, but it is an excellent way to create holes in most materials.
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • The third Hollowrock Island mission and the third Isla Estocastica mission requires the player to hack a bunch of communication terminals and dishes for the former and to destroy a bunch of equipment in the latter. Unlike the heist missions, there is no 60-second time limit; an armed guard helicopter will arrive immediately and start scouting the area to kill any intruders on sight. Any cheeky player trying to shoot down the helicopter with a well-placed rocket or thrown explosive will be disappointed to find that projectiles will harmlessly pass through it, so the only option is to sneak around and avoid being spotted as much as possible as to avoid being gunned down. That being said, most of the time the chopper is hovering around your position even when it shouldn't know you're in the area, so usually you're just running from cover to cover trying to avoid getting hit as much as possible.
    • There are missions in Part II involving security robots. Almost all of them where you are introduced to them don't count, though getting spotted by them will result in them shooting at you, but "Ornament Ordeal" at the Evertides Mall has security robots that will trigger an alarm if they confirm the presence of an intruder. Fortunately, they don't detect you immediately, you can stun them with explosives, and they can't jump to higher levels.
  • Sting: The music abruptly changes to become more foreboding and alarming when Amanatides reveals he's planning to send the "Truxterminator" (aka the ridiculously explosive truck he's been preparing) in the direction of your mother's house, and you quickly find out that she hasn't evacuated.
  • Spider Tank: You have to deal with one in the last Hollowrock level. Its size makes it too large to drag like the smaller robots, but large vehicles can still push it around, especially the tank that Amanatides gifts you.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: After their several missions of Lee and Woo trying to screw each other over, Lawrence Lee is arrested on charges of tax evasion thanks to documents the player recovers and, after the flood, Lee Chemicals has no choice but to file for bankruptcy. Gordon Woo buys the plot and builds an amusement park called Racing Woonderland... only to also file for bankruptcy just before the grand opening, after the player is hired to vandalize the place. Woo got robbed multiple times as well, after all, and mentions his insurance company is not paying out any more; the insurance company thinks that Woo is trying to commit insurance fraud (after all the Lee missions destroying Woo's stuff) and cuts him off.
  • Tech-Demo Game: An indie example. Teardown is very much a game revolving around experimental and rather hardware-intensive technology despite its visual style, including voxel geometry, virtually everything being destructible, and also hardware-agnostic raytracing (which provides high-fidelity lighting, shadows, and reflections). It is deceptively state of the art in terms of visual rendering and environmental destruction, despite looking quite blocky.
  • Thunder Equals Downpour: The one mission where lighting occurs, it is pouring heavily. Unfortunately, it does not make it easier to put out the fires that occur due to the lightning strikes, which is bad, because you don’t want the fire alarms to go off while you’ve after your actual objective.
  • Time Skip: Part II of the campaign takes place six months later, with snow now covering most of the levels.
  • Timed Mission: The heist missions, once you trigger the alarm. You always have 60 seconds to complete your objective and get to the escape vehicle. There is an option to give more time before the police arrive.
  • Title Theme Drop: A slightly more action-heavy version of the title theme plays during the chase sequence in Fustrum. A remix also plays during the credits.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As almost any object is destructible, there is nothing stopping you from leveling the whole area. Provided that you can still achieve your goal.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The security robots with flamethrowers are the weakest by far. Being slow and short-ranged, they are really easy to outmaneuver.
  • Woman Scorned: The protagonist's second mission on Isla Estocastica gets noticed by an island employee. She agrees to forget about it by asking them to sink her boyfriend's yacht for cheating on her.
  • Wreaking Havok: To a greater degree than nearly every example as of 2020 other than the Red Faction series; this game doesn't have the same level of structural physics for buildings as Red Faction: Guerrilla, but it makes up for it by having significantly more variety in terms of things that can be destroyed in realistic ways, and not just buildings. If it can be destroyed, it becomes a physics object, even entire buildings can be brought down. Even certain parts of buildings will bend when parts of the structure are broken off.