Ratalaika Games are the purveyors of throw away games with easy achievements, and their latest offering is that of Concept Destruction. Taking the discipline of the demolition derby, the premise of this game is faintly ridiculous. The ‘Concept’ in the title refers to the concept stage of a car’s design, where models are mocked up out of cardboard so as to give their designers an idea of what the finished product may look like. And the ‘Destruction’ part? Well, that is apparently how the car industry decides which models should go into production. I mean, sending a new car to market isn’t a cheap thing to do, so it totally makes sense that only the mightiest of cardboard models should make it. As silly as it sounds, strap on your cardboard crash helmet for the time of your life.
I’ve pretty much covered the whole story of Concept Destruction in the introduction, so we can skip straight ahead to how the actual game looks, sounds and smells. First off, the game is reminiscent of Micro Machines, with a cool set of levels all set on the good old tabletop. There’s a level called “The Lunch”, for instance, where the arena is made up of pizza boxes, complete with some leftover pizza, and another based around a miniature football stadium. In each, there are a multitude of destructible bits and pieces scattered around the level, and with rulers utilised as ramps and rolls of tape as obstacles, the actual design and layout of each arena is very clever. Specific arenas also have achievements tied to them, so getting out of the secret exit in “The Bulls” level, for instance, will see you unlock one of those glorious achievements. The arena-specific cheevos are usually for doing something that you wouldn’t normally do, so there is certainly the chance to experiment as you drive around.
The cars you are going to drive are a varied bunch. With weird and wonderful names and wildly differing stats, some will come across as fast but fragile, while others are slow but tough. Obviously there are also those which make the most of both worlds, sitting somewhere in the middle. Now, as you start the game, you don’t have much of a choice of cars. Basically, you need to play through the Championship mode, and when you score a certain amount of points a new car will unlock. You score points in the championship for crashing into enemies, and also for disabling the other cars, yet when one is destroyed it sits in the arena with a big red X on it; crashing into it from there on out will not gain you any extra points. But for those that are moving, crashing into the side or the rear of the other cars does the most damage, and every now and again you will hit a car so hard that you’ll knock its battery loose, smashing it free of its mountings. Picking this up – by running over it – will recharge your own battery a little, so if you see them on the field grab them. These are not vital, but there is an achievement for grabbing five, and if it lets you run your car just that little bit longer, where’s the harm?
Now while you are busy attacking other cars, they aren’t just sitting around waiting, and they will not only chase and attempt to crash into you, but will also have battles amongst themselves. And the way these cars look after a full-on crash-fest is weirdly cute, shedding cardboard panels and getting progressively more dented, to the point where you wonder how on earth they can move. Of course, if the punishment continues, they can’t! Without a word of a lie, I’ve had the front of my car so damaged that the front wheels were in line with the rear ones, and it still kept rolling. It didn’t steer, so I was easy prey, but I strangely found myself rooting for the little squished up bit of cardboard to keep rolling. Losing a wheel also makes the handling a lot more fun too – as you can imagine. Battles continue until only one car is left standing, or until the timer runs out, and at the end of all the championship rounds the car with the most carnage caused is declared the winner, presumably going on to a life of contentment as metal facsimiles of its design take over the world…
In addition to the Championship mode, there are also some single events that can be played. There is a battle mode which works exactly the same as that of the championship, except you choose which arena to fight in. This is a good way to learn where things are, giving a chance to practice your cardboard killing technique. Survival mode meanwhile is exactly what it sounds like – you again choose the arena, but this time every car is out to get you and only you. This is pure carnage, with little cardboard models actually driving over each other to try and get to your poor vehicle. Finally, Tourism mode just allows you to pootle around the levels while the other cars ignore you, although you can still attack them should you desire. And if you want to grab all the achievements, you definitely should. There is also the chance to compete in a bit of couch-based competition as well, as if a second player signs in you can go head to head to see who has the strongest bit of cardboard.
So, that is the sum of the experience on offer in Concept Destruction on Xbox One. It’s fun while it lasts, but apart from some interesting achievements to find and unlock, once you’ve done so the urge to play again evaporates like the morning dew in a blast furnace. It’s a fun diversion, but sadly it doesn’t last long enough. I fear this will suffer the same fate as a lot of Ratalaika Games titles – once all the achievements have been rinsed, it’s a one way trip to Uninstallsville. It’s a shame really, as the “Concept” does have legs. It’s just a shame those legs appear to be made of cardboard.