In my gaming simulator career I’ve built huge cities that have been the envy of the world, and have generated more wealth, health, and luxury than any modern city in the history of time. I’ve created railroads across America and I’ve farmed multiple fields in Germany. Hell, once I even successfully put out a load of fires at a very unlucky airport. But until now I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to take out some dirty old radiators from a horribly decrepit set of toilets and put them in a skip. Welcome to the glamorous life of Demolish & Build.
Demolish & Build is basically Construction Simulator but with a big difference, and that is that there is a big heavy dose of demolition practice thrown in. Yep, it’s not just about building things – it’s about tearing them down too. You start the day by choosing what your character will look like, from a bunch of generic gaming types, before finding yourself thrown into hard labour by your boss Mr. Getoworkov. You have to tear down an old casino first of all. What could go wrong?
This initially sees you armed with a trusty big hammer which enables you to smash small interior partitions down, or to break tables or even to smash windows. You see, in Demolish & Build you have to prepare the building for demolition and that might mean taking out objects like radiators or chairs, throwing them in the skip by picking them up and walking around with them. But that’s not all, and you may also have to snip out the electrics from a building or smash up old urinals and animal statues. Why? No idea, but once you complete a certain number of requirements on a percentage bar then the task is finished and, hey presto, you have some money in the bank.
Story-wise I can tell you one thing – Demolish & Build is no Charles Dickens, but I don’t think the narrative drive is that important for this game as it’s all about smashing things up and letting your frustrations out. What plays out sees you initially placed in a small dusty desert town in Nevada. You’re soon fired after the casino job and left to set up your own company with a friend. You buy these huge office premises and then it’s up to you to try and pick up jobs around town in order to gain some cash. This consists of driving to locations on the map which have a red ring around them, reading what needs doing and getting on with it. Sometimes you have the basic requirements for the job but other times will require you to go out and buy new tools or new machinery. Basically, you’re going shopping.
Thankfully there are some stores on the outskirts of town where you can purchase your first demolition vehicle of choice – the bulldozer – and take a test that a one-year-old child could pass, before being allowed to go and play with it. Now, instead of casually wandering around with a hammer, you can plow into old buildings that need taking down, destroying everything to your heart’s content. You do have to watch out for dust getting in the machine and also the health of your motor, but apart from that there is nothing better than the feeling of plowing through the wall of a building in a big yellow automaton.
As you progress and get more jobs they will all need different tools for the task at hand. As you gain money you can purchase cargo trucks, cranes with wrecking balls, cement mixers that will help you build, and even explosives to make the job a whole lot quicker. It’s a fairly easy setup and very simple to just pick up and play – even more so when you get more fame and fortune, hiring workers to do the jobs for you. And further to that, you can also purchase land, like car parks, that can earn you money while you partake in other jobs around town.
Demolish & Build has a very simple setup, and it’s most certainly not as in-depth as other sim games like Construction Simulator. Strangely though, at times it can be a lot of fun especially when you start smashing stuff around in the demolition parts. With four other areas in total to work through, that include a snowy forest area that is quite pretty, there’s a fair bit of content too. There is also the chance to collect scrap metal for extra cash and the ability to find gold nuggets around the maps, helping out your global building franchise.
But, for the little bit of fun it brings, this certainly isn’t going to challenge the new generations of consoles coming this winter for visuals. I honestly can’t see our old mate Ray Tracing ever being near the borders of this game. Instead the look is all a bit last-gen and quite like a mobile phone port. The towns are as empty as hell – except for some weird blacked-out-windowed cars that crawl around the streets like spies from a different dimension. Visually it’s all a bit strange in fact: airports look like prisons and the dodgy billboard adverts promote food that no one in their right mind would ever eat. And whilst the destruction element works well enough, there are times when your bulldozer will fail to make it over a few bottles on the ground, coming to a halt.
Sound-wise the effects are equally maddening – sometimes good and sometimes very, very, bad. Cars passing sound like large flies attacking, then there will be an odd sudden silence when you are working; a silence to ensure that everything is utterly eerie. The rock-based soundtrack when you’re driving around the towns is decent enough though, and I’ve been left humming the tunes quite a bit in my downtime from working.
For those who don’t play simulation games then Demolish & Build on Xbox One is not going to provide anything; it most definitely won’t let them see the light. It is however much easier to handle mechanically than most sims, with a much simpler setup. Further to that, the destruction mechanic allows it to stand out from the crowd. There is also loads of content included for the price, and it’ll probably appeal to sim fans who love the working grind and aren’t bothered by the dodgy visuals, terrible sound effects and strangely empty world. But that said, you can drive a bulldozer straight through a casino while rocking out. And honestly, do you need next-gen visuals for that?