Let’s face it, there’s something utterly satisfying about demolishing or breaking things. Now, most of us probably haven’t demolished an entire building with a bulldozer, but we might be envious of those who do. So, when I saw an opportunity to jump into that role with the new Nintendo Switch game entitled Demolish & Build 2018, I was ready to break some things! Would the game live up to my demolitions expert fantasies?
After getting fired from your construction job, a friend reaches out to you for a new job opportunity, and the next thing you know, you’re in the construction and demolition business of your own! Demolish & Build 2018 is classified as a construction simulator, and you’ll quickly be tossed into the shark tank of running this new business venture.
Equipped with a trusty blue pickup truck, and a sledge hammer, you’ll be off to your first contracts, where you’ll be smashing old toilets, breaking down walls, and taking trash out to a large dumpster. It’s a dream job! Ok maybe not, but it doesn’t take too long at all to unlock your first real piece of machinery, the bulldozer, and then it’s onto demolishing abandoned bars and other derelict buildings.
Gameplay consists primarily of you building up your construction business by taking on contracts, doing various errands, and if you so choose, buying & selling trade goods to make some profits. The climb to the top of being an industry leader is extremely slow. You’ll spend many of your first hours of play just performing menial tasks that quickly become repetitive. Unfortunately, within those first couple of hours, you’ll also learn the game’s many flaws, and lack of quality.
Graphically this game is rather poor. I would compare it to a game created in the mid to late ‘90s at best. The draw distance is masked with fog and is barely a few car lengths out ahead of you, and you’ll see pop-up occur at every moment driving around. Texture resolutions are insanely low, combined with the fact that since most buildings are meant to be destroyed into chunks, you can actually view the break-piece lines before a wall or object has been smashed. All of the game’s geometry is also abysmally low polygon, and not in that fun, creative way. This could have been a launch Dreamcast game and even that might be giving the game too much credit.
Now, I’ve played fun simulation games that don’t look great, but still simulate what they need to properly…however as soon as you unlock the bulldozer or the backhoe for example, you’ll find that these vehicles don’t adhere to physics! The massive arm on the Backhoe will wobble about like a noodle, breaking out of its rigged constraints just by moving the cab left or right. The bulldozer suffers from the same broken physics, as if you even so much as tap lightly on an object with the blade, the entire thing and its shock absorbers will wobble about unrealistically and nearly comically. I hated to see it, but it reminded me of playing Surgeon Simulator but with construction vehicles. The difference is this game isn’t trying to be clever or funny. It’s just bad.
Regrettably the problems don’t stop there, and you’ll find many more areas of annoyance. The game offers a map system, however during gameplay, the mini-map often isn’t properly aligned. I would be driving along on a road towards an objective, and the mini-map would show me off driving in nothingness. It’s also hard to utilize the actual map in the Pause screen due to clunky navigation controls.
The game also fails to provide any really clear objectives short of something along the lines of “Reach Company Level D”. You’ll find hints around the map as you drive around as to what you can do in the game, but this doesn’t provide enough clarity as to how well you’re doing or the progress you’re making. A graph in the options menu is provided, but again with almost no context as to what it means. I found this very confusing myself, as after half a dozen contracts completed successfully, I had no idea if I was progressing well or not.
Also, surprisingly, the game semi-frequently suffered performance problems and jittering while playing in handheld mode on the Switch. This astounded me quite a bit given the game’s low visual fidelity. Audio was another downside in that most of the time you’ll just be hearing a droning engine noise from what appears to be vehicles passing by on a road (although many times there was nothing nearby).
Demolish & Build 2018 actually feels and looks like a game well suited for VR, and after seeing it on the Nintendo platform, I went to check if this was in fact a port of a VR game, but that didn’t seem to be the case. There is still something slightly satisfying about smashing buildings with a crane or some other piece of heavy equipment, but there’s just not enough to keep you engaged for long amidst the game’s glaring shortcomings. You’d be better served hooking up a Nintendo 64 and throwing in Blast Corps.
Demolish & Build 2018 Review
- Graphics - 2/102/10
- Sound - 3/103/10
- Gameplay - 4/104/10
- Lasting Appeal - 4/104/10
Final Thoughts: BAD
Demolish & Build 2018 tries to offer something in the simulation genre that would appeal to many players, in that you can be a demo expert and blow up buildings, smash objects, and then do some replacement construction. Unfortunately, the game falls short on creating a realistic simulation, combined with pretty rough visuals and audio, and confusing progression and secondary gameplay systems. The only demolishing I’ll be doing at this point is removing the game from my Switch.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.