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Demolish & Build 2018 review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Developer: Ultimate Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Going into Demolish & Build (or, as it’s officially titled, Demolish & Build 2018), I had visions of destroying stuff Red Faction Guerrilla-style. After all, right in its description, it promises you can “(u)se big machines to demolish huge buildings or go close and personal and use your hammer.” If that’s not a pretty good approximation of Red Faction Guerrilla, I don’t know what is.

Alas, it’s not nearly as good (or as fun, or as well-made) as that. You do get to use machines to demolish buildings, and you can break up some stuff with a sledgehammer, but that’s where the similarities end. The destruction here is much more limited, as you’ll learn right off the bat, especially if, say, you immediately start whaling away on the nearest building the moment you start the game (spoiler: nothing happens).

Instead, the destruction is on a much smaller scale. You can bash away at toilets and sinks in a derelict washroom, for example — but only after you strip out the electrical wiring and remove the radiators. Likewise, you can tear down a decrepit old bar, but only after you first remove the chairs and knock out the windows. Safety first, I guess?

Even that small-scale destruction might be fun in the right circumstances, but Demolish & Build goes out of its way to be as boring and difficult as possible. Ostensibly, it’s a game about building (pun unintentional) a company from the ground up. You’re supposed to start your demolition business from scratch, with only a sledgehammer to your name, and then, as you gradually build up your reputation by taking on jobs and getting money through various side hustles like parking lots and rental houses, you can buy bigger and bigger machinery.

In practice, this means a lot of repetitive jobs at locations that are too far apart, driving a clunky car through a seemingly uninhabited town, trying to navigate using the least helpful map I’ve ever encountered in a game. The game rarely helps you out, and even when it gives you hints about how things are supposed to work, they don’t tell you much.

Of course, even when it does make it clear what you’re supposed to do, the game’s performance will make it a challenge to do it. The performance here is abysmal in every respect. The controls don’t work, and you’ll often be forced to go in and out of menus until the game finally recognizes that you’re trying to choose something. The draw distance is terrible, and you’re better off watching the little map in the corner of the screen than trying to navigate using the road in front of you, since it’s all popping in as you drive. And, to top it all off, there’s a massive mountain in the the middle of the town, and if you try to drive up it you’ll end up falling through the earth.

It’s the lousy performance that really makes Demolish & Build a game to avoid. If it was just a game about mundane business, that would be fine — the Farm Simulator series has shown there’s a lot of fun to be had in day-to-day tasks. But this game makes it a challenge to even do the mundane, which means you’re left with dull tasks that are a chore to finish. The only thing you should take a sledgehammer to is this game.

Ultimate Games provided us with a Demolish & Build 2018 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D