Welcome to the wonderful world of construction management. In this action-packed session we will explore such riveting topics as Hammer Swinging 101, Real Estate Buying for Beginners, Contracts – Sheldon Isn’t the Only One Who Can Be Tedious, and Driving a Bulldozer Without Running Over Yourself.
Actually, the first thing you learn in this game is how to swing a hammer. You are dropped into a small town in the middle of nowhere, and you get to demolish some parts of an old casino. The controls are easy enough to use. You get the fairly standard arrangement of using the left joystick to move and the right joystick to change the camera angle. When you are driving your truck, the left joystick steers and the ZL will brake and reverse while the RZ will drive forward. Everything sound good so far? Most of the controls are “figure it out as you go,” as there’s not a lot by way of actual tutorials. The game will display your next objective in the upper right hand corner, but it is a bit small and not always clear about what you really need to do.
As you move around your small town looking for demolition work you may notice you can’t see very far. The buildings and terrain come into view only out to about a hundred yards; everything beyond that just looks like fog. Every now and then a car will drive by. The sound it makes is more like a tractor about to break down and is a bit annoying. Other than that, there is nothing else moving and not a lot in the way of buildings, so the effect is a bit boring and a little creepy, unlike in these busy construction screen captures grabbed from Nintendo’s website.
When you do get to work, it is easy stuff; just press A to swing your hammer at things. There is a small crosshair to let you know where the impact will be. The right joystick/camera angle can be used to line up on small targets. You don’t have to just smash things, you get to carry things and climb on things, too.
When you are done with a task, you will be given a new one by your business associate. They will tell you where you need to go and what you need to do. Remember the instructions because the in-game map is not very good at highlighting your next objective. If you press the + button you get a map of the area. There are markers to indicate your position and some other points of interest, but they don’t have titles or tags. There is, however, a short list of destinations on the right side of the map screen to which you can ‘fast-travel.” This is a handy feature, but the selection feature is a bit glitchy; when you use the left joystick to move to the next selection, the game does not always comply.
If you want to take a drive around town you are free to do so. There are roadblocks and a fence to keep you within the bounds of the level, so you can only go so far. If you decide to go off-roading the game is happy to let you get your pickup truck stuck in the hills. You can get out, “call a taxi” to take you to the airport, and “summon” your pickup truck to a “Parkings” location. It’s faster than AAA, so good one there.
On the driving downside, when you drive your truck though some shrubs, you can see the shrubbery sticking up through the bed of the truck. You can also see through the truck, your arm, and the terrain in too many places. The level of detail on the non-critical game elements is also on the low side. If you walk up to a building you don’t need to work on, the image looks like a skin from about 20 years ago.
Demolish and Build is visually dated, and most of the audio components are borderline annoying. The environment and execution of the first few objectives is sparse to the point of being a bit boring.
Having to endure all this before even getting to any of what should be the cool demolition vehicles was very demotivating, especially considering the performance issues along the way. That said, the remaining game points—like working out land buys, contracts, vehicle maintenance, and actually breaking things or building things—may be interesting for some of the more dedicated gamers who really like managing those kinds of details.
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