Bang, crash, wallop. The sounds that all adrenaline motor heads love to hear. The crowd roars with delight as cars smash into one another, with only one aim in mind, and that is to destroy the opposing vehicles, while somehow surviving the onslaught yourself. As your car becomes damaged beyond repair, and the sound of crumpling metal rings out into the surrounding air, the fight or flight instinct kicks in. Attack, or be attacked. In Concept Destruction most of these parts are valid, well all of them except the crumpling metal as your car is a recyclers dream, and is made out of cardboard boxes. Developed by Thinice Games, and published by Ratalaika Games, this cardboard infused Destruction Derby has you driving a number of different vehicles around different venues. The aim is simple, destroy and maim anything that moves.
The game consists of several modes; The Championship that is made up of 8 different races, Single Event, this has 3 sub categories; Normal, Survival, and Tourism, and finally The School, this has 3 tutorial objectives that help to lay out the foundations of the game premise, and control fundamentals. Each race has 15 competitors, as you hit and destroy the opposition you’ll gain points. The racer with the highest score takes the crown for that stage, if you happen to have accumulated the most points across the championship, well, then you’ll be declared the winner.
No matter which mode you try to tackle, you will be asked to compete at the same venues; Stadium, Arena, Rooftop, and Plaza. Each has a unique design, and its own specific attributes. You are given the opportunity to utilise the environment to your benefit. If you are being chased, quickly hide between two buildings, or jump from one rooftop to another. If you happen to be the one who is on the attack, then find the edge of the map and shove them over, or ram them repeatedly into posts and buildings until the can’t take any more.
The main game premise is obvious, and very simple to follow. What the developers have done well is to vary the gaming mechanics when it comes to each different type of vehicle. You can chance your hand with the small, weak, but agile hatchback. It’s great for dodging attacks, but light on the offensive. Next, you have the family car, this all rounder is a bit of a Jack Of All Trades, and is the best option for anyone starting out. Finally, you have the big boy, the “Chelsea Tractor”. This mammoth beast has a mighty attack, and strong defence. It is also slow, cumbersome, and has the turning circle of a tanker. The ability to select different vehicles was a nice touch, and though winning the championship wasn’t particularly difficult no matter what car you chose, the variety of gameplay styles helps to keep things fresh, and prevented the title from getting boring too quickly. Concept Destruction isn’t played out in a 2D tabletop perspective, I was soon making note of the similarities between it and Micro Machines. The real life settings, and the items lying around which act as both obstacles to avoid, and jumps to leap over brought back memories of me trying and failing to beat that Mega Drive classic.
When, I first switched the game on I really didn’t like the graphics. It all appeared blocky, outdated, and well, beige. For me graphics aren’t everything, so I put my thoughts to one side, and got on and played. As time went by I started to notice clever little touches and details. All the buildings are also made of cardboard, and when you look at them side on, you can clearly see the layers of paper that make up the structure. These details went further with the designs on the vehicles. The pen strokes look like a child had created them, they were charming and fitted the theme surprisingly well. The arenas where the action plays out are well designed. Different sections work to the strengths of each of the vehicles, so it’s up to the player to work this out, and play the venues to their advantage. One area that I would have liked to have seen enhanced would be the custom options. The only thing you could do was to change the car and its colour. It would have been particularly good if we could have created our own designs, and carried on from where the developers had left off.
In a game where everything is about destruction and chaos, where the victor is the person who has created the most pain and misery, you’d expect an aggressive and upbeat heavy metal soundtrack. Thinice Games have again delivered on this. A high tempo, angry, and loud soundtrack ensure that the adrenaline is pumping, and that you want to smash everything in sight. The sound of crushing cardboard was a little strange to begin with. Instead of a high pitched squeal of metal on metal, you endure a deep thud as the cardboard bodies slowly crumpled in on themselves. It was a little odd, but it all added to the quirky charm.
Though each vehicle does have its own set of attributes, they all still handle terribly. Acceleration in both forward, and reverse gear is painfully slow. If you fancy turning, you best prepare at least 10 minutes beforehand. Now these are things that you do get used to, and for me though it started out pretty annoying, it ended up just adding to the retro charm. The driving school should really be your first stop, from here you will learn all the basics, and you will have mastered the art of crushing cars before you have even driven at one in rage.
If you hunt for achievements, then this one should really be on your radar. You can have it completed in well under an hour without breaking a sweat. This then leaves the question “How much replay factor will it have?” With the Championship mode being so short, no option for a career, and everything technically being finished in under an hour, you’d probably say there isn’t a lot to come back for. At the time of this review, the multiplayer option was greyed out, and not available. If it had been, then I believe this would have added a considerable amount of replay factor, as long as there were enough people to play that is. It is fun, and to keep it on your hard drive for some mindless destructive mischief wouldn’t be a bad shout, especially if you are looking for a casual game to fill the time.
Destroying other cars is never going to get old, no matter how many times you do it, and whatever guise it appears. The fun twist of making everything out of cupboard gives this title an unusual and unique twist that really works. Once you spot the finer details in the world around you, you will appreciate all the little bits of charm that the developers have squeezed into this title. The audio works particularly well, even though I accept that it won’t be to everyone’s taste. The big drawback to this one is the lack of depth and custom modes. If Thinice Games had expanded the Championship mode, and allowed for car design, then I think that this would have increased its longevity. Would I recommend this? Yes, but just be mindful that it’s particularly short, and is just effectively mindless fun. Can you flat pack the opposition in this cardboard infused Destruction Derby? Jump in your car, and give it a try.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Concept Destruction Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 5/10
Fancy a novel way to compact all your cardboard? Turn it into a car, and try your luck in this paper based Destruction Derby.
- High tempo, and angry audio puts you in the mood to destroy things.
- The small details bring the game concept to life.
- A fun and quick causal gaming experience.
- Ideal Gamerscore hunter game.
- Cars do not react to the controller input very well.
- Not in depth enough.
- Not long enough.
- No multiplayer mode at the moment.