Instruments of Destruction Early Access Review – Vehicular Buildingslaughter

Gare – Wednesday, March 9, 2022 7:02 PM
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Building new worlds is fun, and I’m sure many of you have enjoyed games that focused on managing towns, communities or settlements – one hut becomes two huts, then ten and twelve and before you know it, you’ve got your own little home base. City builders are all fine and good, but sometimes, you need something that taps into your basest, most fundamental human desire to lay waste to everything in your path and reduce entire buildings to a ruined, rubble-filled wasteland. Instruments of Destruction offers all that in a fun, frequently quirky way, and if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to level a building with the most insane – but somehow still functional – vehicles known to man, you’ve come to the right place.

Total annihilation

Now, one of the basic concepts of the game is that you can freely build your own destruction vehicle and then go to town on… well, the town. This is indeed possible, but anyone who knows me is no doubt aware that I struggle with anything that requires me to rub more than two braincells together, and so, after some fiddling around with the in-game builder, I decided to just use a pre-built vehicle. Thankfully, the developers included plenty of vehicles to pick from, and plenty more to unlock through gameplay, either by leveling up or by completing various in-game challenges across multiple levels. And boy is the variety satisfying. At first, you’ll be driving ordinary trucks with saw blades or spikes attached – pretty elementary stuff, really, and even I found myself wondering if this was all the game had to offer. But as you keep unlocking more and more things, the practice wheels gradually come off, and you’re introduced to the wild, wacky world of trucks with elastic frames (allowing them to bend to impossible angles), of vehicles with freely rotating appendages, tank-like beasts that fire cannonballs and/or bayonets, and even massive cranes with magnets. The list could go on – and I’m sure it will in future updates.

Variety’s the spice of life

As for your missions, each island you arrive on has you complete a “Normal” task at first, which will then unlock a Challenge – a very specific task that has to be completed with a specific vehicle. Once you do this, Expert mode opens up, with even more restrictive requirements to really put your destructive and/or truck driving skills to the test. This is where things get interesting: you’re usually not simply tasked with unleashing as much destruction as possible, although it does play a fairly prominent role. Instead, certain maps may require you to throw a set number of containers into the ocean, other may need you to destroy specific buildings without hurting others, and again others will have you carefully collecting tires with a crane magnet. These missions are always great fun, since they effectively highlight the versatility of the game’s different vehicles, and how the same goal can be achieved through a variety of different ways, depending on what playstyle you prefer; for example, you could even grab a bunch of heavy containers with a crane magnet and lug them around like a wrecking ball to quickly and effectively demolish buildings. Also, if you’re worried about framerate issues due to the intense physics involved in the game, don’t be: even on a somewhat aging machine, certain settings can be tweaked to make Instruments of Destruction run acceptably without sacrificing too much of the physics-based mayhem you’ll no doubt want to see.

No building left standing

There’s a lot to like about Instruments of Destruction, and what I’ve played so far is quite impressive, especially for a title still in Early Access. The large variety of pre-built vehicles to pick from allow those without a talent for building (*cough*ME*cough*) to enjoy the game as well, while the various challenge modes available on each map help keep things fresh and diverse. Your first foray into the world of relentless destruction may seem a tad slow at first, but as you complete a few missions and start unlocking The Good Stuff, you’ll no doubt come to appreciate all the wacky, creative ways in which buildings can be reduced to nothing but smoldering rubble. I know I did.

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