STAFF REVIEW of Demolish & Build Classic (Xbox One)

Monday, November 6, 2023.
by Adam Dileva

Demolish & Build Classic Box art I don’t expect a lot from a game usually. As long as it’s got a good story, fun gameplay, some interesting mechanics, or is memorable, then I’m willing to overlook its shortcomings. That said, there are limits. Can you excuse a complete broken game because its story is good, probably not. Demolish & Build Classic is certainly memorable, but not in the way it was probably intended. As far as I can tell, Demolish & Build Classic is a port of Demolish & Build 2017 from PC, though it seems little to no effort has been done to improve the game or make it friendly for controller play. Who doesn’t love destroying stuff though? Maybe the gameplay can overtake its many shortfalls? Let’s find out.

After a brief phone call, you’re now the boss of your own demolition company. There’s really nothing else to it for a story, and you’re set off into the world without any type of tutorial. You’ll begin by taking a few contract jobs, destroying a few walls with your sledgehammer and earn some money for your troubles. You’re simply thrown into the game without any introduction of how to actually play the game. It’s going to be a lot of trial and error simply trying to figure out certain aspects of the gameplay because Demolish & Build Classic doesn’t make even the lowest amount of effort to show you how to properly play.

You can take contracts that earn you much needed cash to purchase new equipment once unlocked, but the campaign doesn’t progress unless you follow a specific checklist of things to do. You’ll have to do many of the side contracts though to earn the cash needed eventually. When you explore the map and come across specific job sites, you’ll be able to fast travel to them at any point, so it’s a good idea to drive your pickup truck around so you can quickly come back at any time when a contract opens for them.

You’re going to notice quite quickly that the world is basically completely empty. There’s a few cars on the road but they drive so rigid and on their preset path that they won’t know you’re in their way or stop for you, not that it really affects you even if you collide. The environment is bland to look at, and there’s nothing to really take notice of, and once you have all the places unlocked, you’ll want to simply fast travel as much as possible anyways.

Job sites will vary in their objectives, starting off small by demolishing some walls, maybe getting rid of some bushes with your bulldozer, or cutting pipes among other tedious tasks that you’ll do repeatedly. Each job you complete earns you some cash, and you’re also able to purchase certain plots that can be fixed up and earn you passive income, though at times these might need to be fixed up and repaired. This is where your hired worked come into play, as they can do some of these menial tasks, though there’s some they’re unable to do specific tasks due to not being high enough level, yet they don't seem to level up either.

You’ll start with a few hand tools, and each time you level up by progressing the campaign, you can purchase new ones that allow new contracts to open up for bigger payouts. The majority of your time will be in your varied machinery though. You’ll start with your pickup truck, simply used to drive around from site to site before you can fast travel to all the job sites. You’ll then be able to use a Bulldozer, used for flattening terrain or tearing down demolished walls.

You’ll unlock a Skid Loader, used often, and has different attachments that can be used to dig with or with a jackhammer to destroy poles and walls. The excavator is the larger version, used for digging, also able to purchase a jackhammer attachment to destroy walls, houses and bridges. The Cargo Truck will carry materials like wood or bricks to job sites, and the Dump Truck used to delivering sand or scraps. You’ll also get to use a Concrete Mixer Truck and a Road Roller for compacting sand and asphalt. Lastly and the most expensive that you’ll need to do many contracts for is the Tower Crane to deliver materials up at heights, and a Crawler Crane with a wrecking ball to destroy larger structures.

Machinery is tricky to use for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you’re not given any tutorial of how to control each vehicle. Nothing is explained, and when you run out of gas for the first time, you won’t have any clue how to refill it. When needing to use a different attachment, the same problem persists, as you aren’t told how to actually do so. You’ll use the Bumpers to tilt the buckets or move the arms, and the Left Stick to raise and lower the machinery as well. The problem is that the Left Stick is also used to steer our vehicle, so you’ll constantly be moving the vehicle instead of the arms and vice versa.

You would think that destroying a bunch of buildings and wall would be a blast, but the controls are so finicky and you have to be so precise with your cursor that it’s a constant frustration. Equally as frustrating is having to constantly battle against the terrible menus. The menus is where you’ll find the map, contracts, workers to hire, vehicle tab and more. The vehicle tab is where you’ll purchase and equip attachments for your vehicles, yet the game doesn’t tell you this.

I can’t tell you how much time was wasted simply trying to figure how to do what the objectives were asking. For a good half hour I couldn’t find out how to load the Cargo Truck with wood that the objective told me to do, so I brought my Skid Loader, eventually figuring out how to add the crane attachment since the game didn’t teach me this at all. No luck, I wasn’t getting a prompt to actually lift the wood stacks. Turns out I had to park the Cargo Truck on the specific spot but still couldn’t figure it out. I had to press ‘A’ when parked on the spot, which would have been easy if the game prompted that at any point. I had to actually look it up online how to progress and even the video I found had the person accidentally figured it out as well.

Nearly every tool and every machine is a frustrating chore to use. There’s some physics that will help along the way, like taking out the bottom layer of a wall causing the rest to collapse, but being that accurate is near impossible at the best of times. Using hand tools you’ll need to be aiming at just the right angle and distance, but you’ll miss your swings and cuts a lot. The same goes for using your vehicles, as it’s annoying to get your bulldozer stuck on a speck of dirt or corner of something, not something you’d expect with some heavy machinery.

I generally always try and see positives in things, especially in games, but sometimes it’s quite difficult to do so. The graphics look embarrassingly dated, textures are terrible, and objects don’t even line up along the ground where they’re supposed to. Skyboxes are ugly, animations basically don’t exist and it looks as though it’s from a mobile game from ten years ago.

Glitches are constant, and there’s even an annoying one where if you press the menu button while moving, it does this glitching back and forth that could easily make you nauseous. Then of course there is framerate drops and slowdown when there’s lots of dust or rain. Audio is no better. Most equipment makes no sound or has any feedback with the controller rumble. Music plays while in vehicles that you can change to a few different radio stations, which of course are terrible except for one, but sometimes also randomly just turn off for no reason.

I don’t like to be negative, but when there’s so few redeeming qualities, it’s practically impossible to recommend Demolish & Build Classic, even to those that enjoy playing bad games. Graphics are appalling, controls are even worse, and there’s really no enjoyment to be had when you’re constantly frustrated and confused because the game can’t take one minute to explain what or how to do anything you’re required to.

**Demolish & Build Classic was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 2.0 / 10
Gameplay: 2.0 / 10
Visuals: 2.0 / 10
Sound: 2.0 / 10


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