Switch version tested
Review code provided
Let’s not kid ourselves: Concept Destruction is the origami version of the classic Destruction Derby, out now on the Nintendo Switch. Have you have played the aforementioned PlayStation classic? It was precisely that – a classic. There’s weren’t any other titles about that were remotely similar at the time, unless you played Days of Thunder as if you were the equivalent of a racing troll; crashing into your fellow racers just for the sake of it. Shame on you.
Concept Destruction starts as a nice concept (that’s not clever wordplay, let’s be literal here). When a car design is conceived, it begins with the idea, the blueprints; then it’s made out of clay to identify any design modifications before it goes into production. All very interesting, and if the game was the equivalent of Clayfighter meets Destruction Derby where you could potentially stick to your opponents, then it would have been a blast. Instead, you play cardboard equivalents of non-licensed vehicles in a free-for-all with the last man standing. Simply drive around a Micro Machines type environment and smash your opponents into smithereens to take the crown.
The idea isn’t a new one, but introducing cardboard equivalents is an interesting one, and the collisions are pretty decent. Head full speed into another car and the front end crushes up as if it were an egg box. It’s incredible how some of these vehicles keep ticking over. The actual physics of these cutouts are pretty good, and you have a choice of a wide range of unlicensed cars at your disposal. Tearing it up on these make-do tracks is pretty fun, but it does become a little repetitive early on, and the game penalises you for not staying in the action. Granted, it’s the last man standing so if you apply the strategy of staying out of harm’s way, you’ll stay until the end, right? Yes, that’s a perfectly reasonable strategy, but it’s cheating so after a while, a countdown will pop up after any lack of activity, and you’ll be disqualified. A good idea, but there are so many times where you’re desperately trying to find the other players and then line up your path, so you end up crashing into them. As you’re such a small vehicle in a vast open space, it’s harder than it sounds.
There are three modes to choose from: The Championship, The Single Event and The School. The latter is a tutorial (not that you need it) and the other two are self-explanatory. The premise is to survive the deathmatch first of all, but also to accumulate enough points. While you can stay in the game by doing just enough to clip opponents before the timer pops up, you’ll want to get as many ‘kills’ as you can to come up on top. One strategy for this is to allow the AI to get another vehicle pushed up against a wall, then driving into them full speed to take them out. It’s an easy option and keeps you in the match and on the leaderboard, though it’s just one of many possibilities. The AI is quite aggressive, so you’ll need some defensive strategies too, making use of the environments for your escape. My personal favourite was using a ramp to get onto a building and either wait for the other players to miss the jump, or ramming them off once they landed. It’s a cheap trick, but you can’t cheese it forever as you need to engage with the other drivers; otherwise, that timer will pop up.
Speaking of other drivers, there’s apparently an online mode which wasn’t accessible for this review, but the local multiplayer was, and it was… ok. No lag or anything like that, it just doesn’t add much to the excitement. Concept Destruction is an excellent looking game, and I have to say, I much prefer the raw cardboard with crayon-like lines than the coloured version of the case, but the overall gameplay is a little monotonous. It doesn’t help that the controls are a little bit difficult when it comes to steering, unlike say another driving game such as Super Street Racer. As mentioned more than enough times in this here review, the countdown of inactivity crops up a little too much. This isn’t down to half-arsing it and avoiding all sorts of contact (that’s the point of the game, and you’re awarded for destruction), but locating those drivers and then crashing into them can be quite hard.
My guaranteed experience of contact was staying still and waiting for the other drivers to crash into me. The obvious downside to this was taking one too many hits. This was especially evident if my opponents were far away as that allowed them to get enough speed up to do a significant amount of damage. That said, when even I was on the tail end of a game, it wasn’t because my car was destroyed, more likely because I couldn’t connect with the other vehicles through the dodgy driving. If the steering was a result of a massive crash, that makes sense, but as soon as you start, the control of your car is a little bit on the weak side.
When Destruction Derby came out, I, like many others, was blown away. It was a concept not exactly common with driving games, and the collision damage was terrific. That was decades ago, however. While Concept Destruction isn’t dated as such, it does lack a little in the gameplay department – which is a shame as the idea of driving a crushed cardboard vehicle on a Micro Machines-like terrain is a good one.
TBG Score: 6/10
Platform: Steam, Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation
Release Date: 22/05/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Racing, Action, Arcade
Developer: Thinice Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Download link: eShop