We can all get behind smashing stuff up as a fun little activity, to unwind, and unleash tension and pent-up aggression. And nothing is better than marvelling at epically detailed physics-based destruction in video games. Various games in recent years have tried and somewhat succeeded at the concept, such as Screamride, and while enjoyable in their ways, never fully unleash the enjoyable chaos due. Now enter Abriss, a game with a novel destruction concept where you “Build” to “Destroy”, sounding massively contradictory yet pulling off a clever feat of lateral thinking, planning and deduction with a healthy helping of fine obliteration.What is Abriss
Abriss is a highly atmospheric, isometric builder that tasks players will making various structures and contraptions to destroy very evil-looking buildings. Heavily demanding physics, limited resources, and a ton of ways to destroy various monstrous structures combine into a game where you have to think, live and breathe the notion of intelligent destruction. It’s all about building to smash, crash and lash out at evil-looking buildings with the most beautiful and creative means possible.
Throughout the campaign, players will be able to choose from various parts, and gear with different functions and stats to build contraptions to destroy. Do you keep it simple by making a massive leaning tower to knock over another? Or will you add thrusters and a bomb to make a lethal makeshift Rocketship. There are a ton of ways to play and to break stuff most satisfyingly.In a world where corporations rule …
Okay so there isn’t much of a story, and that’s all fine and dandy. But what Abriss does has a lot of charm, and style in the most beautiful abstract way.
Players will venture through seven worlds with several stages in each where the aim of the game is simple, destroy those big evil-looking buildings. Each stage is a hand-crafted symphony of destruction where you will need to use your brains and creative engineering skills to do the deed. However, things aren’t as simple as putting together a few bombs and thrusters (well, it is and isn’t), as you will have limited resources to do the task at hand, and must consider various elements of the environment, as the physics plays a massive part in your success or failure.
But build, conquer and destroy to be rewarded with new items to build with, making for more vastly complex and over-the-top designs that will destroy buildings ranging from towers, walls, gigantic spheres and mighty behemoths of epic portions.
As said there is no story, but there is plenty of style and rich atmosphere. It’s a minimalistic presentation, but this simply works in favour of the glorious destruction at hand. While I wasn’t expecting much regarding world-building, each world does have its distinct look and feel. Whether it be a world basked in hot air, sun and sand, or a cold, frozen wasteland where harsh winds and snowfall all the time. Or down to the creepy militaristic landscapes of “Death” and the noxious, toxic and ravenous-looking swarm lands of “Combustion”. They all look very cool, and only really compliment the fierce and highly detailed destruction at hand.
But each world also serves its parts for you to use, and gradually build the complexity of using these parts in a whole bunch of interesting ways. Be it with “Freaking Lasers”, bombs, Ejectors that can deliver said bombs, or massive magnets that pull apart those evil buildings. Variety is the keyword here and it fits perfectly for mentioning both style and gameplay.Build them up, tear them down!
You might be wondering “Patrick, is that it?”. And yes, that is the heart of the game, and the core gameplay loop of building and destroying may sound very simple, but it never gets dull! This is due to what I just mentioned, and that is variety. I loved just how many tools Abriss gave me to break s*** and all of them were magnificent in both destructive quality and usefulness. Never did I find something that I didn’t click with, and the time many of these items are combined, it’s a thing of beauty.
And the only thing to match the variety is the sheer scale of what you need to destroy. Never did bringing down a stationary building feel old, with the quality of the mighty booms, the senseless smashing, and at times the unpredictable nature of the physics always got me over the moon, knowing what I did was right and provided the most impact.
But along with this are the different kinds of tasks, that will keep your brain tested thoroughly throughout the lengthy campaign. With simple designs of building a pillar with a spinning laser on it, to making movable platforms that can deliver bombs across great distances. There are those tasks which adapt to your design skills, then there are those which require what feels like a proper engineering degree at times.
I will admit, some of these were incredibly tough and I consider myself quite the lateral thinker. But everything to succeed is dependant on the smallest details, so placing too much weight here or there, or placing a thruster one space too far will just result in instant failure. So trial and error plays a massive role not only for these moments but all stages (but more so in these instances and at times, they can become a little tedious). But Abriss does allow you to skip stages and entire worlds providing you have tokens that unlock any stage in the game (and these are pretty easy to come by). And, the game does offer a very generous hint system, so you’ll never be stuck.
But the pacing, and introduction of various components and the building complexing across each world will mean you will understand and know how to use all these various items, to make your contraption of destruction. And the best part is, once you’ve finished the campaign (or even before that), you can use everything you’ve learned and used in the Free Mode, allowing you to build and destroy whatever you want. The Endless mode is another great gameplay mode, which sees you facing off against an endless army of towers, where again you have limited resources but can earn more with creative and outstanding displays of carnage and demolition. There’s just a lot of destruction to be had here, in several cool modes from a great campaign that features a multitude of cleaver setups, and great tools, to the fantastic Endless mode which will test your lateral skills and endurance.
Everything here in Abriss is terrific, but if there were something I had to bring up as my only main negative, it would be the clunky controls and some odd bugs here and there. The controls are fine, but I always felt some form of jank, whether it be using the touchpad on my laptop, or even an Xbox controller. It was much better with a Mouse, and I get why, but it would be good for some tweaks for controller use to ensure improvements and less frustration. And there were a couple of odd moments when I completed a stage, destroyed everything but got a failure state. This only happened a couple of times, and maybe I missed something, but It’s very clear what you need to destroy, and, in these moments, I was certain I had done the objective.
Regardless of these minor flaws, Abriss is still a hell of a fun time and offers a ton of destructive content, a massive variety of tools to use, several interesting setups that change the way you have to think and execute your play and provides some cool bonuses with secret stages, and alternative game modes for you to experiment and just have fun with.Overall?
I can’t help but love Abriss and it’s a simple, yet highly engaging and entertaining sense of destruction and lateral gameplay. It’s a game which will surely appeal to everyone and offers enough content to keep you invested for dozens and dozens of hours. It has a cool sense of style, is easy to pick but challenging enough at times to get you thinking in the most creative ways on how to destroy and above all doesn’t weigh you down with needless mechanics or pretentious reasoning on why you’re doing it. Abriss is a massively fun, easy to enjoy, and highly approachable game that will get you building and destroying in the most meaningful, and amusing ways possible.
+++ The destruction is epic and massively detailed.
++ Great variety of tools for the job at hand.
++ Good combination of objectives and cleaver physics.
+ Other game modes and bonus stages to play.
-- Some levels are incredibly challenging when it comes to the game's physics.
- Some odd jank and bugs here and there
A review key for Abriss was kindly provided by the publisher for this review.