When you're having a crappy week, sitting down to a game like Demolition Inc. can really turn things around. Wrecking a few bustling city blocks at a time and sending massive buildings topping to the ground in a shower of flaming debris is a fun way to blow off some built-up steam. This cathartic action-strategy game lets you revel in as much blissful destruction as you can handle, but the light-hearted mayhem is far from mindless.
You play as a one-man intergalactic demolition crew who has just been awarded the winning bid for his latest contract gig: the annihilation and clean-up of the planet Earth. Awesome. Traveling from one city to the next, you get paid to thrash buildings to the ground, suck up the leftover garbage, and plant colourful patches of green grass on the land. The structures in each stage have to be levelled and cleaned up before time runs out and the army swoops in to put a premature end to your plan. Sweet power-ups like exploding cows and giant wrecking balls help speed things along and add variety to the process. While smashing stuff up is entertaining on its own, it's the strategic way you must tackle the puzzle-like levels that keeps Demolition Inc. interesting.
Historically speaking, dragging out the old death ray is the most effective way to rid of a planet's unwanted human inhabitants and structures. But what fun is there in just pushing a single doom button? Demolition Inc. favours the slower, more methodical approach. In most stages, the busy streets are filled with traffic that you'll harness for your evil aims. Dropping down different types of oil slicks lets you divert vehicles and send them careening into buildings. Other times you'll rig explosives for them to run into, take over the cars themselves with your tractor beam, or unleash a few cataclysmic meteors. There's a nice array of trap items to unleash on the city. They require some experimentation to use effectively, but it's a satisfying way to get the job done.
Wrecking certain buildings earns you extra items to play around with, but the limited resources at your disposal means you have to make every move count. The game's creative flexibility loses some of its sheen when you realise that any minor misstep on some of the later stages requires numerous restarts. Still, the game's physics engine is impressive to watch in action, and the spectacular chain reactions that can result from your efforts make it worth agonising your way through some of the more unforgiving moments.
At its core, playing around and getting your hands dirty in Demolition Inc.'s destructive sandbox is addictive. I could sit here and come up with weird ways to smash civilisation for days-on-end, except the game runs out of stages just as things get going. It's a short rampaging spree with limited replay value for its price tag, but the sheer fun of creating massive chain reactions and blowing the cityscape apart in creative ways is undeniable.