Abriss Review: A Simplistic Yet Addictive Puzzle Game

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The gameplay of Abriss is basic: you build a structure capable of destroying one or more vital parts of another structure. The more damage you cause, the higher your score will be. It’s completely physics-based and the completely destructible brutalist architectural structures can be quite satisfying.

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Gameplay

ABRISS Review: A Simplistic Yet Addictive Puzzle Game

I explained a bit about the gameplay above and I will expand on it here. This is the most important part of the game.

In Abriss, you have access to a few building components with which you can construct a building that is capable of destroying another building; most importantly, its vital parts. Depending on the structure you build using a limited number of parts, you may be able to completely destroy the opposing structure. The more you destroy, the better score you get; the highest score being 100%. You fail the level if you don’t manage to destroy the vital parts of the opposing building.

Very simple.

There are many levels set in each “world”, and you progress the game by completing each level and moving on to the next world. You also gain “Unlock Points” that allow you to unlock inaccessible levels. After successfully completing levels, you may gain Unlock Points.

There are different parts that allow for creative ways to complete the level, and the available parts are different in each level. As you progress through the game, you unlock more and more parts like hinges, bombs, rotators, and connectors that allow your construction to move. But if you’re able to create unique constructions that use as little parts as possible while also being capable of dealing massive damage, your score will be very high.

Accessibility and controls

ABRISS Review: A Simplistic Yet Addictive Puzzle Game

A simple game like this always should have a control scheme that is comfortable for the player. I played the game on Steam using my mouse and keyboard. You will utilise the mouse more than the keyboard. You can select and build parts using the left button; the right click removes a built part; holding the right click and moving the mouse allows for limited navigation through the level etcetera.

A few buttons on the keyboard are also used to undo moves or reset a level. These hotkeys allow you to quickly and comfortably control the game, and it’s great in regards to Quality of Life.

This simple control works decently most of the time, but I encountered some frustrating things about the top-down level display and building parts. For your structure to be fully capable of inflicting massive damage, you need to place your components precisely. However, the view of the level may keep you from precisely placing your parts in the correct places. In order to prevent this, I had to rotate the camera, zoom in, and make sure I had placed the block in just the correct place. Zooming in and carefully checking if each block and piece is placed correctly could mean the difference between a loss and a win.

While it is somewhat annoying to correctly situate parts, it’s not too much of a hassle once you get used to it.

Level Design

ABRISS Review: A Simplistic Yet Addictive Puzzle Game
There are some pretty beautiful levels in the game.

Unique and clever levels are essential for a game like Abriss. I believe the developers actually did a pretty great job here. Each level is progressively more difficult and every single level requires different tactics, putting your brain to work. Some levels are quite overwhelming at first because of their complexity and the lack of a straightforward way to destroy them—which is a really good thing.

When we talk about the appearance of these levels, there’s not much to say. But that’s not because the game’s not good-looking; it certainly is in its own way, but because the overall art style is very simplistic. The colour palette of almost all levels is dark and atmospheric. The structures themselves -or I should say- the futuristic buildings that you must build and destroy, visibly have the Brutalist architecture style.

Now that we’re on the subject of level design, let’s talk a bit more about the visuals of Abriss.

Visuals and Effects

As I mentioned earlier, the overall visual style is decent and there’s nothing much to complain about it. I wouldn’t say it looks extraordinary, but I really like the simplistic style. But where Abriss really shines is the destruction and super-satisfying physics effects. This is a physics-based game, after all, so you’d expect great quality in that regard. I can say that the game delivers greatly in terms of destruction and physics.

The destructible structures are mostly white in colour and any other structures in the vicinity that only serve as supplementary (and much-needed) environments always remain as solid as oaks. The way the destructible parts collapse with each other and how a seemingly little level of damage leads to a fantastic display of entropy never gets old. You can clearly see explosions, debris flying around and little details like embers as well. They really did great in this regard.

Let’s also briefly talk about the sound and audio design.

Music and Sound Design

The overall sound design of Abriss is as minimalistic as the game’s art style. I think the music is quite well-composed and it sounds rather atmospheric and sometimes even relaxing. It really fits the theme of a dark and futuristic world.

The sound effects themselves, though, sometimes sound a little muffled. I believe that this was an intentional design choice because the slightly muffled yet still hearable sound effects of structures collapsing and exploding really fit the overall atmosphere of Abriss. However, I found that the variety of music and sound effects is a little bit underwhelming. It’s in no way, mediocre, and is good for the most part, though.

Performance and Bugs

Now let’s talk about the overall performance of the game and its technical issues like bugs or glitches.

The system requirements of Abriss are very reasonable and I think many PCs of modern times will be able to run it smoothly. There aren’t many graphical options in the game. Instead, there are presets that suit various PC specs. I played the game with my GTX 1650 SUPER and the performance was stable and I saw a constant 60 FPS at all times. Even on older GPUs like the GTX 900 series, I believe the game will run more than adequately.

At the time of writing this review, I played the game for a few hours and unlocked a good number of achievements. Usually, I expect at least a few bugs when I play a game for the first time. But I only encountered one bug so far: a black screen with audio playing appeared after I finished a level and prevented me from moving on to the next level, and I had to force the game to shut down and restart it. That was the only bug I encountered so far, and I can say that the developers did a decent job in this regard.

The Conclusion

Now, let’s sum up some of the information we discussed above, discuss how fun the game is and the score.

Overall, the simple yet addictive gameplay system of Abriss delivers a fun, satisfying experience. However, despite being labeled as a physics-based destruction game initially, you’ll understand in hindsight that Abriss is, in many ways, a puzzle game that requires the player to think well, especially at late levels. Sometimes, you will need to build not a simple building that collapses on another structure, but a complex machine that will effectively destroy the opposing structure.

By all means, this game will be best liked by players who love puzzle games. While it does remarkably present the promised physics-based destruction, it’s not quite a simple game. It’s not very difficult, though, and figuring out the best way to complete a level can be decently challenging but not too easy and boring.

The most important thing that should be present in a game is enjoyability. Abriss is greatly enjoyable, especially for puzzle game lovers. I must say that the game can be somewhat repetitive, but it’s to be expected considering this is a linear puzzle game. This is a game with a simple concept and mostly simple mechanics but overall, the developers did deliver up to expectations. The best part of the game is, of course, the excellent destruction.

4 out of 5

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1671480/Abriss__build_to_destroy/