Implode! XL

from , originally released 31st December, 1969


Implode! Hands-On Preview

Studying a chalkboard blueprint, thoughtfully placing explosive charges, and pressing the plunger’” these are the three simple steps to blasting through 60 levels of carefully controlled detonations in Implode!, an upcoming demolition game from IUGO. Well, that, and watching every building cave in on itself.

Each stage consists of a chalk drawing of a building you’re supposed to bring down, and a handful of dynamite that you can place on certain joints. When you press the big button, the dynamite will pop out a tiny section of the beam you placed it on, hopefully causing the structure to collapse. A dashed line tells you the goal for the height of rubble you’re meant to leave behind.

In later levels, you’ll also get barrels of powder, which blow out the beams more forcibly, and nearby buildings which can’t be hit at all by the debris. You’re also rated from D to A+ based on the amount of explosives you use and the final height of the rubble.

We had a lot of fun burning through the levels on casual mode, which is less picky about how complete your demolition is. With this much freedom, we didn’t have to be too careful with how we placed the bombs; we could just set them up willy-nilly.

On veteran and advanced modes, though, you have to bring every structure even lower to the ground, requiring a bit more planning. The advantage, though, is you earn bonus points on the harder levels, which will push you closer to an A+ rating. At the end of the game, you can upload your total score to online leaderboards.

The build we had was basically complete, so you can expect to see Implode! on the App Store shortly, followed immediately by our review.

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Implode! Review

Physics toys are certainly not a rare bird on the iPhone these days, but seldom are they as good or as fun as Implode. The core mechanic of blowing up buildings with strategically placed bombs is very satisfying and is one of the best, most natural uses of physics gameplay we’ve seen.

It’s not just the blowing up of the building that makes this game fun. It’s the interesting challenges that force you to think about how you’re going to blow up these buildings with a limited supply of explosives, and the architectural obstacles you’ll face. Figuring out how to precisely drop the building is half the battle.

It’s a truly awesome sight to behold when you blow out the supports of a building, and then wait as the building doesn’t initially fall over, but merely betrays a tendency towards one side. Then one by one a chain reaction of pressure takes place that just slightly moves a supporting beam, and then slowly the building lurches over until finally breaking apart during its decent. It’s when the process of a building collapse slows down like this that you can see all of the intricate details working together, and understand just how complex the whole process is.

We won’t feed you, but we will blow up your house.

The early levels are basically a tutorial for the different ways to bring down a building. Some buildings can be toppled to the side, and others should be collapsed in on themselves or just blown apart completely. The game really hits its stride when nearby buildings are introduced. If the wreckage from your building hits one of these buildings, you fail, so you have to use controlled demolitions to take the building down in just the right way.

Each mission is challenging for an attempt or two, but once you’ve experimented a couple times it’s pretty easy to figure out the best way to bring them down. It’s unlikely that any of these challenges will take more than a few tries. That’s really one of Implode’s biggest problems: The levels are really just a bit too easy.

The real fun of the game comes from challenging yourself to use fewer and fewer explosives in each demolition, because otherwise there isn’t that much challenge. The game will probably be finished by most people in an hour or so, with another hour if you choose to go through on harder difficulties which force more precise explosions. That said, physics toys by nature hold great replay value.

The zoom feature aids your destruction.

The other issue is that while there are 60 different buildings you’ll have to blow up, they’re far too similar to one another. The challenge is different every time, but it’s still essentially just a bunch of Lincoln Logs stuck together. The art style never changes either, although the aesthetic is actually rather nice with its chalkboard drawings. It suits the subject matter quite well in absence of ultra-realistic high-res renderings.

Despite the relative brevity, Implode is still a really good package, and a memorable game. This is the kind of game that you’re likely to be pulling out over and over again to subdue hyperactive nephews, and impress iPhone skeptics. If only there was some more variety in the gameplay and puzzle types this would be a shoo-in for our Must Have rating, but as it stands, the lack of puzzle variations holds this game back just a bit.