Many seemingly exciting jobs are mundane in reality. Train drivers are clock watchers, policemen get wet and work late, and soldiers spend most of their time in barracks.
Few such jobs can be less spectacular than the controlled demolition expert, though.
It takes days, if not weeks, to prepare a building with the well placed charges that will take it down in the most boring possible way. Basically you’re paid to subvert the natural behaviour of TNT. More whimper than big bang is required.
This provides a tricky balancing act for developer IUGO in its game Implode!
Even the title suggests professional care rather than the youthful abandon of blowing things up. The theme is continued in the muted blueprint engineering-style graphics, which present you with diagrams of the various block structures you have to demolish.
At the bottom of the screen, you’re provided with a fixed number of dynamite and/or blast bombs, which you place around the structure by dragging them with your finger.
Neatly, you automatically get a microscopic zoom to ensure you can select the exact joint or position. (There’s an alternative tap to place option if you prefer.) Then press the big plunger in the bottom right hand corner to trigger the bang.Blowing the doors off
The most impressive thing about Implode! is the determinism of its underlying physics system. Placing your charges in the same position will cause the same results. And, like the implications halfway across the world of a fluttering butterfly’s wings, small variations can change the end results radically.
This flexibility is due to the structures, which consist of beams that can be blown in half by dynamite and solid blocks which always remain intact and hence have to be made unstable by destroying their supports. This is most easily carried out using the blast bombs, which are more fun - read: 'explosive' - than the dynamite.
However, as you make your way through the game’s 60 levels, and encounter situations when you have to blow your building without throwing debris in the designated safety areas, you have to much more careful.
No icing on the bombe
Yet while the basic building blocks of Implode! provide a solid foundation, the gameplay itself is more random.
The basic premise of every level is that you have to demolish the structure with the resulting pile of blocks being lower than the dotted line across the screen. The lower the better, and you also get bonuses if you don’t use all the provided sticks of dynamite and blast bombs. You get a rank and a score in dollars for your performance.
Sadly though, many of the structures seem primed to fall down. Random bomb placement often works, and there’s little encouragement to replay levels and hone your skills to gain a better rank or a high score. In such a manner, it’s a curious mixture of too easy and not hard enough.
In another strange move, you can’t even upload your score to the world leaderboard until you’ve completed 50 of the 60 levels. Maybe that’s why so few are listed.
In many ways, then, Implode! comes across like the concrete and steel framework of an unfinished building. Some plasterboard and a lick of paint and first time buyers would be bidding it up. At the moment, however, it feels like a great technology demo looking for a layer of better gameplay.