I went into Wreckateer with some doubts as so far I haven’t really enjoyed most of the Kinect titles I have played, let me just say that Wreckateer literally smashed any expectations I had about the game. The game offers fun in its most simplest of forms and the most amazing part is the Kinect controls actually work, and work really well.
The game takes place in an unnamed fantasy Kingdom where the occasional goblin infestation of castles requires them to be knocked down. Apparently it’s the only way to clear out the infestation and to be honest who am I to question this as I rather enjoy destroying things anyway. You play the role of a lowly rock polisher apprentice to the resident “Wreckers” Tinker and Wreck, who have created huge ballistas and various ammunition types for the purpose of knocking down infested structures. You are given a chance to prove yourself during the tutorial section of the game and are eventually let loose to unleash destruction among the goblin forces.
The tutorial section of the game left a lot to be desired actually. The game didn’t do the best of jobs at describing how things work exactly and that may sound silly for a game that essentially wants you to throw things at buildings and knock them down you would assume very little explanation would be needed. However the game is so much more than that after you get the hang of it. The Kinect controls add such a layer of depth and personality to the game it’s hard to imagine ever playing games like this again without them. For example while using the flying shot I assumed that I had to move my entire body up and down and all over to guide the shot, eventually I found out over time that I simply had to move my arms to achieve this. While Certainly not a deal breaker by any means, it’s something that could have been better explained in conjunction with a few other details in the tutorial.
Don’t be fooled by what you see on the surface of Wreckateer. It may appear to be just “another throw small objects at larger objects” physics game, and while that may be true the difference is this one is actually fun and creative, very creative! Grab the ballista and step back to charge the shot, the further back you pull the further the shot will go but gives you less control once it’s airborne through the use of your gauntlets. Guiding each shot once they are in the air with your gauntlets gives you the ability to precisely drop the shot exactly where you want for maximum damage. It’s this small piece of gameplay that makes the game so addictive you will constantly feel that you can do better after each shot and with the ability to earn and use a mulligan chances are you will be doing shots over quite often in an effort to best yourself each time.
The game has a wide variety of shots to use each offering up their own unique ability. Figuring out how best to use each shot will be crucial to gaining the highest score possible for each level. Your standard shot is exactly what you would expect it to be a large rock that does massive damage and nothing else. However the other shots offer some really fun abilities for instance the flight shot can transforms into a crude flying machine almost reminiscent of something Da Vinci himself would have built. Using your arms as I mentioned allows you to control this shot the entire time giving you the ability to maneuver around objects to land in the best spot possible for maximum destruction. The speed shot looks like a giant steel arrow tip and once activated punches a whole through anything in its path. The bomb shot allows you to detonate the shot when close to objects or let it pass through one object to then detonate shortly after that to hit other targets behind it. There are six different shots in all each with their own abilities.
The game goes even further in its gameplay with the addition of shot icons. While most of the time these icons just act as points bonuses to aim for offering up 5k or even 10k in points, sometimes they act as more than that. These floating targets can also act as modifiers for your shots granting abilities like the speed shot perk to non speed shot projectiles or the ability to bounce a shot even higher than you would normally to add more distance. In some instances you will need to use these icons and modifiers to enable your shots to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. Adding a almost puzzle like quality to your destruction having to figure where to place which shots and which shots needs to be used with which modifiers. There is a series of events so to speak that you need to figure out in order to best destroy the structures.
While the game is a total blast and the Kinect controls are some of the best I have encountered in any Kinect game to date there are some small hiccups with the game. The damage you cause can be inconsistent at times; one shot might knock and entire building down in a blaze of glory while the very same shot on the same type of building a second time might only make a small hole leaving the building intact. This doesn’t happen often but it happens enough to notice it from time to time. Also because you are controlling your shots from a first person view behind them it can sometimes be hard to tell where you shot is in conjunction with the distance to the target, sometimes my shots fell way shorter than I expected them to simply because my viewing angle on the shot was a little off.
SUMMARY: Wreckateer is simple pure and addicting fun. I found myself unable to stop playing it! Iron Galaxy Studios has done a great job of building upon a proven formula and have truly made it even better. The game is rather lengthy with over 60 missions to complete it is sure to keep you busy for awhile and chances are you will find yourself constantly wanting to do shots over again numerous times to see if you could do better! It was a blast playing by myself and I can see how playing this game at a party would be even more fun as its well suited for it. For 800 MS points you will be hard pressed to find Kinect game that offers more fun than this