:Great controls, fantastic use of Kinect, addictive "one more level" gameplay
:Need a lot of room to play
All the tools are there, it’s up to you to find the perfect mixture for destruction.
The thing that separates a good Kinect game from a bad one is how much it asks the device to do.
Wreckateer hits the sweet spot by focusing on what the Kinect does well and then builds the experience around that.
In Wreckateer you’re tasked with clearing out infestations in castles. Instead of rats or roaches you’re dealing with goblins. They’ve infested multiple castles over the map and the only way to solve the problem is to flatten the castle completely. You accomplish this by using the ballista and firing different types of projectiles that cause destruction in various ways.
You’re going to be in a mood for destruction because the goblins are there to annoy you and goad you into making the perfect shot. They act brainless enough but do you remember the Whammy from Press Your Luck? For those not well versed on daytime game shows a Whammy was a red goblin like creature that would show up and tick you off while taking your money.
These goblins are going to annoy you and there’s a certain sense of satisfaction to hit one square in the noggin from a few hundred yards away.
Aiming for the goblins have two nice rewards:
- It’s a good feeling to knock down a tower with a goblin in it, even better feeling hitting a goblin straight away.
- You get a bonus for every part of a castle you knock down that has a goblin in it.
You’ll control the ballista with your Kinect.
The ballista works like a slingshot. You step forward and put your hands together in front of you to “grab” the band and then you step backwards, the farther you back up the stronger your shot will be. Once you’re happy with the power of the shot you step to the left or right to aim left or right. Lastly you can move your hands up or down to (you guessed it) aim up or down.
Notice that everything listed above are things that Kinect does well. Those are the core controls for the game and they’re all easy for Kinect to work with. The Kinect controls don’t stop there though.
Along with the ballista controls the projectiles are also motion controlled. There’s various forms of ammunition and they all have different properties. They range from projectiles that do nothing to projectiles that have special abilities like flying, exploding, or bouncing.
There’s a winged projectile that flies like a normal projectile until you activate it’s power. Raising your arms makes a set of wings come out and then you control it by holding your arms out to the sides and guiding it to it’s destination.
Another type of projectile gets a lift each time you activate it and you have the ability to activate it three times. It enables shots to be boosted over towers and walls to hit objects farther back of the playing field.
While there are multiple forms of ammunition that perform specific actions when activated that doesn’t mean the normal projectiles are useless. As you play the game you’ll be rewarded with a pair of gloves that will let you guide all of your shots. If you want the projectile to go to the left then you take your right arm and wave across the projectile to make it curve. If you think you aimed too high take both hands and wave it down.
Like the ballista controls the Kinect controls here are great. They play to Kinect’s strengths and Wreckateer is better because of it.
Who doesn’t love pretending they’re an airplane with their arms out to the side? I still do it today and I’ll be doing it when I’m 90, granted that’s going to get me extra medication when I’m in the nursing home, it’s just fun. Who’s thrown something going off course and tried to tell it where to go by waving their hands?
The gestures the game asks you to do are natural things we’ve all done. I can see everyone at every age having fun with these motions.
The last part of gameplay is using the objects in the various levels to cause the most destruction. There are certain emblems that float on the game board and if you send your projectile through one it gives your projectile a unique quality. The emblems do everything from make your projectile shoot off like a rocket to give it the properties of an explosive that detonates upon impact.
You’ll also find a goblin hot air balloonist that enhances your shot and in some parts of certain levels you’ll find stacks of dynamite that explode the second anything comes in contact with them.
There are tons of ways to cause destruction in Wreckateer. All the tools are there, it’s up to you to find the perfect mixture for destruction.
The levels are broken up into various places on a world map with multiple stages for each location with one end mission to beat. In order to move on you need to get a bronze medal or better on the current level.
Earning medals are achieved by getting a particular score on a certain level. You’re awarded points for how you demolish castles including special score bonuses by performing certain actions while taking down the castles. Banking a shot off the ground, hitting a goblin directly before hitting the castle, or taking out a house in the kingdom are just a few ways to earn bonuses in the game.
After each shot your score is tallied which raises the overall multiplier. Each shot continues to be multiplied by the current multiplier to a maximum of 5. If you plan on getting a gold or better, especially in the latter levels, you’ll need to learn how to get your multiplier higher with each shot.
The sound in the game is done very well with explosions having a good punch to them and your companions on your journey are voiced well.
Music is the game is your usual medieval RPG fare and it fits, the way it’s added is a great touch.
Wreckateer is also the debut for Avatar Famestar. For those not familiar with Avatar Famestar it’s a program developed by Microsoft Studios to help integrate challenges into certain games. You can earn rewards for either that specific game or the Avatar Famestar program overall. In Wreckateer there’s certain objectives to complete and if you do you’ll be awarded avatar gear based on the game.
The nice thing is your Avatar Famestar progress will be saved each game you play and as you play more Avatar Famestar games and complete their challenges you’ll accumulate enough points to get better avatar gear. It’s a nice way for games to reward users outside of achievements. Famestar rewards are something everyone can see because your avatar will look different unlike achievements where someone would have to look through your playing history to see what milestone you reached.
Why it may be helpful for people with anxiety
- Cheery atmosphere
- Great controls, even with numb/cold hands they’re able to be performed with ease
- Gets you thinking how you’re going to knock down the targets and takes your mind off other things
Why it may be unhelpful for people with anxiety
- You need a good 8x 6 foot play area so for some they may need to move items, if you’re anxious already maybe that’s not a good option
Why you should be playing this
I can’t stress this enough, Wreckateer is so good because it focused on the Kinect’s strengths. I’m sure a lot of people saw Wreckateer being a Kinect game and swore it off but for those people I’m pleading you give it a chance.
Wreckateer joins a list of great Kinect games that can only be around because of Kinect. They didn’t try to make Wreckateer do things outside of Kinect’s abilities and in doing that they created something unique and fun.
Figuring out how to knock down the towers and castles takes some thinking and working on high scores takes a lot of skill. This isn’t a “wave your arms and win” game, to be good it takes skill and Wreckateer’s control allows you to play this game with skill.
Wreckateer is worth everyone’s time, it’s a fun game with a loads of gameplay played in a unique way.
Wreckateer is the new benchmark for Kinect.
This review was based on the Xbox 360 version that was provided by the publisher.