Wreckateer

By: on July 23, 2012

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Iron Galaxy” publishers=”Microsoft Studios” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”July 25, 2012″]

Goblins suck. You get yourself a nice castle with all the extras like housing for the peasants and towers to lock away treasure or people depending on your moral alignment then the goblins infest it like a pack of cockroaches. That is where the Wreck & Tinker Destruction Company from Iron Galaxy Studios’ Wreckateer come in. Since the only good way to destroy a goblin infestation is utter demolishment of the infested castle, Wreck & Tinker hire you to man their Ballista and launch destructive projectiles via Kinect. Wreckateer built from the ground up for Kinect is one of the few games to showcase that the Kinect is a viable control method for games when properly utilized.

Wreckateer takes the gameplay formula made popular by Angry Birds and flips it on it’s head. You step forward and put your hands together to grab the Ballista and step back to power your shot at the castle. When you let go the shot flies and depending on its type you have different kinds of after shot manipulations you can do to make sure you hit your target. For example, regular shots can be swatted to alter their course, flying shots can be flown like a glider. and split shots split into four different shots that are connected in a line between your hands.

The gameplay of Wreckateer is simple but the fun comes from how responsive the Kinect is to your movements. After games that take fifteen minutes to get through the menu or having to make gestures that are nowhere near what is expected to get the Kinect to recognize you, Wreckateer proves its in the programming by solving those problems. It is easy to speed through the menus never having to go back or wait minutes of load time because the game decided you chose a different option. Move your arms in the way the game tells you to and the game actually picks up your movements. It is shocking after having played so many Kinect titles that get this aspect wrong. Is it because Wreckateer was built from the ground up for Kinect? Who knows but other devs need to take notes.

Wreckateer sports 10 levels split into 5 regular stages and 1 challenge stage. That makes 60 levels which is a far cry less than games like Angry Birds but with more complex gameplay, 60 is a reasonable number. The goal is to get gold via high score on each of the levels which is made easier with different power up icons floating in front of the castles for you to fly your shots into for bonuses. If you don’t feel like going through campaign and picking your levels, there is a playlist mode that will save lists of your favorite stages. The game also comes preloaded with some lists to get you started. Multiplayer mode is simple head to head locally where you take turns to see who can get the highest score which is very similar to something like Burnout’s Crash Party modes.

Wreckateer is the first game to sport a new Microsoft system called Avatar Famestar. Expected to be rolled out to most of the games that support Avatars, Famestar creates another meta-game like scoring system to where you get fame for completing achievement like tasks. With different levels of fame, you unlock items for your avatar to be used in the various games. It is an interesting system and completely integrated into Wreckateer with a list of the tasks and your progress appearing after each stage completion. One has to wonder though, how many cross game metasystems do we need with gamerscore, avatar awards, Kinect Playfit, and now Avatar Famestar?

Score: 8.5/10

Wreckateer is a game that can become a title that is the shining beacon of light to lead other devs to the promised land of responsive and fun Kinect gameplay. With this current generation almost over, it does seem unlikely we will get many more titles like Wreckateer for this current set of hardware but hopefully lessons learned will lead to some awesome gaming experiences next generation.

About Brandon Koch

I write stuff. I play stuff. I code stuff.