Originally written by myself for www.gamerscoreaddicts.net Review complete with images can be found there
Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Wreckateer is the second game to be released as part of the ‘Summer of Arcade’ line-up for 2012. It is a Kinect required game in which the object of the game is to launch boulders with different power-ups at Goblin castles to cause as much destruction as possible. Sound familiar? Well, it should! Wreckateer is basically a 3D version of the hit game, Angry Birds. It plays in a similar manner but through Kinect rather than the touch controls of a smartphone.
Wreckateer is also one of the first games to feature ‘Avatar Famestar’ support, a service which will be incorporated into more titles. This service rewards players with ‘Fame’ points for meeting requirements similar to achievement requirements. These points can then be used to purchase Avatar awards including full outfits.
The tale starts with you getting accepted for your first trials in wrecking. Experts Wreck and Tinker guide you through a tutorial on how to become a Wreckateer - perhaps one day the player could match the wrecking potential of Wreckateer legend ‘Wreck Wreckington’ - and that is about as far as the story goes.
Throughout the game, Wreck and Tinker will always be with you and explain how new features work. They also like to make the occasional humorous remark in amongst the tutorials and pep talks. These humorous comments aren’t the greatest and are somewhat cliché - however young children may find them funny as Wreckateer is certainly a game which is playable for all ages.
The gameplay is very similar to Angry Birds, but with the motion controls of Kinect – meaning you have to use your whole body instead of the flick of a finger to get things done. Players grab the ballista before aiming and adjusting power and once satisfied, you throw your hands out to your sides and woosh! Off the projectile goes. However, the interaction doesn’t stop there; when the projectile leaves the ballista, the player can guide it through the air by ‘bumping’ it in the desired direction with their hands - or they are free to activate the special ability of the projectile in certain circumstances.
There is a medal progression system for each level which consists of bronze, silver, gold and "Wreck Wreckington". Each medal has a points requirements that needs to be met in order to obtain it. Points are awarded based on the destruction caused by the player - the more destruction, the higher the multiplier therefore resulting in a bigger points bonus.
The controls are some of the best and most responsive I’ve experienced on Kinect, with every bit of movement being captured and carried out well in the game. Anytime something didn’t go as planned, it was because I messed up instead of the usual bad tracking present in other Kinect titles. It is a small taste of what the Kinect is actually capable of doing.
The Special abilities come in various different forms and each is suited to a different situation. There is the Speed Shot (projectile takes off very quickly), the Flying Shot (the player guides through the air with their arms), the Bomb Shot (projectile explodes upon impact), the Split Shot (projectile divides into several pieces which can be rotated or extended to damage a larger area) and finally the Lift Shot (projectile can be given some extra distance up to a total of three times). These different shots are what really bring the strategy and depth to the game, utilising each type well is crucial in nabbing those gold medals especially later on when they become very tricky.
Although there are various different shot and castle types to add variety and challenge to the experience, I felt myself getting bored rather quickly. Then again, I enjoyed it more than Angry Birds (which I’m not a fan of), so if you’re a fan of Angry Birds, this may entertain you a fair bit more.
As the game progresses it adds shots that require a lot more in the way of tactics than those early on. Wreck and Tinker will give tutorial-type advice all through the game on how to make these shots; this results in new types of shots being explained right up to the end of the campaign, but also tutorials being given in small portions through the entirety of the experience. I feel this was implemented for the sake of young or casual gamers to be guided throughout. Despite this game appearing very casual, it certainly has a sharp difficulty curve and many casual gamers may find this very frustrating if they cannot advance.
The graphics are very basic, simply detailing the ballista along with the castle and surrounding scenery. The scenery and castles are basic models so it is obvious that graphics were not a focal point for the developer when programming this title.
The setting is cliché medieval with standard fantasy goblins. The castles are built in all shapes to increase variety and in different locations such as green plains, mountainous regions and snowy landscapes.
Music is pretty much absent throughout the game, with most of the sound coming from the comments Wreck and Tinker make along with the impact and sound effects of the wrecking being caused. I feel this is an especially weak offering and at least some background music would be welcome to accompany the sound effects.
The game certainly offers much in both the aspects of longevity and replayability, with 50 main campaign levels and 10 challenge levels a gamer can expect to see 8-10 hours of gameplay just to finish the campaign. Although the game starts off very simple by the end the levels are far more complex and even passing them with a bronze may take 3-4 attempts.
Replayability then kicks in as the 50 levels are split into ten sets of five. The player must get a gold medal in all five levels of a set to unlock the challenge level for that set. The first couple of sets are fairly easy to attain gold medals - but for the later levels, obtaining gold could cost many attempts and much trial and error (they are definitely not straight-forward), so gamers could easily spend many hours perfecting strategies for each level. If that wasn’t enough, there is also a Wreck Wreckington score to beat for each level which is a significant portion higher than even the gold medal requirement and would be very difficult to achieve!
Finally, there is a multiplayer mode available where you can compete online in some castle wrecking entertainment to discover which of you deserves the title of Wreckateer!
Wreckateer is one of those games that the gamer will either love or hate. Any who enjoyed Angry Birds should definitely give this game a try. The game has a few downfalls in terms of story, sound and graphics - however, it makes up for these with gameplay and replayability.
In terms of controls the gameplay is fantastic, though probably best played in short bursts as the gameplay itself is rather repetitive and gets boring fast. There is plenty of content here for 800MSP and due to the difficulty of the gold medals the game could take many hours, however many casual or younger gamers may be put off by the difficulty whilst some hardcore gamers may be unwilling to put the work in due to the casual nature of the gameplay.
Personally, I am not a fan of Angry Birds, so I may be harsh when I say the game gets boring and repetitive fast. Then again, I definitely found it a much more entertaining experience than I had originally expected from the game.
Rating: 6.5/10 – (add 1 or 2 to this rating if you enjoy Angry Birds / casual titles)