I don't think it's particularly out of line to say that Kinect doesn't really have the best reputation. While it offers some brilliant games, they are unfortunately in a bit of a minority. Iron Galaxy's new Arcade offering Wreckateer
is out today, so which end of the scale does this sit?
In a stereotypical fantasy world, goblins have infested various (and somewhat structurally unsound) castles. You are taken on as part of a wrecking crew with the task of not just killing these goblins, but flattening their newly acquired homes as much as you can with the shots you are given. As your wrecking team will explain to you in their puzzling Irish/Scottish/Yorkshire accent, the shots are fired with a series of simple movements. Once loaded, you step forward and grip the ballista (a giant medieval crossbow) and then step back to adjust the power of the shot. Step side to side to aim from left to right, and lift your arms up and down to adjust the height of your shot. To release, simply throw your arms out. Once in the air, the projectile can be further manipulated by waving the shot in the direction you want to send it. This is handy both for simple little adjustments, or for creating some serious curveballs and hitting otherwise unreachable structures.
The Kinect use itself - surprisingly - works brilliantly. The game is accurate and perfectly responsive. It seems somewhat ridiculous praising a game because it actually works, but with so many Kinect games falling at this hurdle it's fantastic to feel like you're not actually being robbed for a change. It does however need a fair amount of space to allow you to fully step from side to side and get the most out of your shots. You have various different shots to use and manipulate to get the most out of your destruction attempts. These include standard basic shots, explosives, fully manoeuvrable gliders, bullet-like speed shots and chain shots which link multiple projectiles and allow the player to twist and spread them whatever way will cause the most damage.
Score is earned purely through destruction. Flatten as much as you can in the most imaginative way you can for maximum points. Various bonus badges can be earned for practically any strategy. Take out a tower with a ricochet? There's a badge for that. Managed to detonate three explosive charges, or take out someone's house too? There's badges for that. There's even badges for scaring a goblin by sailing a shot nearby, or just full on hitting them in the face. Combining general destruction with moves that will pop you some badges will earn you some seriously tasty points. Each level is littered with bonus score targets or power ups to add even more to your attempts. More destruction also means a higher multiplier on your turns total score, so planning is key. Each time you flatten three goblins you earn 'Mulligan', a chance to retake a duff shot if something doesn't go to plan. Your performance is rated Bronze, Silver or Gold, with bronze needed in order to progress to the next stage.
While the game may look as 'casual' as it gets, don't be fooled. Yes, it will keep many kids (and I'm sure plenty of adults) very entertained, but the later stages become very tricky, with some harsh and puzzling level set-ups that will take various retries to pass, never mind to earn gold. With sixty levels in total, this makes the achievement list look somewhat daunting for those completionists. Adding even more to this side of things, we see the introduction of Avatar FameStar
, which adds various in-game challenges for players to work on for Avatar awards, giving you a little more than just the achievements to work on.
While it can get somewhat tedious at the later stages, Wreckteer
is great, simple fun. What cannot be denied is that it is basically 3D Angry Birds
. Even the goblins look rather shockingly similar to a particular egg stealing foe that practically all smartphone users are familiar with. While it's not at all original, it's also not necessarily a bad thing. It has the same laid back, pick-up-and-play feel, and the same feeling of satisfaction when you nail a stage with a beautiful shot. This combined with the brilliantly used Kinect controls and fair 800 MSP price tag, it definitely sits higher up on that rather unbalanced Kinect game scale.