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Wreckateer (Xbox Live Arcade) Review
Posted by Stewart Lange on 07.23.2012



Title: Wreckateer
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Iron Galaxy
Genre: Casual/Kinect
Players: 2 (Local)/Online Leaderboards
Rated: 7+


First and foremost, I'll address one thing. I'm not a huge fan of Kinect only games. I'm fine actually playing it, but it's the couple of minutes between activities that you stop, take a look at yourself and wonder why, at 28 years old, you're standing in your living room waving your hands around like a mug. Now, in the same breath, I've enjoyed the Kinect features of such games as Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim, but not enough to merit my extravagant, spur of the moment decision to buy a Kinect, 18 months after I bought it.

 Now and again, though, something comes along that gives you a little bit of faith. Star Wars Kinect, for example, had promise. Little did I know that instead of it being the perfect platform for lightsabers, it was actually just an excuse to do a dance as Han Solo. This seems to be the issue with Kinect as a hardware choice, the games that show promise have been diluted down to appeal to the people that use it most: children.

This brings us right up to date, with the latest Summer of Arcade release of the year; Wreckateer. A fun title that emulates the Angry Birds formula, where you use missiles to fire and destroy a turret, castle or whatever you're aiming at. In this case, it's not pigs in wooden towers, it's goblins in castles. It works well with the story, as you join Wreck and Tinker and their destruction company to help rid the kingdom of the goblin plight. At the time of review, I cannot confirm or deny the story getting any deeper than this, but hey, there may be a twist at the end.

The Kinect controls work pretty well as you control and aim a giant ballista with your avatar, before shooting a massive boulder at the castle in question. Further control is used by motioning your hands to wave the boulder towards its target, with a more powerful shot giving you less time in flight to correct any mistakes. The only problem I found with the controls came when I took control of a missile you can "fly" towards it's target, this seemed to have a little bit of error. With practice, I was able to adjust my play to account for the issues, but I couldn't help but feel it could have been done a little better. As you progress even further, you gain explosive icons and more, that you can hit for damage and score bonuses. These targets are well placed, turning the level with flying missiles almost like a game of "Kinect Pilotwings" (which, by the way, would be awesome-shame it won't happen).

I have to admit, the game would be perfect with the addition of a controller mode. The 360 pad could be very easily adapted to control all of the missiles and so on. While this may take away from the intended fun of it, I actually think it would do an awful lot to increase the "one more turn" factor that most Kinect games lack, but is exactly what a casual game like Angry Birds and Wreckateer is at heart, have captured so well.

As with it's mobile, feathered counterpart, the big points come when you plan ahead and look for collateral damage. Knocking down a tower generally smashes down a couple of surrounding houses or goblins, giving you bonuses towards the score multiplier. Obviously, hitting these targets unlocks the next level and gives you access to new weapons, features and achievements.

Coming with this game, though, is an interesting bonus I've signed a blood oath to not mention, until now, which is a feature called "Avatar Famestar." Pretty basically, this works in the same way as Ubisoft's uPlay, although it seems as pointless as uPlay is broken. You earn achievements in games featuring your avatar, such as World of Keflings and some exciting, forthcoming titles- that I'm NOT allowed to mention although, I will say, it's one Mat Sforcina has been asked about- a LOT. This makes these games cross compatible, with you earning awards and achievements to share with your friends in all of these games. You know, kind of like the existing system of earning awards and achievements. I'm sure I'm missing the point a little, but it's a little pointless if you ask me. I'm not going to hold it against this game, though, since it's just been packaged with this, not as part of the game.

Overall, Wreckateer comes very, very close to being the game that made me glad to own a Kinect. Loading breaks and cut scenes are either very short or skipable, leaving little time to become too self conscious about pretending to fly a bomb with wings into a tower. It has more to it than the likes of Fruit Ninja, making it more long lasting than any other Kinect exclusive I've played. It's certainly leagues ahead of Hole in The Wall. I'd have to recommend this to anyone with a Kinect and points to burn, but don't dust the motion sensor out of a cupboard unless you actively use it. It won't steal any time away from Tony Hawk, but hey, at least for at least one week, Wreckateer can call itself the second best game of the 2012 Summer of Arcade.

Pros

  • Looks great for an arcade game
  • Very intuitive with Kinect controls, for the most part
  • No long loading to spoil flow of play

    Cons

  • No Controller mode supported
  • May get repetitive over 60 levels

    The 411:

    I enjoyed my time with Wreckateer and who knows, I may even go back to it now and again. Well worth a try when it's released.




    Graphics9.0For a downloadable game, no complaints at all. 
    Gameplay8.0Good fun, for players and onlookers alike. 
    Sound7.0Does what it needs to. 
    Lasting Appeal8.0I'll definitely be chipping away at this title for a while. 
    Fun Factor 9.0Great fun with a couple of friends or even on your own. 
    Overall8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend





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