previews\ Apr 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

PAX East 2012: Wreckateer preview


Microsoft didn't have much to show off this year at PAX East in terms of AAA titles, but one particular exclusive that caught my eye was Xbox Kinect title Wreckateer, a physics-based slingshot destruction game.

Influenced by other popular slingshot games like Angry Birds and Boomblocks, Wreckateer has players control a massive siege ballista with their bodies and send projectiles towards highlighted targets.

At its core, Wreckateer is a "score attack" game.  As you destroy castles and towers, collecting bonus icons while flying through the air, you will be rewarded with a score.  At the end of each shot a multiplier is applied to your score depending on how much castle is done to the castle.

As I mentioned, bonus icons reward "higher level play" in the game.  There are about 30 hidden icons that you can discover while playing Wreckateer.  In the some-60 levels in the game, towards the more difficult end levels, you will need to rely on these bonus icons to achieve the Gold rating.

While you will only need the minimum Bronze rating to pass each level and unlock the next, you want to aim for the top rating because Wreckateer utilizes a leaderboard feature that compares you with not only your friends, but others on Xbox LIVE that are playing the game.  With Xbox LIVE integration, Wrecketeer will show you a shot by shot score analysis with the friend who scored the closest to you.  Each map has a "best shot" and "high score" leaderboard.

In my first map I utilized two of the six shots in the game: basic and split.  Every shot has you start off the same way.  You put your hands together in front of you to load the slingshot, you take a step back followed by stepping left or right to aim.  When ready you can spread your arms apart and the projectile will launch.  This is the most basic of shots.  Afterwards, some of the more advanced launches will require you to perform actions while the projectile is in air.

For instance, with Split shot, after the projectile was launched I had to put my arms in a Y position to projectile into four separate pieces. In a motion as if I was stretching a rubberband, I controlled all four pieces to destroy a larger target like a wall. 

The last shot I controlled was Flying Shot.  With this on, after performing the Y arm motion, I had to control the projectile as if I was a bird.  My arms were out the side and I turned the direction I wanted the projectile to go; arms straight up moved it up, arms straight down moved it down.

Those were the only three shots I experienced, but the remaining three include: Lift shot which is a big heavy shot that can skip up to three times, a Speed shot that when activated takes off like a bullet, and a Bomb shot that explodes when activated.  The Bomb shot is unique in that its the only one you can control after you hit a target.

Perhaps the most important thing to take away from my experience with Wreckateer was just how fluid and smooth it ran.  Unlike most Kinect games in which I must perform an action multiple times to get it to correctly scan my gesture, the response to my motions in Wreckateer was pinpoint.

If you own a Kinect and enjoy physics based slingshot games, I'd keep an eye out for Wreckateer which launches in Summer 2012 for Kinect on Xbox LIVE.

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