The popularity of Angry Birds can’t be overlooked, and it isn’t a matter of being built around complicated gameplay, but taking the rather basic formula for destruction and making it accessible for all ages of players. In a similar sense, Wreckateer does the same thing for Xbox Live Arcade, providing a great deal of humorous destruction for around $15 – while at the same time giving Kinect owners another reason to be happy with their purchase.
In the game, you’re the latest member of the Wreck & Tinker Destruction Company, a medieval team whose primary task is to bring down goblin-filled castles and other structures. To do this, you’ll use a various amount of ammunition, from basic shots that you can touch up with hand gestures to flying bombs that you can guide by sticking out your arms to your sides and pretending you’re an airplane. As the game goes on, you’ll be introduced to various types of ammo, each of which change up the way you play.
In addition, firing the ballista that launches the shots takes practice in itself. You can easily grasp your ammo, step back to pull back your shot (using judgment with power), then letting your arms open up to fire it off. You can also add style points to this depending how you release, but you’ll want to start off the basic way first, just to get the hang of it.
As you might guess, Wreckateer is based on scoring principles. The more you destroy – and the style that you put behind these shots – earns you big points, unlocking medals and multiplier bonuses that can really push you ahead. The game is online supported, so you can compare your best scores with others rather easily, even tracking their progress stage-by-stage. Wreckateer also gives bonus objectives, including special shields and off-the-map targets that could net you a hefty bonus.
The gameplay is basic, to be honest, but it makes terrific use of the Kinect, and not once did we run into an instance where it felt scattershot to us. You’ll learn what it takes to fire the ballista and guide your shots – no matter what type of ammo you’re using – with ease. And the game’s difficulty scales fairly, with more targets and trickier structures to bring down. Remember, aiming low does excessive damage compared to taking a little bit off the top.
As a bonus, you can also unlock goods for your virtual Avatar, and earn Fame that can be used in other games, such as A World of Keflings and Full House Poker, through the new Avatar FameStar program. Some folks might just prefer going into the game for the destruction angle, but for those who admire what they can put into their Avatar’s progress, this is actually rather cool. Other games will be supporting this in the future as well, including the upcoming Avatar Motocross. So if that’s your thing, indulge.
Wreckateer’s visual set-up is actually quite engaging, between lively characters (good and bad) that appear on each level, and the intricate set-up of each structure, from the enormous towers to the small little houses that require destruction. The audio’s not bad either, with some spirited jawing coming from your cohorts (sometimes they just don’t shut up) and pleasant little background music. It’s not full-on quality like, say, The Gunstringer, but for a downloadable game, it’s sufficient.
If destroying stuff is your forte and you want to get the most out of your Kinect, Wreckateer is a must-buy. With consistent challenges, plenty of fun chaos to be had, and a pleasant presentation, it’s the most fun you’ll have bringing down tall structures – you know, outside of that “other” projectile-launching series.