The simplicity of causing destruction and knocking things over is part of our nature. Go ahead and place a Jenga set in front of a little kid a see how fast they knock it over while laughing and smiling. Why? Because it's fun and simple. While I did have fun with Wreckateer, and I have never said that about a Kinect game before, at the same time frustration began to seep in as the game seemingly breaks its own laws of phyics. In the same vein of games that have come before such as Crush the Castle or the widely popular Angry Birds, Wreckateer takes this simple gameplay and brings it to a full 3D title while adding gesture controls with the power of the Kinect.
As the apprentice and newest member of the wrecking team trio, it is your job to exterminate the goblin infestation across 60 castles. How do you get rid of goblins you ask? Why by razing the castles to the ground of course. The gestures required are simplistic, allowing anyone to enjoy themselves while playing – if you have the ample space that the game requires you to move freely in. Each level is preset with the different shots you can use to accomplish your task – be it a basic shot or one of the magical ones, each having a different special ability. Taking a step forward and clasping your hands together will grab the ballista, while stepping back will pull it taut. You have full range to step to either side to adjust your aim as well as changing the angle by moving your hands up or down. There is ample time between the moment you release the shot and it hits the target, allowing you to provide gestures to curve and guide the shot. The current target will glow slightly, so you never have to wonder if you are lined up properly with your target. The weak spots in the castles provide easy targets. Your eyes will grow wide when you see oversized dynamite placed perfectly on a wall or tower. Some require finesse to find, which rewards players that get stylish with their shots.
Besides the Basic Shot, which is as basic as it sounds, there are a whole slew of different types – each having its own purpose and specialized ability such as the Split Shot that breaks apart into four separate pieces connected by a magical chain. It can expand or contract as well as rotate depending on your hand movements. Activating the special abilities is as easy as raising your arms when the shot is still in the air. When it doesn’t work, you are left frantically waving around like an idiot. Whether the Kinect losing sight or whether it has trouble tracking the fast moments, I do not know, but I assume it is a little from both columns. Slowing down the movements seems to fix 99% of the issues with Wreckateer not picking up the motions.
When a crumbling tower begins to lean towards the tower next to it, you’ll give yourself a mental high five knowing that you have a chain reaction that should take down the entire castle in one shot. Instead, the tower will collapse on the other tower yet it will stay pristine without so much as a scratch. These moments, along with the pieces of walls and bricks that decide to ignore the laws of gravity and physics when they do not fall even with the littlest piece of brick is holding it up, can be annoying. For a game that focuses on physics-based destruction, the moments where this happens can be truly frustrating. Not to mention some of the absolute ridiculous scores the AI have in later levels, if you don’t have a friends score to beat on the leaderboard.
Wreckateer introduces the new Avatar Famestar feature. These new achievements allow your avatar to earn fame in games that utilize Avatars as the main playable characters. This is the first game that supports the feature, but Full House Poker and A World of Kelflings will receive an update that adds the support. Three more games that are not yet released will have support once released:Avatar Motocross Madness, Fire Pro Wrestling and Homerun Stars. Earning fame will unlock new outfits that relate to the different games.
Wreckateer adds enough puzzle elements to a casual style genre that every type of gamer can find something to enjoy in the game. I wouldn’t play through all 60 of the levels in one sitting…I mean standing, but Wreckateer is better played in short bursts when you feel the need to knock towers over or want to blow something up.Note: Wreckateer was reviewed on Xbox 360. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.