The second title in this year’s Summer of Arcade line-up, Wreckateer from Iron Galaxy Studios takes a stab at re-inventing the aim-shoot-destroy approach. Although it has been more compared to be a 3D take on the massively popular Angry Birds game, all this throwing and knocking things down malarkey more or less started as a game in fairgrounds of the late 1800’s in the form of the Coconut Shy, where you throw wooden balls at a coconut on stands in the distance and aim to hit it until it falls off, gaining a prize for a clear hit!
Wreckateer is actually not very different from the Coconut Shy albeit in a completely graphical format. Coconuts have been replaced with Castle’s, and wooden balls replaced with shots from a Ballista, but the control is still used from your very own hands thanks to the motion-sensor capabilities of Kinect, which is just perfect for this type of game. Kinect definitely fits more at home with the simpler light-hearted Arcade style games than anything too serious, and Wreckateer falls into that category. It’s fun, simple hand gesture controlled, and although very basic in its dialogue and visual style – the game is more addictive than you’d first expect upon first impressions. If you don’t own Kinect – you can not play this game with your controller, so don’t buy it!
Wreckateer is entirely physics based and with one aim – destruction! Set in a fictitious medieval world where your role is to simply demolish Goblin-infested castles across the Kingdom. From the start of each level you virtually (with your hands and Kinect) take control of a Ballista to demolish castles that stand in the distance. The more you demolish, the higher your scoring points and medal awards from Bronze, Silver or Gold. It’s not until you’ve completely destroyed your Castle’s that you are able to move out of the land and on to your next chapter in the game.
Using your hands and facing the Kinect sensor you have to grab the Ballista projectiles, aim your direction at various parts of the Castle (which a clear hit should light up an area) and then fire the Ballista using another hand-gesture, most of the time by quickly spreading your arms out to shoot the projectile into the air. The game features a few different projectile weapon types which is where the similarity between Angry Birds is clearly visible. You get to use the Flying Shot which is guided by your arms and hands in a flying motion towards the Castle as well as an Angry-Bird-esque Split Shot, a large projectile that splits into 4 smaller parts mid-air. It doesn’t end there either – as once you have launched your weapon it is going to need some direction to accurately guide it for maximum destruction. This is done (again with hands) by simulating a lifting, lowering or moving left and right motion until you have it heading towards the desired location. The bigger the destruction, the more you earn!
Wreckateer is only 800 MS Points, which due to its basic nature of having a basic story, with completely basic controls it is adequately priced. Although the game feels as though it is aimed more towards children with a cartoon style visual appearance and slow, loud dialogue – if you enjoy Angry Birds, or other very similar games (or even the Coconut Shy) this should be appealing. It’s a shame this didn’t feel more gimmicky as the Castle and Goblins set up doesn’t quite have the personality win over Birds and Pigs. It also goes to show that Kinect works at its best when gameplay and controls are stripped right down to a basic approach. The response time and visibility to the sensor was virtually faultless, and one of the rare instances where this game really needs more left and right space rather than back space as you aim the Ballista. Kinect was totally made for Wreckateer and vice-versa – less is definitely more!
Wreckateer is a great game at great value, but in all honesty whereas the Summer of Arcade is known for some great titles to get through the summer retail games drought, Wreckateer is not an outstanding must have and neither a game that will have you up all night until you’ve beaten it. It’s fun, quirky and something to play with the kids for a while during the summer holidays.