Fruit Ninja Kinect was a highlight for last year's casual gamers who took part in Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade and offered a decent big screen experience for fans of the mobile game. This year, Microsoft once again didn't forget their casual crowd with Wreckateer, a game that seems to be a knock off of the popular Angry Birds series of mobile games.
What Is It About?
Wreckateer is about one thing, tearing castles down with a ballista. Why? Because goblins have infested these castles, and the only way to get rid of them is by knocking down great pieces of architecture with projectile ballistics. The more damage you cause, the more points you get. Getting a certain number of points grants access to new levels and castles to bring down and be considered a great wreckateer.
Why Should I Care?
The main people that'll care about the game are the people who are looking for a good, affordable excuse to dust off their Kinect peripherals, and Wreckateer is a game that'll barely do just that.
While Wreckateer may look like a medieval Angry Birds knock off, it's more of an inspiration.
In Angry Birds, all you really have control of is the thrust and angle of the bird you're sending to wreak havoc on the evil pigs and their roofs. With Wreckateer, you maintain control of your projectile even after launch. Over the course of the game, you'll also gain access to special projectiles like ones that split, ones that explode, and ones that you can literally control with whatever the Kinect sensor thinks your hands are doing.
Players will also be excited to see shields with substantially high point totals and goblins flying around in golden balloons. These objects act as an incentive to think of different ways to launch your ball in order to get the maximum point total per launch.
While the control you have over your projectile is among the coolest features of the game, it's also a bit of a double-edged blade. All too often, your commands won't properly be read by the device. I remember when first unlocking the splitting ball, I was unable to activate its feature, and I found myself stupidly flailing in front of the TV to the delight of colleagues laughing at me.
Of course, silliness is something you'd have to expect from a Kinect game, and that's why it's best to take turns and play with others, rather than on your own.
Despite its shortcomings, the game is relatively easy to play and should grasp the attention of others in the living room. The first few levels in the game work as a well-detailed tutorial and while all the steps were easy to follow, the one annoying thing about it early on is for every level you finish, you also learn additional ways and methods of control that would've made the previous level a whole lot easier. Had some of these lessons come earlier, the upcoming levels could've been way more interesting.
One weird thing we noticed about the game was the fact that the projectiles only do damage to buildings and goblins. You'd think that when a heavy ball of fire is shot into a hill or a large grassy area, there'd be some natural disaster. Instead, the balls just roll, and the slight touch of a building will have the building dismantled. That hardly makes sense.
In addition, at times it seems like the game takes away from what the player can do creatively. Levels that introduce new aspects to gameplay also include a right hand guide to help you with your demolition strategy. While it's not mandatory to take their advice, most of the time it's the best way to clear a level. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's no fun in a game telling you what to do all the time.
Luckily, the game redeems itself in this regard with plenty of castles to conquer, each with different strategies to figure out whether or not there's a guide to help you out.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The colorful art style makes Wreckateer look visually pleasing, and its medieval-inspired music and characters make the game sound like it would've been more popular had it come out when Disney Pixar's Brave was released. While the controls aren't perfect by any means, they're still simple enough to get some casual gaming action done away from the couch.
Unfortunately, at a rough $10 price tag, it's tough to recommend the game enough to buy it. Boom Blox Bash Party on the Wii might be a better choice. However, if you must have a new Kinect game that doesn't totally suck, this is it.