A worthy purchase for all Kinect owners.
As one might expect from a controller-free input device, the Kinect has some extremely limited gaming capabilities. The games that fare best are those that stick to a single concept of which the device is properly suited; Wreckateer fits that bill nicely. Using a giant ballista, players will sling fodder at a set of medieval structures that are occupied by a group of goblins. Greater destruction means greater scores and that’s what Wreckateer is all about. Thanks to its precise controls and simple, yet addicting gameplay, Wreckateer proves to be one of the few enjoyable titles for the casual-friendly Kinect.
Explained in the simplest of terms, Wreckateer is a 3D representation of Angry Birds, but the focus is placed on high scores rather than eliminating some number of enemies on the stage. Despite this minor difference, Wreckateer is cut from the same cloth, offering similar gameplay while pushing players to go for “just one more time” before moving on to something else.
Wreckateer is broken out into a set of linear locations, which in total represent a city. It's requisite to complete each stage with at least a bronze medal to move on; however, completing all locations in a city with a gold medal will net one extra bonus stage.
During the early levels, the process is fairly straightforward. You line up the most basic cannonball shot and knock down buildings. Midflight you can tweak the trajectory of the projectile using a special set of gauntlets (aka waving motions with your hands). As you move along, you eventually unlock some new projectiles that offer extra control.
The spread shot allows you to break the cannonball into pieces and direct each piece's trajectory with your spread arms. It's quite fun and easy to use – the resulting destruction even more satisfying. The same goes for the flying shot, which allows you to pilot the cannonball straight to its destination. In both cases, the Kinect is extremely responsive and perfectly directing the shrapnel is a cinch.
Where Wreckateer really starts to get interesting is in the later levels. Instead of being provided just one flavor of shot in a round, you're granted many and must place each one appropriately to create the most destruction. As such, utilizing each shot properly in the sequence provided is like a puzzle in and of itself. Additionally, various environmental items are added that will both change the trajectory and properties of your cannonball – these too must be leveraged properly to meet the level medal scores.
What's especially nice is just how forgiving the whole experience is. The Kinect isn't always perfect and neither is your judgment, so if you mess up a single shot, you needn't fear. Mulligans are provided in abundance, allowing you to frequently redo shots to get things just right.
Wreckateer's integration with Avatar FameStar and online leaderboards also works in its favor. There are a wide variety of FameStar specific achievements to unlock, which actually provide some real rewards (for your avatar). Leaderboards should keep you striving for higher scores long after you've completed the 50+ levels in the main quest.
Though Wreckateer is a well-engineered game, it's a one-trick pony. The levels change, but the objectives remain consistent and many levels in the game aren't particularly challenging. In the appropriate environment, the experience can be a blast, but playing alone will quickly grow tiresome.
However, if you're looking for a great game for your languishing Kinect, look no further than Wreckateer. Though not quite of the caliber of something like Boom Blox, this destruction-based game is a good fun in the company of friends and family.