Wreckateer-Xbox-360-Review Wreckateer Xbox 360 Review

   25/07/2012 at 12:31       Jason Wilson       5 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Wreckateer, Kinect, Xbox 360, XBLA, Puzzle

First things first, is Wreckateer an Angry Birds but in 3D rip-off? No it’s not. It’s a Crush the Castle but in 3D rip-off, which is fine with me as Armor Games’ title is a much better game than Rovio’s. Now that’s out of the way the plot: you are a trainee at the Wreck & Tinker company, tasked with the demolition of goblin infested castles as they’re cluttering up the place using a ballista and differing types of ammo and, er, that’s it. So a strong narrative isn’t something you’d expect from a Kinect, throw things at buildings and knock them over game and you don’t get one, but it does its job quite nicely and the comments from your employers as you succeed or fail at your task are quite amusing.

So as this is a Kinect only title obviously the controls are terrible and it’s a completely missed opportunity so you may as well skip to the end, see the score and write some comment about how Microsoft are killing gaming by inflicting a big EyeToy on gamers.

Except… that would be wrong. The controls actually do work for a change! So how do they work? First off you’ll be manually loading and cocking the ballista, to do that you step forward towards the Kinect with your hands extended together, then you “pull” back by stepping backward and pull your arms back, it feels quite naturally fairly quickly. You then aim by moving your hands up and down and sidestepping (you will need a bit of Kinect space for this part), the ballista moves around and you’ll get a handy flash on screen of what part of the scene you’re aiming at, depending on ammunition loaded. Happy with where you’re aiming? Well it’s time to release your shot, throw out your arms sideways and it’s released.

While your shot is arcing its way towards your target you can apply some after touch using your hands and your “wreaking gauntlets”, swipe over it with your right hand you’ll push it slightly left for example, “push” it up with both hands and you’ll gain some height, it works quite well and subtlety certainly works better than going mental.

There’s one last action that will have an effect on your destructive action, activation, this is done by shoving your arms in the air like you’re cheering and is dependent on what ammo you’re provided with. There are six different ammo types: basic, split, bomb, speed, lift and flying. Basic shot is just that, nothing to activate it’s just a big ball, split shot when activated, splits (surprisingly enough) into 4 smaller shots that your direct as if you had them dangling in a line between your hands. Bomb shots have a large explosive effect, either activated by yourself or after a few seconds if it hits something, speed, a long range but less powerful ammo, activate it and it’ll go flying like a bullet, lift shot has short range but you can activate it three times to gain extra height. Lastly there’s my favourite, the flying shot. Fire this one off, activate it and then extend your arms like wings and act like a bird and direct it, you’ll look pretty silly but when you’ve dived bombed (flying shots do more damage the faster they’re going) into a castle and blown it sky high you won’t care!

So that’s basically the game, see castle, blow up castle, kill goblins and get score for 60 levels. Add in extra point icons to hit, power up shields with things like explosive effects, goblins riding balloons, goblins wearing bunny ears (which is a bit odd), explosives charges that are in place to blow up and hope your destruction multiplier increases and that’s your lot. So it’s a simple game but it’s not an easy game, as you progress the difficulty ramps up and you’ll have to regularly retry levels to score highly, fortunately restarting is nice and quick and if you just mess up one shot you get a mulligan for every three goblins you splatter and you’ll need them.

As it’s a Kinect game I got my eight year old niece to play the game with me, we took turns on each level seeing how it played and we enjoyed ourselves. It works very well and she’s still playing the game, which is a good sign.

So the 800 Microsoft point question, is this a good Kinect game or a bad Kinect game? Well considering how much fun I’ve had playing it it’s obviously the former. The other important question is does it really need Kinect? Now that’s a bit more tricky, while it’s a lot of fun using Kinect for a game where it works well would it be impossible to do with a controller? Well I’d say that’s a no, I don’t think it would take much to have it work on controller and if it worked with both it would surely sell better?

This isn’t another Joy Ride however and it does work very nicely with Kinect and it’s a lot of fun, if you’ve got a Kinect and 800 spare points this should be on your download list on Wednesday.

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