With summer now officially in full swing, Xbox Live’s annual Summer of Arcade event was kicked off last week as Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD skated in to our homes only to have the physics based Kinect-specific title, Wreckateer, explode this week on XBLA. Developed by Iron Galaxy Studios and published by Microsoft Studios, Wreckateer is a Kinect-only title that turns you in to the controller this time around as you shoot, glide and bomb your way through 60+ levels for a wrecking good time.
With the help of your new employers, Wreck and Tinker, you’ll travel the land to demolish 60 levels of Goblin-infested castles across the Kingdom. Armed with a large castle-wrecking ballista and 6 different types of ammo, you’ll learn the ways of the Wreckateer as you blast occupied castles and nasty goblins to smithereens.
Being that you control the entire game with Kinect, you’ll find the game is very easy to just pick up and play in an instant. You control and fire your giant ballista by stepping forward, dragging back the shot with your hands and then firing by opening your arms to let the shot fly. You can also aim your shot by sidestepping left and right with the ballista still pulled taut, or by leaning and ducking up and down to adjust the height of the shot.
As you progress through the game, different types of more powerful ammo will become accessible to use. The basic ammo you start off with will let you adjust your shot in the air by swiping left and right or up and down with virtual on-screen hands. This ammo is fine when learning to play the game, but the real fun begins when you access other special ammo as you progress. Utilize an arsenal of exploding, flying, splitting and rocketing speed shots to explore the unlimited ways you can wreak havoc with Wreckateer’s fully dynamic destruction.
Speaking of destruction, I was pretty excited when I found out this title was going to be a pretty heavy physics based destruction game. Each and every structure you encounter can and should be destroyed in the game by placing a well-aimed shot at the weak points in the structure. That being said, the actual physics can be a little iffy and spotty once you get down to destroying castles and taking on goblins. Topple a large tower and you’d expect the rubble and debris to set off a domino effect with nearby portions of still standing castle, right? Not so much here for some reason as castles and towers just don’t topple convincingly and the physics are never consistent. I found it a little frustrating when an action that should have started a chain reaction of destruction only knocks down a single tower. Only through occasional shear dumb luck, your debris will sometimes trigger well placed explosive charges that will then trigger other surrounding charges causing more than one portion of the castle or tower to collapse.
Although I was a little disappointed in the physics, the same could not be said for the Kinect and how well the game controlled when using it. I’ve been one to not have many problems when it came to the Kinect and picking up my movements and commands, but I’ve heard the horror stories from other gamers and the issues they’ve encountered when playing Kinect. I have to say that even though I normally don’t have issues, I still encounter occasional lag in the a few Kinect games well after I’ve made my movements. After playing with and giving some time to Wreckateer, the lag that I’ve encountered in past Kinect titles is non-existent and input from my movements was instant. I figured that someday some developer would get how to get the Kinect to be as responsive as a wired controller, but I didn’t think it’d be a Summer of Arcade title. I have to give props to Iron Galaxy for taking the time and effort to create a game that works almost flawlessly with Kinect.
Wreckateer is not the most exhaustingly hard to use game or the best in the library of Summer of Arcade titles, but as I played a much longer gaming session with my kids I found the game irresistibly hard to put down despite some of the physics when trying to topple some of the castles and its towers. Easy to pick up controls and game play, combined with colorful graphics and fun, albeit flawed physics based destruction, this 3D shooter is a pretty fun and addictive purchase at 800 Microsoft Points.
A review code for the Wreckateer for Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review by Iron Galaxy Studios.