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Wreckateer establishes its own little world early on as it introduces you to two good old fellows who work for a mediaeval destruction company, and you’re the newcomer so they are your teachers. And by teachers I mean comedy devices. Sure, they help you through the tutorial but they’re the heart of every interaction found within the game, occasionally popping little slights at each other and making witty comments about the stage you have to destroy. Why are you destroying all these buildings you ask? They’re infested with goblins, why else?
This premise establishes the heart of the whole Wreckateer experience, and that is the shots. The shots range from a simple bomb shot all the way to a split shot which you control by holding your arms out like a bird and navigating four bombs that are in between your left and right hand. Another shot is the Flying Shot, which you control by actually pretending to be a bird. Not necessarily flapping your wings (sadly), but holding your arms out and gliding like an airplane. These shots are activated simply by holding your arms up like you’re the Y in the YMCA. Also, if you muck up a shot real bad you can raise your left hand and call a mulligan, which allows you to redo the shot. Or if you completely messed everything up, raise your right hand to perform a quick restart of the whole level. All of this controls magnificently and is the refreshing and unique flavor that keeps the excitement in Wreckateer going from beginning to end.
One thing I was rather surprised to find was that the length of Wreckateer was quite long. There are ten locations, each holding five levels, which obviously adds up to fifty levels in all. The difficulty doesn’t make Wreckateer any cakewalk, either. You have to at least score bronze on each level and while it may sound simple, later stages force you to perform your shots in a certain way, leaving no room for error. On top of that, finding that certain way takes many failed turns to achieve.
One issue, though it should be fixed before long, was on level 9-5. When I would fail the level and attempt a quick restart or even try to attempt a mulligan during the level, it would not allow me to finish, even if I had lost. So, I had played the level attempting to find exactly what I needed to do for about 30 minutes, then found it. But once I got the bronze I needed, I could not continue on because the game locked up on the last screen, forcing me to restart back to the main menu entirely. I’m thinking this is just an odd bug that will be worked out soon, but if it spreads onto other levels, it could kill the momentum and excitement the game builds up along its lifespan.
The cartoony art style that Wreckateer goes for, and achieves, really highlights the whimsicalness of the whole game. Trolls hang on balloons, wear dresses, etc. and of course, things destroy pretty nicely. It’s not the most beautiful destruction in a game (take a breath, Red Faction Guerilla, you still hold that achievement), but it’s good enough. Also, taking the legs out of a building with a speed shot (shot that fires itself forwards, destroying almost everything in its path) then watching the whole thing topple over, taking out other buildings on its way down, is just as satisfying as you would hope. Once everything does start falling apart, the framerate does take a bit of a hit. This is understandable due to the amount of madness happening on screen but can still be a nuisance at times.
As previously mentioned, most of the Kinect controls work flawlessly in Wreckateer, which is not something you can say for most Kinect games. Launching shots, loading shots, and controlling shots, it all feels great and just how you’d expect. The one issue I found is that once a shot is in the air, you can wave it in different directions using your hands, which is a solid idea, but it’s hampered by the fact that occasionally the Kinect won’t recognize which way you’re swiping, leading it to swipe the wrong way which can completely mess up your shot. This issue isn’t a game breaker but the few times it does arise, it can have you spouting a curse word or two.
Multiplayer in Wreckateer is rather simple, you and a friend get together in one room and take turns destroying your own respective castle, acquiring points along the way in a head to head match. Though it is very simple, it works. Matches typically stay very close until the very end and can be determined by just one wrong move, leaving you to have to think about every shot you take very carefully. I truly wish Iron Galaxy would have developed further onto the multiplayer, though it is fun how it is, but adding more modes which could make for endless hours of goblin destroying.
While this isn’t the hardest thing to achieve, Wreckateer is one of the best Kinect games currently on the market. It’s accessible to all and just plain works, while also being a hell of a good time. It’s not the deepest game, nor is it the most technically proficient, but you’d be crazy to not enjoy the simple but exciting pleasures found within Wreckateer.
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