Point Review: Wreckateer (360/Kinect)

August 9th, 2012 by (Niels Witbraad)

Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Puzzle-action
Players: 1
Console: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) 

Price: 800 Microsoft Points

In one of the latest Xbox Live Arcade games for Microsoft Kinect, the player takes control of a ballista and fires a variety of different projectiles at the Goblin hordes that have taken over the kingdom. Taking no half measures the goblins make it clear they are there to stay by erecting elaborate walls, towers and castles to hide behind. Being the newest apprentice in a medieval wrecking company, it is your job to destroy as much of the green skins’ structures as possible, guiding the projectiles with your arms as they are being hurled from your siege weapon.

  • Each stage consists of a 3D rendering of assorted structures, mostly homes surrounded by walls, towers and castles among which your goblin adversaries boldly taunt you as they await the shelling.
  • Different projectiles are at the the player’s disposal, all with different destructive characteristics. Some explode while activated, others unfold wings for precision manoeuvring. 
  • The more buildings the player “wrecks” with each shot, the higher the score and the better the medals you earn.
  • Bouncing shots off the ground, hitting bonus targets scattered around the level and taking down multiple targets at once are all rewarded with bonus points.
  • The player uses his or her upper body to grab and crank the ballista, fire the projectile, and once it is in the air, guide it to its target.
  • Motion control accuracy is solid and shines most brightly when guiding the flying projectile. By extending the arms outwards and moving them left, right, up and down your rock will gently soar to the desired destination.  

  • Cutesy art style with avatar support. I mean you can’t get much more adorable than a goblin dressed up in a bunny outfit. You almost feel guilty smashing them, and the rocks they stand on to bits… almost.
  • Destructible environments with dynamic damage modelling. Towers and walls tumble to the ground in realistic fashion and impact the structures around them as they are hit. 
  • Rough-looking textures and 3D models. Structures lack detail and have sharp edges. Textures are plain and low-res.
  • Not a lot of variety in the environments. Although each stage has different lay-outs for the buildings, the backgrounds and environmental models look very similar and frequently get recycled.

  • Basic sound effects and predictable music considering the setting of the game.
  • Voice acting is serviceable but overall the audio presentation does not stand out as anything special

  • Wreckateer taps into that primordial urge to break things. Not unlike a 3D version of Angry Birds, Wreckateer creates glorious destruction courtesy of dynamite strapped to walls, exploding rocks and toppling buildings.
  • 50 stages provide a lengthy experience, especially when you consider the challenge of going for the gold medal on each one, or harder yet, beating the developer’s high score.
  • Unfortunately tedium kicks in much too quickly. While each stage provides a different building layout, the player is essentially doing the same thing every time. Once a rock has been launched, you have limited impact on the trajectory of the projectile (unless you are dealing with the flying rock), you can swat the rock from left, right, up or down but that is about it.
  • Aside from launching, triggering and guiding (in a limited fashion) the projectiles, player involvement is fairly minimal, contributing to boredom after longer play sessions.

Wreckateer plays into the primordial human urge to simply break things. The 3D environments do a good job of providing a suitable playground to create some mayhem. Unfortunately there is not enough variety and diversity in the actions required by the player to hold one’s attention for very long. As such Wreckateer is best enjoyed in short bursts and then mainly by people who have been craving the Angry Birds experience but in 3D, courtesy of Microsoft Kinect.

 Rated 6.0

A review copy of this game was provided to us by its publisher.