I’m storming your castle.
The Kinect, as a platform, doesn’t really play host to many original ideas. After seeing fifty dancing games and a hundred fitness games it should be easy to generate a little interest when you show people something different. This was Iron Galaxy’s idea with Wreckateer; we’ll show people a game about throwing things at castles and they’ll be excited because it’s not dancing or doing aerobics. Wreckateer isn’t your typical Kinect game, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t something you’ve seen before. This also doesn’t mean it can’t be a bit of fun, so let’s find out how much Wreckateer pulls from either side of this equation.
Wreckateer puts your Xbox Live Avatar in control of a very large crossbow (or ballista for those of you who want to get specific) that fires a myriad of destructive ammunition at a bunch of castles. Castles that are infested with goblins, of course. Since firing a weapon of this size, and medieval construction, requires a lot of manual labor you’ll have to get up off the couch and dust off your Kinect sensor.
Firing, and lining up, your shots requires a lot of room so make sure you have your space cleared out before you start this one. You’ll have to first step up to the ballista and grab the string, then take a step back to draw the bow. If you want to get the most power out of your shots, you’ll have to step back even further to get your bow quivering with pent up energy. I’m talking two full strides back from your normal position, so again, make sure you have enough room.
Aiming also requires quite a wide delta when aiming in far to either side, but this isn’t the only issue with directing your shots. Wreckateer has no problem tracking you, you can see your avatar moving with you on the screen, the problem is that the launcher lags heavily and will often leave you thinking your movement didn’t register. Naturally you’ll try to correct yourself only to have the weapon finally decide to process your last movement, leaving you suddenly off course.
If you do manage to get your shot lined up, some cool things can happen. There are a number of different types of shot and each level will arm you with a few different types that you’ll have to manage. Flying shot allows you to control its flight by sticking your arms out like you’re pretending to be an airplane, so naturally that one was my favorite, since I don’t get to do that enough in my real life. Just because you can direct a shot though, doesn’t mean you can just win all the time. There is a bit of strategy to Wreckateer.
The general object is to destroy as much of each castle as you can, and earn points doing so. Wreckateer is an easy game to blow through, once you’re done fighting with the controls, but getting a gold medal on each level, or the highest rank of Wreck Wreckington, is much harder. I had fun with Wreckateer, but my main complaint is that this game didn’t need to be a Kinect game. It could have been a very good mobile game, or a decent game with a controller, but it had to be rammed onto the Kinect for some reason.
There is two player, local only, multiplayer available but it isn’t very interesting. You’ll probably have more fun just playing the campaign and trading off if you have friends over. Wreckateer is also the first game to feature the new Avatar Famestar system, that is a sort of secondary achievement and social system that we really don’t have a whole lot details on, at the moment.
Wreckateer plays it safe and delivers a game that is sort of fun for a few hours, as long as you don’t mind the control lag when aiming your shots. If you like to smash things, you may want to pick this one up, but if you were looking for something that really uses the Kinect sensor, this isn’t it. I’m not trying to blame Iron Galaxy for all of the risks developers fail to take with the Kinect, or the lack of originality and innovation in Kinect titles, but they aren’t helping either.