When the Kinect (or Project Natal) was first announced, I actually got excited. Microsoft showed off some remarkable content that had never really been seen in any technological medium, let alone video games. Unfortunately, barely any of those projects actually came to fruition (RIP, Milo) and all of the tech that is packed into the Kinect is rarely used to produce anything other than dance games and the kind of casual fare that have made the Nintendo Wii a glorified bookend in most homes worldwide. Granted, Harmonix's Dance Central series is fun and Rare's Kinect Sports games have their moments of glee, but have any of you Kinect owners put either of those games in your Xbox 360 recently? I sure know I have not. We will get something great on the $150 console accessory. Double Fine's Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster and Double Fine Happy Action Theater make you think your investment in the Kinect is totally worth it and games like Twisted Pixel's The Gunstringer and Q Entertainment's Child of Eden (which does not need the Kinect) are well worth your time and money. But rarely do we get a game that one can see playing outside of half an hour. Which brings us to Wreckateer.
Long story short, Wreckateer is a physics-based destruction game set in a Medieval-era kingdom infested with goblins. You play a character – your avatar – who graduates from the job of a rock polisher to wreckateer, one who destroys castles infested with the goblins by launching shots with a special sligshot catapult – the Ballista. Your trainers and fellow wreckateers are Wreck Wreckington, the greatest wreckateer in all the land, and Tinker, a former mage who constructs all your special shots and icons. Each special shot has a different method of control and destruction. There's the Flying Shot – which you can control not only its pitch and yaw, but also level of destruction by taking it up high and quickly diving into the right spot – the Split Shot – that can split into four smaller shots, which you can control, and take out a wider area – the Explosive Shot – which will explode on activation or on contact – and many other shots that you can use to plan out the perfect method of destruction.
The king has hired you to destroy all the goblin-infested castles around the kingdom and he wants you to do well. You are scored in the same fashion as an Olympian: Bronze, Silver or Gold medallions are bestowed upon you based on how many points are received with each shot used. Depending on your destruction, you will also increase your multiplier (2x, 3x, 4x, etc.), which will help you get to that coveted Gold medallion. After every province you visit, he evaluates your level of destruction and gives you a medallion rating for the province. There are nine provinces with four or five castles per province, so there is plenty of destruction to be had in this overly infested kingdom. And you are not just working to beat your own score in this game. All castle already have a high score present on each castle. The owner of these high scores in none other than your teacher, Wreck Wreckington. If you think hitting the Gold is hard, wait till you try to beat his high score. This reviewer was only able to beat his score once on a single castle. This als
o means that this is not only not the first time that these castles have been infected by goblins, but that they are re-building these castles exactly the same, brick-for-brick. Apparently, all the king's architects and engineers are not that bright.
For the most part, the game works brilliantly. You may occasionally run into a hiccup or two while playing, but the game is for the Kinect, after all. It is never a bad idea to re-tune your Kinect every few weeks or so, anyway. You can never be too sure that it hasn't been moved. Like most Kinect games, it will have you moving across your room, flailing your arms about and causing others in your household to wonder if you have gone mad. Of course, when you do mess up a shot, there is no other controller to throw at the wall than yourself. After all, with Kinect, YOU are the controller. That said, this reviewer, nor Comics Bulletin or Infinite Ammo, recommend that you throw your body against a wall. Not unless you plan on filming it and giving us permission to put it on our YouTube channel. We hear the Internet enjoys videos of that ilk quite a bit.
The one problem with this game is the same that exist with most games for Kinect and, in many cases, Xbox LIVE Arcade: longevity. Most games on Kinect are forgettable and Wreckateer does not escape that. That does not mean that the game is not fun. Frankly, considering it was the game I was least excited for in the Xbox LIVE "Summer of Arcade" 2012 lineup, I was remarkably surprised with Wreckateer. That said, the game is essentially throw away in nature. It has been referred to since its announcement as “Angry Birds for Kinect”. I could not think of a better comparison to this game. It is fun, but I had to force myself to not turn it off after twenty minutes. Not because I was tired from moving around my living room like a background cast member of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but because my interest in the game waned.
What truly worries me is that I have seen many say that a game like Wreckateer is exactly the game that Kinect was designed for. All I can say is, if that is true, then the Kinect just wasn't designed for me.