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Published August 9th 2012
Wreckateer provides a vibrant, fun world kids will love
Wreckateer is my first official venture into the world of motion gaming on Xbox 360, through the wonder that is Kinect. This game is an Xbox 360 exclusive title from the Summer of Arcade line-up of 2012. Wreckateer places you as the newest employee in a wrecking company. You are known only as Rock Polisher, a nickname given to you by your two associates Tinker and Wreck Wreckington. They are with you throughout the game, to guide you through the levels and to give you additions to your arsenal as you go. Your task is to destroy castles which have become infested with goblins. And how to fix them? You guessed it, to wreck them.
The style of gameplay is easy to become familiar with. You reach forward to load your "trebuchet", the main weapon used against these giant castles, step back to give it the amount of power needed and then spread your arms to release the shot. While the shot is in flight you are able to use your hands to spin the shot to add precision. This is where it can become problematic; at times I wanted to rapidly spin the shot to hit a certain target, but when returning my hand back to make the gesture again the game would pick it up as if I was spinning the shot in the opposite direction
The game gives you a tonne of new additions to your arsenal; from shots allowing you to spread your arms to fly them through to level, shots that require extra lift by raising your arms and bomb shots to, well, blow everything up of course. The range of shots is extensive, yet because these additions were all provided so early on in the game, the end portion of the game becomes repetitive.
With no more new variations of gameplay, the levels do become stale. Not to take away from the gameplay itself, as silly as you may look flying a shot through the level, hitting a target miles away whilst dodging objects never gets old. One thing Wreckateer really nails is the fun factor; while this is not the way I usually play games it was a blast to play when the game worked.
The style itself is very vibrant, though you may be destroying castle after castle whilst smashing goblins in the face. The game keeps up the "younger gamer" vibe very well, from the very catchy and cheerful melodies and the simple yet visually entertaining levels. Even your companions Tinker and Wreck try to keep the mood going by adding their own brand of comedy before levels. It may not have been my kind of comedy, but I can see children really having a good time listening to their jokes and interesting comments. Wreckateer is a two sided coin; it is enough of a challenge to keep hardcore gamers interested but also provides for the gamer who just wants a quick fun-filled time and then to move on.
You will not be introduced to any kind of deep narrative; this games central theme is gameplay, which is fine. But this means there is no deep reason to care about what you are doing, you will end up trying the level until you get one of the medals allowing you to move onto the next castle and then forget about the level previously.
There are no levels that stand out in my mind as I think back, the score charts do not provide great incentive to go back and try to beat previous scores. The main campaign containing 50 levels can take around 5 hours to complete. These levels can be quite challenging, a feature that I enjoyed immensely. Beating the later levels require thought and precision in your shots, using the correct designated shot for certain areas of the level really make the game interesting. Plus the feeling of finally beating that difficult level never gets old.
The main issue with Wreckateer came after completing the level 9-5. This was a very challenging level in its own right and after completing it I was ready to hit the last 5 castles with gusto. The game then froze. The music was still playing and I was able to enter menus and restart the level, but it would not push me forward to the next world. This pretty much made the last world unplayable. This is an issue that definitely needs to be fixed and I am very surprised no one in testing encountered this error.
Wreckateer is a fun experience, although playing this game in front of your friends may end in your ego being completely wrecked (pun intended). When the game responds well it feels good, but when there are errors in your motions communicating with Kinect, frustrations tend to occur. Though there is no way to tell if this was the game or Kinect's fault this is definitely something to consider before purchase.
This is not a game meant to be played for a great deal of time, you are meant to jump in have some fun and move on. This is not necessarily a negative attribute, but for gamers looking for a deeper experience with their titles this may not be what you are after. The vibrant game world makes playing through the levels a delight. The varied gameplay may dip towards the latter half of the game but the challenge within each level will make you want to continue playing and make those pesky goblins wish they had never been born.