As the gaming market broadens developers are trying their hardest to cater to the largest demographic of gamers, the casual players. The way to do that is usually with easily accessible games that are very simple to play. With easy to learn controls and enough polish, a casual game will really stand out from the crowd.
Wreckateer, an XBLA Kinect title recently released in this year’s Summer of Arcade promotion is exactly that. It’s an easily accessible game with simple controls and a fun premise. While watching my wife play, I heard her squee just a little bit and exclaim, “It’s 3D Angry Birds, except we get to destroy castles and goblins.” Well, there isn’t much difference between the pigs of Angry Birds and the Goblins of Wreckateer. They are both fat and green.
The presentation of the game is very bright and colorful. The characters almost remind me of some of the goofballs you meet as you travel through the game Fable. Outside of the Goblins and the guides Wreck and Tinker, there isn’t anyone else in the world that you need to meet. The only foes are the goblins, and to get rid of them you demolish the numerous castles.
The kinect controls are VERY precise and tight. The smallest movement left or right when you are aiming the ballista is easily picked up and everything feels natural. Some of the gestures the game has will make you feel a little silly while playing, but who cares. The gestures are simple swatting motions, throwing your hands in the air to activate the special shots and even pretending you are a plane for the flying shot. The game is extremely fun, and you get to destroy things. While simple, it does take some skill and planning to get extra points and bonus icons on a shot.
There were a couple of minor glitches with the controls when playing the offline multiplayer mode. The way it works is that the first player takes a shot and then the second player does. As we were switching back and forth, sometimes the game would freak out a little bit, and activate the ballista. Fortunately, they did put in a feature that you have move a certain way, opening up your arms, to get the ballista to fire after it’s been activated, so it never fired on it own. In single player, if something like this happens, restarting the level or using one of the many mulligans won’t set things back to far.
For 800 Microsoft Points (about 10USD) the game does have a lot to offer. There are a ton of castles to destroy, very detailed leaderboards, and more little bonus icons to earn than one could ever imagine. It also uses the new Avatar Famestar App that helps you earn rewards for you avatar. Right now it only has one game mode, destroying the castles, but that is more than enough to keep you entertained over the summer. In the main menu of the game, there is a DLC section that has me wondering what kind of treats are on the horizon for this game.
Overall, if you have a Kinect, Wreckateer is totally worth the purchase. I am having a blast with it, and I find it to be oddly relaxing destroying the castles. There were times where I would go back to replay levels just to make sure that I am still the top score out of all of my friends.