The Wreckateer Brings Simple And Fun Kinect Controls To XBLA
by Dan Ryckert on Mar 05, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios
Rating: Everyone
Platform: Xbox 360

Microsoft has been pushing Kinect since its release, but only a few of the peripheral's titles are available outside of a retail purchase. Developer Iron Galaxy is bringing The Wreckateer to the downloadable service, and it's inspired by simple physics-based games like Boom Blox and Angry Birds. With simple and appropriate gesture controls, I came away from my demo thinking it was one of the better uses of Kinect that I've seen.

The concept is one that's been seen before: send a thing flying at another thing, and rack up points by destroying as much of the latter thing as you possibly can. You take on the role of an employee of the Wreck & Tinker Destruction Company, and you're tasked with bringing down massive medeval structures via the use of a giant ballista.

To send your payload flying, you have to clasp your hands together, move to the left and right to aim, raise or lower your hands to adjust your vertical angle, and release to let the cannonball fly. Once launched, you can swipe at your airborne projectile to influence the direction it travels in. Power-ups and point bonuses float in mid-air, and you can really earn big points if you travel through these on the way to your destination.

An assortment of special projectiles helps to mix up the action, and they add an element of strategy to the destruction. One level had four separate towers, and I received a power-up that allowed me to split my mid-air ball by raising my hands. Once I did this, it split into four and I could move my arms to further influence the placement of the projectiles. Done correctly, a player could take down four towers with one well-aimed shot. Other power-ups give your payload explosive power or the ability to sprout wings and fly. The latter proved to be greatly useful, as I was able to fly through numerous point bonuses before finally crashing into the castle.

Microsoft may have focused on bigger-budget titles at the Spring Showcase event, but I actually came away more impressed with The Wreckateer than the other Kinect offerings. Its lower price and responsive gesture-based controls made it more interesting to me than the linear Kinect Star Wars and questionable motion controls of Steel Battalion.