Better check yourself….
As the sole Kinect title in this year's Summer of Arcade, Iron Galaxy's Wreckateer has more or less slipped under everyone's radar. It didn't help that it was priced at just $10 too—the rest of the XBLA game lineup is comprised of $15 titles. But in a way, that's also a good thing.
When it comes to Kinect, the Wii remote, or the PlayStation Move, it's good to keep your expectations low. Motion gaming can be extremely hit or miss. Perhaps by emulating one of the most successful mobile games, Wreckateer can buck the trend and prove worthy of your time.
Of course, "worthy of your time" is a subjective statement that likely means something different for you than it does for me. Maybe you really like the Kinect. I had just finished cursing my Kinect and the last game I played on it. Having buried Microsoft's motion camera in a box somewhere, I bemoaned having to play this game.
I also bemoaned moving my furniture, as you'll probably need quite a bit of space for Wreckateer. Iron Galaxy sets players down in a 3D Angry Birds pallete swap. The ogres littering the brick structures you'll be destroying are green caricatures who make noises that sound just like the Angry Birds pigs.
To put it plainly, I expected trash. Everything about this game screams "lazy", "bullshit", "Kinect" (which for some is a vulgarity unto itself), and "garbage". But somehow, it's actually quite entertaining to play.
In the same vein of Peggle, Wreckateer is all about wracking up huge scores and seeing numbers pop up on-screen with tons of bells and whistles. How else would we know we were doing something right?
Of course, what eventually makes Peggle an exercise in repetition is the way many of the balls you shoot fail to differ in any way apart from the avatar's special ability. In steps Angry Birds, armed with its barebones-bird, splitting-bird, bomb-bird, and more. Taking this mechanic to heart, Iron Galaxy just needed to make it work with Kinect and create some art.
Aspiring wreckateers will utilize the flying shot, which allows you to steer your shot after firing by spreading your wings and banking left and right. You've also got a lift shot which skips like a stone on water on your command. Other shots round out the toolbox, including the speed shot and basic shot, but you get the gist.
Now all you need to do is demolish every building. This is as easy as it gets. I hate Angry Birds, half because of the threat it apparently poses to the rest of the industry, but also because it's so stupid and dull and…. I kind of suck at it. I really get angry!
Wreckateer did not make me angry one bit. If it were a movie, it would win the Oscar for Least Threatening Film. The difficulty does ramp up, but transforming Rovio's 2D physics puzzler into 3D space with an wide, expansive castle means that precision doesn't matter much. Every castle has more than several weakpoints to aim at for large scores.
In the end, Wreckateer has all the hassle of the Kinect, all the smoke-up-your-ass style of Peggle, all the gameplay of Angry Birds, and a little Shrek-style humor for good measure. Turns out that's not all bad…. There's your back of the box quote…. "Not all bad."