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A new Kinect blockbuster: Wreckateer

8:20 AM on 03.05.2012 // Dale North

Take the flinging action of Angry Birds and the chained destruction of Boom Blox, add Kinect control and you'll have some idea of what Iron Galaxy's upcoming title Wreckateer is like. It's castle-busting game play is really easy to get into, but getting the most destructive bang for your bomb takes a bit of work.   

Wreckateer has you working as the demolition man of an unconventional medieval destruction company. You'll work to take down dozens of old, monster infested castles with unique projectiles shot from a huge ballista. In each stage you're given a set number of shots, and you'll send them off into these castles to pull in the highest score by doing as much damage as possible. 

Wreckateer (Xbox 360)
Developer: Iron Galaxy
Publisher: Microsoft Games
Release: Spring 2012

In Wreckateer, shot aiming and firing is done with hand and body motions using the Kinect sensor. Stepping farther back from the sensor increases shot power, and stepping left or right from center will turn the ballista for general aim. Angle approach aiming is done by holding clasped hands in front of your body and fine tuning of aim is possible with adjustments of hand height. Arms thrown wide open fires the projectile into the castle, hopefully knocking critical hole in its structure. It all feels very natural, and the aiming is more precise than you'd think it would be.

The standard shooting is fun, but it's the post-shot control makes Wreckateer a bit more exciting than games where you're stuck simply watching your result. At any time players are able to wave their hands to guide the projectile, enabling them to fine tune their shot for maximum damage. Waving hands from one side to the other pushes the flying projectile in the opposite direction; pushing upward or downward with both hands will provide lift or push. Through frantic hand waving I was able to make a rough shot a winner, guiding projectiles directly into targets, explosives or weak points. Advanced players will learn to be good enough to guide shots over walls, through doors, and around corners.

Iron Galaxy used Kinect to add neat special abilities to some shot types. For example, one shot can split into four separate, smaller projectiles that can be controlled in a line. To split them the player would open their arms out wide and then keep them out, raising and lowering them to guide the line of projectiles into the target. An explosive shot lets you choose when you'd like it to detonate, with wide arms opening being the trigger.  The most useful special shot turns into a small winged airship; the player can freely guide it to the target using outstretched arms.

Wreckateer does destruction well, with big, crumbling chain wrecks reminding me of the complexity of the Boom Blox titles. There are also targets within targets to The castles are all laced with explosives that will set off a huge chain reaction if hit correctly, making for stages that invite a bit of exploration. All of the various motions required to aim and take shots makes this title the most physical of its type, but they also greatly increase the level of control available, and that makes it a deeper title than those bird flinging games. From what I've played so far, Wreckateer is worth getting off the couch for. 

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
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