What do you get when you combine the popular iOS game Crush the Castle with Kinect? The Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade title Wreckateer from developer Iron Galaxy.
The premise of this fantasy-genre title is quite simple: wreck the castle in front of you by launching various hard objects at them. Why are you destroying various castles? Well, they all seems have goblin infestations and bringing the castles to the ground seems like the most logical way of fixing the problem.
The one and only way to demolish the castles is by launching glorified rocks and other blunt objects at the structures by using an over-sized slingshot. Players start with what is basically a small boulder, then move up to shots that explode, divide into multiple smaller boulders, are steerable, and so on. Between the slingshot and the castle are targets that can add extra points to the player's destruction score or properties to the shot. While the core of what the player does doesn't change much over the game's fifty some-odd levels, what variety is there is enough to make the game seem deeper than it really is. Even then, levels will still begin to feel redundant after an hour or so of play. Luckily, things feel fresh and new when resuming play a day or two later.
The Kinect-interfaced controls are quite simple to learn and master, though players with a smaller living room may have some difficulty executing them all. While, front to back, the game doesn't require more than a few feet (used to pull back the slingshot), it does require quite a few feet left to right to aim. By more than a few feet, I mean that I needed more lateral play space than my 90" sofa is wide.
The art style in Wreckateer can best be described as fun. It's cartoony in nature (as is the writing) and is the best part of the game's presentation package. The game's audio is average at best with forgettable voice acting for the game's few characters (it's a good thing that they don't talk much once beyond the tutorial levels) and sound effects are slightly better than canned. Not all of the game's animations are clean, however, as there were some brief freezes in the video during play. I'm not sure if it's a frame rate issue or simply animation playback problems, but it's not something that should be in a finished product this simple.
Wreckateer offers limited local multiplayer in addition to its six-hour single player mode. The goal is simple, with the winner simply being the player with the highest destruction score. It's entertaining....for a little while. After a couple of games, though, players start losing interest. Still, it could fun as a drinking game.
One of the better Kinect titles available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Wreckateer is a good option for casual gamers -- especially considering its low price (800 Microsoft points). The game might lose its appeal after a while, but it's one of those that should be good for killing a half hour or so per play.
Final Game Guys grade: B-
(Microsoft provided a copy of this game for review.)