The game is quite aptly compared to a 3D “Angry Birds”, however it is also much more than that.
The games premise finds you working for the Wreck and Tinker Company; a company whose job entails the destruction of structures throughout the land. You are given the chance by your employers to become a full Wreckateer and partake in their newest contract. They have been commissioned to destroy castles and forts that have been overridden with Goblins. These foul creatures now infest the structures and it is your duty to remove them with your tools of destruction.
The tutorial is paced and presented as on/off levels with the first few being true tutorials and then ever few levels thereon introducing new shots, icons or skills into the mix. First you are handed some special gauntlets and taught to use them; these allow you to manipulate shots mid-flight but only before they contact anything solid. They allow you to curve shots, give shots extra height and drop the shots. At first there is very little you can do with them due to the first few stages only letting you control the shots themselves but as you progress further, you will notice just how much a little nudge in the right direction can change the course of a shot.
You are soon allowed to fire shots off yourself, using the part ballista/part catapult like device. You fire it much like you would a slingshot and it one of the most fun things to do with Kinect. It is quite easy to imagine firing it in the same way you would mime firing a giant slingshot; it brings images of Wile E. Coyote to mind. You first have to step up to the catapult stretch out your arms and the walk backwards to increase the power of the shots. Moving side to side changes direction, moving arms up and down will increase or decrease height and moving your arms apart will fire the shot. You can fire at almost any power (anything but 0) and you can fire at an increased shot height which fires high up into the air but doesn’t travel far.
There is more than one type of shot and these are further augmented by the fact that shot effects also are given to breakable icons to confer abilities. While there are basic shots which have no added abilities you soon will find them being phased out gradually and quite uncommon as a shot type eventually. Flying shots can be activated in order to take control of the shot; you manoeuvre the shot by mimicking a plane’s wings with your arms to turn, rise and dive. The Split shot breaks into a chain of four shots upon activation; it is controlled in a more cumbersome way as you use your arms to create and guide the chain. It does allow you to twist the line into interesting positions but it’s difficult to work out where in the 3D space the shot is and how close to anything it is. The payoff for landing the shot well is well worth the effort if used correctly though.
The following three shots also have icons which confer their abilities to other shots. Bomb shots are pretty self-explanatory; they explode just after impact or by you activating them, they can even be detonated up to one second after impact. Lift shots have a much lower range on the initial shot but can be activated up to three times in order to boost the shot into the air; letting you jump over objects or giving you more control over the shots directions. Lastly Speed shots take off like bullets when activated; allowing them to shoot through multiple structures with ease and without losing much height as the shot penetrates objects.
At first you have a lot of hand holding during the levels with you being told exactly what to do for shots but this soon stops; only to occasionally return when something new is introduced. There is a surprising amount of variants to take into consideration on some levels, hitting a perfect line of score icons and structures may be one way of racking up points but it won’t always be the best starting shot. Your score is amplified by a multiplier that changes depending on the level of destruction kept so far. The multiplier can only increase but you will want to max it out roughly around your last shot depending on the situation and the way the level is built.
Destruction is based around a cube design so you can leave holes in things and they can be left standing. It can be a little unreliable at times with towers falling but not causing sufficient damage to other structures or just not breaking at all (leaving you without some points but the wreckage does clear before the next turn).
There are various other bonuses that can help out with score; the levels will occasionally have explosive charges that help with the demolition, as well as Hot Goblins (Goblins that float above ground, attached to balloons) which attach to your shots and detonate on impact. There are bonuses for hitting Goblins directly, making bank shots, daredevil stunts with the flying shot, detonating multiple charges and many more.
There are Goblins in plain sight around the levels and hitting three of these will allow you to mulligan the last shot you make. It is incredibly helpful when you are trying to get a perfect line, the only gripes are; that you have to use it very quickly on the last shot, else you submit your score and have to deal with any mistakes. The other issue is its one of the actions the Kinect has difficulty with.
The Kinect only has problems with a few actions: taking mulligans is one, restarting a level, and the pitch and directions with aiming are a little off at times. It usually only loses you for a brief time during these actions occasionally. Not enough to really bother you, not enough to affect the gameplay negatively but enough to be noticed and bothersome at times.
Presentation and Audio
In both presentation and audio the game sticks to a very light-hearted approach and the semi cartoony style suits the gameplay very well. The menus are very easy to navigate and you’ll be able to flick through menus and options much faster than that of most Kinect games.
There is excellent level design and it really helps the not too complex gameplay reach higher levels of complexity without alienating players. Most levels will nudge you in the right direction for high scores but there are some which have really high skill caps. The game doesn’t want you being too precise; which helps as the Kinect doesn’t always adjust quite as you want it to. The destruction can be a little frustrating though as there isn’t really any way of making things fall as you’d want them and it makes it feel a little random and limited at times.
While the concept sounds basic, the execution is invariably more in depth than imagined. The new situations lead upwards in difficulty at a pretty appropriate rate and the level design changes enough that it doesn’t get repetitive. It’s very easy to recommend and owning a Kinect, really should lead to you owning the game; it has flaws but they are very easy to overlook.
I have to admit, I underestimated the game to being with. Its visual design and gameplay betray a more complex level design and addictive high score gameplay. With the end of a level offering a shot by shot breakdown it really ramps up the competition between friends, you’ll constantly try to one-up your friends’ scores for the sake of it.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.