3 Reviews


The second-best XBLA game about crashing castles

Wreckateer is a game whose appeal is rooted in the fundamental human truth that smashing stuff to bits is brilliant fun. It's essentially a Kinect-powered first-person Angry Birds - the main differences being that you're using a ballista rather than a slingshot and your objective is to bring down the structures that house your green-skinned foe (here it's goblins rather than pigs) than the smirking enemy themselves. It's a decent idea, but it lacks the immediacy of Rovio's game while sharing all of its flaws.

At least the controls aren't an issue. It feels like damning a game with faint praise to say its controls work, but it's an important distinction to make when it comes to Kinect. To fire a shot, you step forward, clasp your hands together and step backwards, adjusting your aim by moving left and right or holding your hands higher or lower. To release the projectile you spread your arms, before influencing its trajectory while airborne. For standard missiles it's a case of moving a pair of onscreen hands to pat it in any direction, while a winged shot can be steered by holding your arms out like an aeroplane. Sure, it's best played with the curtains shut, but you'll rarely be left cursing Kinect.


There are plenty of ways to increase your shot tally, with various score-boosting icons and myriad bonuses, from taking out a castle with a bouncing shot to setting off three explosive charges in a single turn. Medal targets are easy to pass at first - you should get gold for the first kingdom without any trouble - and you'll earn a mulligan for every three goblins you kill, giving you the chance to redo any duff shots. Throw in some of the most gloriously awful voice work ever - we think your host is meant to be Scottish, but his accent slips into Geordie and Irish on occasion - and the first couple of chapters are surprisingly good fun.

Sadly, it runs out of ideas by the halfway point (there's no online play), offering little more than increasingly steep medal targets that put you at the mercy of the game's rather inconsistent physics. Worse still, some levels have very rigid solutions, which sit awkwardly next to the knockabout, anything-goes approach of the early game. By this stage you're left with a one-trick pony that's too stubborn to do the one thing it's good at any more. What a pity.

Words by Chris Schilling. Tempted despite the downers? Buy Wreckateer here for 800 MP.

The verdict

Fleetingly entertaining, but soon runs out of firepower

  • Kinect controls work perfectly
  • Early stages are knockabout fun
  • Voice acting so bad it's good
  • Very repetitive
  • Frustrating in its later stages
Action, Puzzle