However, while it’s a fine Kinect game, it could be so much better. Part of the problem is that the game arguably gets less fun as it goes on. In the early stages you can simply enjoy the mass destruction while racking up the points, but the further you go into the second half of the game, the more it becomes less about simply wrecking the goblin’s joint, and more about making optimal use of hard-to-hit bonus icons and wrecking the joint in the optimal point-scoring order.
In some levels you can barely leave a stone standing, yet still lose out because you wrecked too much of the stonework before you had a chance to build up your multiplier. You’re left feeling that you can’t wreck things your way, you have to work out the way that the designers intended.
It would also be a stronger title with a more believable physics engine. It’s not just that the destruction doesn’t look right – it’s also frustrating when a tower fails to collapse even though it’s hanging on to a keep by a thread with no visible support. Sometimes structures above a point hold firm even when you’ve obliterated everything below. In a way, Angry Birds does things better, because you can predict how an object will behave if hit by a certain bird in a certain way. In Wreckateer, you can never fully predict how your actions will play out.
As a result, the game gets frustrating – even a little boring – and is best played in chunks. Come back refreshed, and you’ll start to enjoy it once again. It’s not a great-looking game, but the graphics have a certain cartoon charm, and there are some nice touches, like the way the goblins behave when a projectile zooms close-by, or that you play as your Xbox Live avatar, not some generic fantasy hero. It’s a shame that the multiplayer options are so limited, however; Wreckateer could have been an excellent deathmatch or co-op game.
Wreckateer comes close to being a great Kinect game, but dubious physics, average graphics and a tendency to lock you into one solution as the game goes on all spoil the party. All the same, all the wanton destruction is a lot of fun, the lure of a higher score addictive, and the game still has plenty of charm if played in small chunks. At 800 MS Points it’s also cheap enough to be a must-buy for anyone with Kinect. A missed opportunity, but hardly a wreck.