I got to sit down with The Wreckless over the Christmas holiday which was officially released a few weeks ago, and thought I would do a little write on my experiences with the game. The Wreckless is the first game release for indie developer Duct Tape Games, and have to say not a bad first start at the space combat genre. The missions are loosely tied together with some basic plot lines or least until mission 9 where I have left off at. You start off with the basic fighter (F-95) and go though two missions or so that help you grasp flying and targeting and then you are off to much harder missions. The Wreckless gets you into the action fairly quickly and soon you are trying to stop 15 torpedoes from hitting the Admiral’s ship, fighting ace pilots and keeping certain assets alive under overwhelming odds. I think some of the most difficult missions is where you have multiple objectives and certain ships need to survive. Makes you rethink your squad’s ship selections and plan of attack. I found myself a few times redoing missions until I figured out the best fighter/bomber combinations to bring with me and what to go after first.

The graphics are average but do work well with the action on the screen, the graphics has a cell shaded type art style to me. The action is challenging and Wreckless does have a bit of a Tie Fighter feel to it with the ship combat and the way combat looks on the screen. I also like the fact that you have a little bit of newton style physics in there which helps when taking on the bigger ships.

When you get killed you are automatically put into one of your squadrons drone ships. When you and all of your drone are destroyed or an objective has failed your mission is over. There is a mission briefing with a tactical screen to help you with your mission planning and the selection of the correct ship types to bring on the mission. The sound effects and music are average, I would have liked to have more battle and in-flight music options and more pilot comm chatter. The briefings and tutorial voice overs were good and not too cheesy like some previous games I have played in the past.

So down to what I liked and what needs some work, I will be using a Pros/Cons system to give possible purchasers of the game an idea of what to expect. My evaluation is going off of what I have observed and played so far (on mission 9 of 16), everyone’s opinions are different so I always tell people to play the game for yourself. This way you can be more informed and maybe even provide feedback to get the game fixed.

Pros:

  • Mission briefings are descriptive and voiced
  • The ability to research new ships as you advance through missions
  • No install, just extract and play (or least my copy was like that)
  • Fun combat, targeting was sometimes a bit off imo
  • I liked the visuals even though they were simplistic, it works. And the frame rates were really good while playing I avg. between 80-100fps
  • Your mission isn’t over until your whole squadron is dead or you fail an objective. You just move from drone to drone until you have exhausted your squadron of ships.
  • In simulator mode you can create various scenarios with ships and test your skills.

Cons/issues:

  • Would have liked to have equipment or hard point reseach as well as the ships
  • Needs better control scheme for drone control or let the player during the briefing screen set priorities for the drones.
  • No cockpit views
  • No native joystick support. But i’m sure you could program a joystick profile for the game
  • Cannot specifically target different sub-systems on larger ships like a cruiser/battleship
  • Experienced some issues with windows mode with drop-down controls on mission screen and movement issues when cursor is not in the active game window

Overall I am having a fun time playing The Wreckless and plan on playing it to the end. I am always a huge supporter of the indie scene and did I mention that this is available for Windows and Mac platforms. What I liked most about my experience with the game was the combat and how sometimes you can just get pummeled with lasers and be just floating debris in secs. The battles close up or at a distance with all of the lasers or weapon trails look nice and give a feel of desperation at times in the game to keep you on edge to complete the mission. The Wreckless is currently being sold for $9.99 on GamersGate and from their website.

So give The Wreckless a spin and if you like it support Duct Tape Games. You can discuss the game here or in the forums.

Here is one of the latest videos of The Wreckless in action.