Ever since Miley Cyrus released her famous music video, wrecking balls have never been more popular. The time seems right for a free-to-play action game that uses your iOS device’s touch and tilt functions, along with a swinging physics engine and a psychotic talking rabbit, to cause absurd levels of destruction.
WreckMan: Rise of a Hero is a game with a great sense of humor above all else. You play as an aspiring stuntman who happens to find a crashed alien artifact in his trailer’s front yard. When you approach it, you become stuck to it, and the US Army quickly moves in to carry it away. Once they lift you off the ground, a tweaked-out bunny named Ermin tells you to start swinging to prevent the end of the world.
This odd setup is the perfect start to an action game full of mayhem. You can either swipe on the screen or tilt the device to demolish the soldiers who are trying to blast you off of their artifact. Knocking them over like bowling pins is especially fun due to the swinging physics, which forces you to pull back on your ball for enough momentum. If you chain together a combo, you’ll activate bonus powers, and occasionally the camera will slow down while your character dances on top of the ball.
You’re not always tethered to the center of the screen, though. On some levels, the ball will be transported via helicopter through canyons, requiring you to avoid cliffs or knock over army vehicles. You’ll also have to steer the ball through a river and activate an ancient temple by bashing into colored pillars. Each level also has bonus objectives, which add to the game’s replay value.
Although the concept and gameplay are quite good, WreckMan still has a few rough spots. The graphics are powered by the Unreal Engine, but they look a bit fuzzy and malformed. For example, Ermin the rabbit’s hairstyle looks a bit like his brain is poking out from his skull. On the plus side, the animation is pretty good, and there are numerous visual effects like fireballs to light up the screen.
WreckMan pays for its freemium download price by playing commercials between each level. It’s not too annoying, except when the game’s background music plays over the ad’s music. You can spend in-game currency to unlock new levels, costumes, and upgrades, but WreckMan is generous with the gold coins, so you’ll rarely feel inconvenienced.
WreckMan: Rise of a Hero does a lot of things right. If you can look past the low-res 3D visuals, you’ll find a solid free-to-play game with satisfying physics, offbeat humor, and a variety of levels. If it leads to even more destructive games, or perhaps a twerking simulator, we’d be glad to try them out.