Last week, I was simply ecstatic to get my undeserving hands on a copy of Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure for the Nintendo Wii. It’s been on top of my ‘must-play’ title for as long as I can remember, and ripping open the packaging and seeing the game disc devoured by my Wii was probably the most exciting moment in my whole career as a gamer. From that moment on, I was treated to moment after moment of magic, with each outdoing the last. I have to say, there is no better way as of now to spend time with your Wii. Keep reading to find out why.
Zack and Wiki is set up like one of the PC point-and-click adventures of old, with the Wii remote replacing the mouse. The ‘A’ button moves Zack (the treasure-hungry pirate protagonist) to your cursor, while the ‘B’ button controls your camera so you can view the area around Zack. The setup works just as well as you’d think it would, akin to its PC predecessors, and uses the Wii remote’s technology to its full extent. Needless to say, it’s also simple enough to master in a matter of seconds, which is always a good thing.
Since the controls are so super-easy to get a hang of, Capcom wastes no time getting players right into the experience. Once you finish the tutorial, you are given access to a number of stages which all flaunt Zack and Wiki’s excellent level design. While the beginning puzzles are, admittedly, tamer than those you encounter later on, you will still find yourself smiling or even chuckling once you figure out the more rewarding puzzles. Quite often whole levels can be based off one deceivingly simple objective, for example; you may find a treasure chest encased in ice in the centre of the level. Examine it to find that you can punch it, although breaking it in this manner will require about ten thousand punches. You don’t have the time for that, do you? So to save yourself from a broken hand, you turn a savage boar into a hammer and try using that on the ice. Unfortunately, this is only ten times better than throwing punches, and attempting to break it with hammer alone will likely result in carpal tunnel syndrome. You then notice a mole popping out of holes at random...
Many levels of Zack and Wiki progress in this fashion, where one thing leads to another, and another, and another... eventually solving one large puzzle and rewarding the player with treasure. Each of these puzzle-dungeons both encourage the player to think in new ways and find creative new uses for the Wii remote. Using Wii gestures to solve puzzles is much less of a gimmick than one may think; it actually adds new levels depth to the puzzles which would have been impossible with any other hardware. If you ever find yourself stuck on a puzzle, you can often find examining the item you need to use will show a hidden use for it which can be activated with a gesture from the remote. These instances are quite refreshing, and it’s absolutely great to see a third party developer manipulate the Wii-mote almost with the same quality of Nintendo-developed games.
Wrapping up each world is a huge boss fight, which takes a great deal of thinking if you want to emerge victorious. My favorite thus far would have to be the World 2 boss, a colossal ice monster who must be defeated by lining up mirrors so you can smack him in the face with sunlight. It’s the boss fights like these which make Zack and Wiki feel not entirely like a point-and-click adventure of old, but also like Zelda with elements of console action-adventures – a great feeling, to be sure.
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