Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure Wii Review
I’m sure most could be easily put off getting Zack & Wiki simply because they think there are better games out there, and it has to be said there are other games that offer a better first impression. It’s not your fault though, as Capcom don’t make falling in love with the game that easy. Zack & Wiki is a terrible name, its presentation drops dangerously into the realm of been too ‘kiddie’ looking, and you will want to kick Wiki after listening to his voice for any extended length of time. Thankfully, these flaws are the only problems Zack & Wiki has; the rest of the game is quite the wonderful experience. In fact, if you can get by those annoyances then Capcom’s latest Wii effort could arguably be classed as one of the top games of 2008… and yes, I know we are not even one month in yet. But I have not even explained what Zack & Wiki is all about; it’s a point and click puzzle game, not to mention a very smart and entertaining one.
Unlike the great point and click games of old, Zack & Wiki is split into distinct sections, each having their own self contained puzzle to solve. Because of this the story is not that important, and for that we should be thankful as it’s not the game’s strong point. It is in fact the puzzles that remain at the forefront throughout, with all of them being exciting to solve, and usually not annoying in any way. Because of its sole reliance on puzzle it’s also a game that could easily be ruined if you go near a guide, so if you buy stay well away from those.
In saying that though I will admit that at times Zack & Wiki may be confusing, but it never sets out to confuse. Even though the puzzles themselves may be taxing on the brain, the game tries to keep the surrounding gameplay as simple as possible. For example, you can only carry one object at a time so you’re never going to get stumped messing around with something you don’t need. The whole game is controlled by pointing the Wiimote at the screen and clicking one or two of its buttons, thus talking away any bewilderment – even for the most inexperienced gamers out there. Furthermore, as with all good games of its type, the solution to the task at hand is usually staring directly in your face as soon as you enter each level; but solving it can take quite some time, as you struggle to piece together what the game gives you to get the chest that is almost always in plain sight, but very illusive to reach.
The way each convoluted puzzle unravels changes throughout, thus keeping the game both interesting and challenging. Unlike other games you won’t be learning techniques to use again a while after. Instead, you will be mostly inundated with new ones to use in puzzles that get longer and more elaborate the nearer you get to the closing stages. The later ones could possibly take a solid hour to wrap your head around and solve. Thankfully, the way you use the Wiimote serves as a constant aid rather than a hindrance in the way you solve the puzzle. This is conveyed right from the very start where you use the controller to mimic the pull of a simple lever.
The further you get things start to get really interesting, incorporating many different poses (or ‘grips’ as the game call them) to do different tasks. In truth, half the fun of the game is finding out what the game will ask of you next, so it would be best for me not to spoil them here. However, I will say that almost everything the game asks of you remains intuitive, regardless of whether you’re opening an umbrella, mixing liquids, or rocking a baby dragon to sleep. You never feel you’re fighting the controls at any time. Along with this, the style of environments are always changing, so there’s always something new to see when you’re doing that something new.
Arguably, Zack & Wiki could very well end up being the equivalent of Plok from the SNES era, the Go-Go Trouble Makers of the N64 era, and could easily go down as being just like the highly praised but little played Beyond Good & Evil of last-gen. All trilled the select few that got their hands on them. However, it would be much better if a game such as this would be recognised as being as truly great by gamers worldwide, not just the critics. Once you get past the sickeningly Nickelodeon like exterior and take the plunge to buy, you’ll wonder why you waited so damn long. Simply put, Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros Treasure is a game that will be loved by almost everyone that gets that chance to play – and will be endlessly praised by these same people at every chance they get. One of Wii’s best titles.