Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure Review
Posted by Paul Catlin
Why did adventure games disappear?
Innovation is a big reason that I play games. Playing the same game rehashed over and over again bores me senseless. So when a new idea for a game comes along, like Zack & Wiki, I turn into a kid at a theme park, running to buy it.
The story behind the game deals with Zack and Wiki, part of a group of Sea Monkey pirates who search for treasure. They stumble across a golden skull belonging to the famous pirate Barbaros, when they help to release it from it's curse the (now talking) skull tells them to retrieve his other body parts to return him to his former state. In return he will give them his pirate ship. The story isn't the latest Harry Potter, granted, but it gets the job done. The game is split into stages, on each stage you have to retrieve a 'body part' from a treasure chest. The stages get larger and more complicated each time, at the end of the game you will be spending upwards of an hour on a stage.
Point and click is the name of the game where controls are concerned, if you fondly remember Sam and Max or Day of the Tentacle from the PC you will be at home here. You use the Wii remote to point at the screen and press the A button to move Zack to that location. This is how you check items too, but it all changes when you need to interact with an object.. Using the Wii Remote, you must motion out the action that you want to perform. For example to saw down a tree, you need to move the remote forward and backward repeatedly until it has been cut down. There are dozens of different objects to interact with, all needing an action to perform, and just when you think you have used an object in every way possible a new way presents itself.
I don't want to give away any of the solutions to the puzzles, thinking up the solution to a puzzle is very rewarding, and the whole point to the game. You will need to think out of the box, keep an open mind, and all sorts of other catchphrases. If you do get stuck, you can buy and use an oracle doll for a hint on how to get past an obstacle. The price for dolls gets higher the more you use them. You can also buy Platinum tickets, which can resurrect you if you meet an untimely end, at a price of course.
Unlike a traditional point and click game, the story is not the big driving force of the game, instead it's the puzzle-solving. Each level is completely separate from others, it's like each level is a test of its own. A good thing in my book. After each level you get scored based on how much you found in the level, and if you made any mistakes. Scores and finishing times for each level are tracked so that you can replay the level to better yourself.
You are likely to get stuck in this game. It is much more difficult that in looks, and needs logic thinking in bucketloads! The length of the game was about right for me. It took about 15 hours for me to complete it. When you do manage to finish the game, you can replay the levels trying to find the hidden treasure. To earn this you must perform certain actions on a level, or do things in a particular order. The clues for how to obtain the hidden treasures are found by 'Maddy' at the hideout, just keep sending him out until he returns with clues.
You can probably detect that I like this game by now.. and you would be right. However, Zack and Wiki is not perfect. There are puzzles where more luck than judgement is required, where speedy reactions prevent an instant death. In a game like this, this kind of puzzle should have been taken out, especially when this happens late in a level and you need to replay a good half hour before getting back to that point.
Overall though, Zack and Wiki is just what the Wii needs, new ideas. It has used the Wii Remote brilliantly in a game that could only have worked on this console. I hope that Capcom release a sequel.