Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure Review
Review By Steve Farrelly @ 02:34pm 26/02/08
Zack & Wiki isn’t your usual hardcore type of game. It has all the Japanese design flavour of their manga-inspired art culture along with all the kooky jokes, offbeat characters and Eastern interpreted Western style story-telling you could ask for. Ultimately this is a very Japanese game.
The story sees our duo, Zack and Wiki, as pirates hunting treasure. Zack’s life-long goal is to become the world’s greatest pirate, his flying golden monkey, Wiki, only wishes to serve as Zack’s side-kick. Initially they find themselves on a mission to find some treasure when they’re plane is attacked by the malicious Captain Rose, a cut throat pirate with enough money to not really need anymore treasure, but for some reason that just doesn’t stop her. At any rate, your first order of control business for the game happens inside the plane. Your pilot has already jettisoned and the transport is due for its appointment with the ground below any minute. It’s time for you to utilise Zack’s inquisitive nature and explore what the innards of the plane have to offer.
The way in which the game works is you’re presented an immediate area to explore with a host of interesting looking points to interact with. In the case above, it’s the inside of your plane. With the Wii Remote you then point to an area you want Zack to move to and hit the A button - not at all dissimilar to a point-and-click adventure game of yesteryear. You can equally just hold down the A button and subtly move the point of the controller to where you want him to go. The on-screen curser will usually turn red if there’s something you can interact with and hitting the A button again to check these will make you focus on them.
After a bit of a tutorial level, Zack and Wiki find the cursed remains of the infamous pirate Barbaros. Unfortunately for him, it’s only his skull they find and it turns out the rest of him has been scattered about the land. Guess what you have to do then? A promise of having his ship after putting him back together seals the deal and the game kicks off proper.
Okay, so in Zack and Wiki your points system works on how well you can think on your toes. There are a few different ways to solve a puzzle, the longer it takes you (and the more processes you use), the lower your HiameQ score will be, however, solve a puzzle immediately and you’ll earn massive points. You also earn bonuses at the end of levels if you haven’t used Platinum Tickets (which are basically continues) or Oracle Dolls (marionette dolls that give you advice if you’re stuck). It’s an interesting system (with an interesting name), but one that feels immediately rewarding; there’s nothing like instantly figuring something out and seeing the massive score that follows - and recognises – your prowess. You'll find yourself eventually trying everything in your power to not lose any chance of a high-score.
Still, if you can look past (and even embrace) the game’s unique look and feel, there’s plenty of meat here for puzzle junkies. Controlling Zack can sometimes be a nightmare, but if you like your games a bit slower-paced, you won’t really have that issue. It’s actually pretty challenging and as a result, quite charming. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Wii owners looking for something that actually utilises the console’s strengths will no doubt get a real kick out of this – for everyone else, there’s still the option to hire, but at the end of the day, it’s great to see a string development house that isn’t Nintendo looking to flex some creative muscle on the Wii. Kudos Capcom.