Review: Zack and Wiki
Point ‘n’ Click/Adventure
Since its announcement, it has been blatantly obvious that the Wii was perfect for point & click games. After around a year into its lifecycle, So far, Capcom seems to be the only developer brave enough to have a go.
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure tells the story of Zack, an aspiring pirate, and Wiki, his (impossibly cute) monkey-sidekick-thing, on an adventure to rebuild the skeleton of the legendary pirate Barbaros who promises them his legendary ship in return. The pieces of said skeleton are found in treasure chests which are the goal to each level. These chests can only be accessed after completing puzzles ranging from infuriatingly obvious to utterly ingenious.
Pots and rocks scattered around the levels contain goodies such as money which is used to buy Oracle Dolls, which provide hints, and Platinum Tickets, used to revive you when you die. Both of these items increase in price every time you buy one. At the end of each level you are scored on various factors such as how you solved each puzzle, how many attempts it took and the amount of dolls and tickets used.
Your score helps you increase your pirate rank that doesn’t really have any benefits, it’s just for show. At the end of each level you return to your hideout which acts as the hub of the game world. It is occupied by the Sea Rabbits, a bunch of friendly pirates and here you can buy the aforementioned items as well as checking on your game progress, reading up on enemies and items and litening to hints. Despite the fact it is a single player game, up to 3 other Wii Remotes can be connected and used to control an on-screen pointer to help out and give hints.
Presentation-wise, the game is very easy on the eye with its Wind Waker-esque bright, bold, vibrant visuals. The well-designed characters are quirky and full of the Japanese charm you would expect from a developer such as Capcom.
The game’s main selling point is the various clever ways the Wii Remote is utilised to solve the puzzles on each level. To move Zack & Wiki you simply point where you want to go and press A, or you can simply hold A to keep them moving along a path. B is used to move the camera around to get a better look at your surroundings and you can also zoom out so you can view the whole level.
When you move the pointer over a usable object it turns pink and clicking on the object causes the camera to change from 3rd to 1st person and a picture instructs you how to hold the remote. This ranges from things such as holding it upright and pulling on it as you would a lever in real life to jabbing it at the screen in order to blind someone by poking them in the eyes with the tip of a broomstick. When you encounter an enemy, most of the time it can be transformed into a useful item by using Wiki.
Shaking the remote makes him change into a bell and be rung by Zack and this causes enemies to morph into items such as hammers, saws, and bombs to aid with your puzzle solving. The way these actions are carried out offers a great sense of enjoyment and will leave you with a genuine smile on your face.
For the most part, the motion recognition in the remote works very well apart from one instance. Some of the levels feature a mini game which can only be described as a cut-down version of Guitar Hero where you use the remote as if it were a bell and ring it in time with the notes to play various tunes from classic Capcom games of the past e.g. Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins.
God damn this game is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. It drips fun from every pore of its being, be it the cell shaded graphics that look like a manga cartoon brought to life (like Laputa or Lupin not the kind with naughty nurses and even naughtier coc *snip* â€¦ tentacles) the bouncy music that makes you want to grab a butter knife and start exploring the jungle and even the Banjo-Kazooie style character voices that bring a smile to my face with a single word â€œZack-oh!â€.
Sure the gameplay can be frustrating with many an instant death scenario appearing but when it happens you’ll be happy to watch a Zack is squashed by an Indy style rolling boulder or getting into a scrap with a savage monkey to care. Anyway if you think this game has a hard on for trail and error gameplay you should try either of the Rick Dangerous games *shudder*.
I hope this game does well worldwide rather than just Europe as I’ll happily drop another £40 to share more adventures with Zack & Wiki. Hang ’em up Guybrush there’s a new pirate in town.
Secondary Score: 9/10
I genuinely believe this to be one of the worst mini-games I have ever played in any game ever. The instructions given are extremely vague and when shaking the remote it seems to be hit-or-miss as to whether it registers or not. I quickly lost my patience and didn’t bother attempting any more; luckily they are completely optional and are not a part of the main quest.
As expected, the levels start off fairly easy and the solutions are obvious but later on in the game the puzzles become far more complicated and you will be left scratching your head a lot wondering what the hell to do. If you are a bit OCD like me you won’t want to use hint dolls and decrease your final score but when you finally solve a puzzle you have been stuck on for ages you are rewarded with a great sense of achievement. The levels can also be replayed once you have completed them.
However, some levels are a complete and utter pain. There are many enemies and puzzled that result in instant death/failure, without any warning at all. This wouldn’t be that bad if it wasn’t for the fact there is no proper checkpoint system whatsoever. When you die you have the option to either restart the whole level from scratch(!) or, if you have any, use a Platinum Ticket to revive you and put you back a few moments before you died. The game doesn’t bother to tell you that when you use a platinum ticket, you also loose all the money you have collected on that level for no apparent reason. It is almost as if it is punishing you for not being psychic.
But don’t let that put you off. Zack & Wiki is a solid puzzle/adventure game and one of the best 3rd party games the Wii has to offer. With intuitive use of the Wii Remote, great puzzles and charming characters, this comes highly recommended if you were a fan of the point & click games of yesteryear or are looking for a good puzzle game to keep you occupied.