If it’s one thing I don’t like it’s having to wave the Wii remote round in a game when it would be just as simple if not easier to press a button. Thankfully, in this new game Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ treasure, the Wiimote is so integral to puzzle solving it’s a great joy to play.
This game harks back to the days of old graphic adventures such as Monkey island, Day of the Tentacle and the like, although the emphasis is much more on puzzle solving within a level as you play through the story, and less on talking lots and choosing different answers.
You play a pirate boy called Zack with his flying monkey sidekick Wiki as you go on a quest to find all the different parts of the big pirate Barbaros. Somehow he’s turned himself into treasure so the game involves you getting to each treasure chest so you can open it and claim what’s inside.
Puzzles vary in difficulty but let me give you a few examples of how the game works without spoiling anything for you if you want to go out and get this. You may have to saw down a tree to cross a gap so you point and click at the tree, then use a sawing motion with the Wiimote to cut it down. Or you may have to find a key and turn it in a lock, or play tennis with fireballs to hit targets round corners.
Another clever feature is using animals as objects to solve puzzles. If you shake the remote you ring a bell which turns snakes into grabbers, spiders into tennis racquets or even pirate goonds into round totems. You can then use these objects to solve puzzles. Sometimes you even have to turn them back into animals to make them react with what’s around them.
And you can die in this game. Luckily, death scenes are amusing and even if you’ve spent an hour working out what to do, repeating these steps from the start once you know what to do only takes a few minutes so it never gets too frustrating. You can even buy dolls which revive you and platinum tickets to get hints if you need them – a game mechanic that stops you using them too early and only when you really need them.
As well as the 16 or so puzzles, there are also extra goodies to find round the maps, treasure for your buddies at base camp to go and collect for you and mini games such as a bell ringing game where you have to play some classic Capcom tunes from games of old. And if you want to replay the game, each level is timed and gives you IQ points for how quickly you solve the varying puzzles.
Also, the game looks fantastic and is easily up to the standard set by Super Mario Galaxy.
Occasionally the gameplay is let down by not knowing quite how vigorously to shake or move the remote (particularly when fishing) but this is a minor point. This is the best use of the Wiimote yet and provides a great single player puzzle experience with fun and cuteness thrown in for good measure.
Zack and Wiki gets an almost perfect 9 out of 10.