Posted By Robert G. about 6 months, 1 week ago
Wii 25-in-25: Zack & Wiki: The Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure,
It is very easy to remember the Marios and Zeldas of the gaming world, but what about those flash in the pan, one-shot games that were so captivating that the fact that they will never see the light of day again brings a tear to your eye? Well, the Wii has no shortage of games in this department, that’s for sure. Let’s face it, outside of the familiar first-party Nintendo stable, very few games have really crossed over as a major hit with core audiences. And yet, some of these games are just begging to be remembered by fans and newcomers alike, waiting for the day they are picked up in the bargain bin as a diamond in the rough.
Zack & Wiki: The Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure is one such game, a hidden gem that is perhaps the end all, be all of hidden gems on the Nintendo Wii. Capcom was able to develop a game so fun and thoughtful that it is always sad to see that the sales figures on such a critically acclaimed title amount to less than 100,000, by last reports. But rest assured, this is one pirate adventure that is worth a three hour tour.
Starring Zack, a young pirate who dreams of becoming the best pirate in the world, and Wiki, his flying, golden monkey sidekick, you go around several themed maps to recover the body parts of Captain Barbaros, the most notorious pirate in the world. See, his talking skull made a deal with Zack to give him the map to Treasure Island if he did just that. Throw in rival pirates and you pretty much have the zaniest adventure story this side of One Piece.
Of course, the plot aside, Zack & Wiki excels because of its gameplay, which is a throwback to point-and-click adventure titles. Using the Wii remote as your pointer, you use Wiki’s magical powers to transform enemies into tools that will help you solve the game’s simple and complex puzzle sequences. Is a tree blocking your path? Use a saw to cut it down. Have a gear you need to turn? Find a lever and a crank to get it functioning again. Unlike most point and click titles which have to follow their own logic to solve puzzles, Zack and Wiki has them all self-contained, so the answers are always found and never illogical.
The beauty of the game is the sheer amount of movement you need to make with the Wii Remote. Zack & Wiki recognizes over 80 different type of gestures, each of them tailor made to use tools or solve one of the puzzles in the game. Each set piece also grades you on your performance, the difficulty, and how clever you are at solving the puzzles, which in turn increase Zack’s fame as a pirate throughout the storyline. There is even a second player option in this single-player game, in the form of the guide cursor system, which can turn a friend into John Madden as he throws arrows onto the screen for you to follow and help you solve a puzzle. It is that special touch that makes Zack and Wiki special, as it allows players to go beyond the actions on the screen and interact with each other more personally.
It is a shame that Capcom may never shed light on Zack & Wiki again. Its cartoonish charms and deep gameplay make it one of the few games on the Nintendo Wii to not only utilize the motion controls in innovative ways, but to do so in a way that is fun and addicting for all ages. This is the type of throwback that breathes life into nostalgic gameplay, and it is without a doubt one of the best games you can ever play on the Wii.
You can find more articles in our 25-in-25 series over here, and stayed tuned tomorrow for another look at a great Wii title!