Otaku USA Magazine
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure

2007 was a massive year for Nintendo, at least going by NPD sales figures and the system’s scarcity in the wild. Nevertheless, under all the King of All Consoles talk, a bit of unrest began to grow amongst the gaming crowd. This was thankfully subsided by the release of Super Mario Galaxy, but other than that and a few scattered titles, beefy releases were rare last year, and nerd discontent was already beginning to mirror the Gamecube days.

Let’s get something straight, though. If anyone weaves tales of woe like the above, ask if they picked up Capcom’s Zack & Wiki, an adventurous puzzle game that ranks among the best the system has to offer. Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure follows a plucky plunderer named Zack, who, along with his monkey-like companion Wiki, discovers the spirit of an old pirate that wants them to find the missing pieces to his golden, jewel-encrusted body.

The booty hunting is accomplished solely using the Wiimote and a point-and-click style interface. If this sounds like an old school adventure title that you used to click away at on the computer, it’s really not that far separated. Zack & Wiki nails that head-scratching notion that the player is in peril around every corner, and trial and error gameplay becomes a necessity when it’s possible to die just by pulling the wrong lever or making one too many grievous missteps.

It’s rarely frustrating in this regard. Sure, it may be tempting to slam your fist from time to time, but solving puzzles is insanely rewarding. As satisfying as the “doo-doo-doo-DOO” chimes of Zelda are, you might just feel like a genius after completing some of this game’s more harrowing tasks, all of which grant higher scores depending on the amount of tries it takes to reach the solution. While some have been quick to decry the gimmicky nature of the Wiimote, arguments heavily in its favor do sprout up from time to time. Much like the DS, it’s amazing what the right developer can do with the Wii, and the controls just make sense here, from turning ancient keys to balancing objects with the controller carefully cradled.

Zack & Wiki is one of those little gems that, after playing for a little bit, you’ll be championing to everyone you know. Don’t let this one sail away!

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
System: Wii
Available: Now
Rating: E