zackw1.jpgZack & Wiki has been getting lots of hype, without much explanation on how it plays. Back at E3 I was lucky enough to spend enough time with it to get hooked in. While it looks like Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure is a 3D action game, it shares more in common with SCUMM adventure games. You point where you want Zack to move with the remote and then press A to make him walk over. I started playing Zack & Wiki in the Jungle level. Zack (the pirate) and Wiki (the golden monkey) start out next to a campfire. When you walk to the left side of the screen there is a cave door blocked by two wooden sticks. Hmmm…

 

So you need something to cut the sticks with and you can’t light the sticks on fire to burn your way into the cave. When you walk all the way to the left hand side of the screen a centipede pops out and spooks Zack. Ah ha! When you see the centipede you can shake the remote and transform it into a centi-saw. With the saw in hand you can walk over to the sticks and cut them into pieces by making a sawing motion with the Wii remote. Once the path is opened you’re inside a dark cave, carrying the saw. All the way on top is a giant monster that you can’t transform into an item. Back in the cave it’s too dark to see anything, but there is some kind of puzzle. If only there was a way to light the cave up… Oh that’s right, the campfire from the start of the stage should do the trick.

 

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Zack can only carry a single item in his hand so it’s time to give up the now useless centi-saw and pick up one of those sticks. When you grab a stick you can walk over to the campfire and point the stick into the open flame with the remote. Now that it’s lit it’s time to explore the cave. Walking… walking…into the cave and a gust of air blows the flame out just before you step inside. The little statue before the entrance releases a small stream of air. I see, I need something to cover it up. Back at the top of the staircase there was an urn large enough to cover the air jet. Time to grab it, but before I can do that I have to put down the stick since Zack can only hold a single item. Got the urn. Now it’s time to throw it over the jet. With the Wii remote you can rotate the urn so it’s upside down and then you can throw it by flicking the remote.  Since the jet is covered, I can light the stick on fire again to make a torch and head to the cave…

 

That is an example of how Zack & Wiki plays with the exception of dying. When Zack makes a fatal mistake like running into a ghost, you don’t lose life points, you just die. A screen pops up and you are introduced to a fairy godmother-like character on strings who asks Zack to give up a revival ticket. The demo gave you fifty of these to freely spend, but I imagine the final game will limit how many tickets you have. When you give her a ticket Zack is brought back to life, the other option is to restart from a previous save point.

 

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I spent more time with Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure than I thought I would because I was captivated by it and it is the rare type of game that will make even the most jaded gamers crack a smile.

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