Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

Ahh...Zack and Wiki. I still fondly remember the look my wife gave me when I received this title one Christmas. Sadly, one of the best hardcore Wii games ever made suffered from a terrible name and a deceptively childish cover art. Judging this game by its cover alone would likely lead you to an assumption similar to my wife's reaction.  It looks like a cartoon about pirates. Certainly it's riddled with fetch quests, boring collectables, and snooze-inducing gameplay? This couldn't be further from the truth.

Zack and Wiki is certainly cartoonish in style, yet the core gameplay is designed solely for the thoughtful gamer. As a point-and-click adventure, you control Zack solely with the Wii remote (no nunhuck required). Each level is laid out entirely before you begin and you're tasked with reaching a lone treasure chest, which houses a piece of Barbaros himself.

Former IGN editors Matt Casamassina and Mark Bozon spoke of this title throughout its development. I know many gamers have those two to thank for giving Zack and Wiki the attention it deserved. Casamassina awarded the title with an outstanding score of 9.0/10 and posted the review with a simple tagline: "But it. Now."

Sadly, Zack and Wiki didn't sell well enough to warrant a sequel. Even so, it's never too late to go back and revisit such a classic. Here are just a few reasons IGN, myself, and others loved Zack and Wiki so much.

-Incredible puzzles
-Multiple ways to solve certain puzzles
-Excellent pacing w/ steady increase in difficulty
-Varied level design
-Beautiful cel-shading
-Replay value thanks to the high scores
-Solid controls that work well
-Appropriate gestures that almost always make sense

Not only did Zack and Wiki live up to my expectations, it won my wife over as well. She too was enamored by the clever puzzles. I'll never forget one particular glorious moment of realization when she helped solve a difficult puzzle just by shouting "snakes eat frogs!" If you somehow missed this title and are looking for something to enjoy on your old Wii (or new Wii U), pick it up on the cheap and enjoy an experience you and your whole family can enjoy.

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