Sunday, May 25, 2008

Zack and Wiki : The Quest For Barbaros' Treasure

I picked up Zack and Wiki : The Quest For Barbaros' Treasure last week, mostly because its price dropped to twenty dollars. It's a point and click environmental puzzle game, meaning that each level/stage/whatever consists of a number of obstacles that must be overcome to reach the treasure chest.

Zack is your typical Japanese boy-pirate and Wiki is his generally useless heli-monkey (what, you've never heard of a heli-monkey? It's a monkey with a tail that acts as a helicopter rotor and hovers around you. Try to keep up.). In the game you work out of a pirate's hideout as a central hub and journey to each level one at a time. Success opens more levels, and there are hidden things to find along the way.

The levels themselves are trial-and-error challenges where you try out different items on different objects to see what happens. Some monsters are around, and using Wiki as a bell can defeat them and turn them into useful tools. Centipedes, for example, become saws when you ring their bells, and bats become umbrellas. There must be some really good drugs in Japan.

These tools turn up in multiple levels, so it's good to remember their uses. The whole experience harkens back to the extremely underrated and much-deserving of a revival NES and GameBoy classics A Boy and His Blob. Using the Wii remote in various ways is fun, too, even if the on-screen instructions for these uses are over-the-top. Seriously, Capcom, it's not that hard to figure out. You don't need the 1/4 screen size human figure popping up every time there's something special to do.

It's an okay game so far, certainly worth twenty dollars. I can take it in small doses, playing one level a day. Death comes frequently in this game, with the only apparent penalty being a running tally of how many times you've died.

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