GBAtemp Exclusive GBAtemp Recommends #106: Zack & Wiki - Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

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  1. endoverend
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    endoverend AKA zooksman

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    Welcome to the 106th issue of the GBAtemp Recommends Revival Project! This project is a revival of our once-weekly feature where we share our favorite games and applications with you. The titles we recommend may be "old school" games, a piece of Homebrew, an ROM hack, sleeper hits, an application, etc, but one thing's for certain, we think they are fantastic and deserve your attention!

    I'm here to talk about the point 'n click to end all point 'n clicks, the bell-ringing, motion-controlling, pirate-adventuring sleeper hit for the Wii; that's right, it's Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure.

    Zack_&_Wiki_-_Quest_for_Barbaros'_Treasure_Coverart.png
    Ever picked up the Wiimote and figured that its control scheme of pointing and clicking would be great for a point 'n click adventure? Well, Capcom sure did, and decided to follow through on the idea in one of the Wii's all-too-few third party titles. Its creative character design, innovative controls, and tough puzzles make Zack and Wiki one of the finest titles the Wii has to offer.

    We follow a young, shirtless pirate boy named Zack and his enchanted monkey Wiki, as they embark on a quest to do what any self-respecting pirates would do and seek out the greatest treasure they can find on the great green earth. What they stumble upon is the golden skull of a once-great but now cursed pirate Barbaros, who humbly requests that Zack find the remainder of his body-turned-gold in exchange for a promise of booty beyond belief. A rival gang of pirates led by the arrogant Rose threatens interference along the way, along with tribes of cannibals and other such hazards.

    zack-and-wiki-screenshot-2.jpg zack-wiki-quest-for-barbaros-treasure-20070604103639957.jpg zack-wiki-quest-for-barbaros-treasure-20071029032136099-2182187.jpg

    The gameplay revolves around mini-puzzles all tying into large levels. The goal in each level is to get to the treasure chest containing a certain part of Barbaros' skeleton. These scenarios include finding a way around a pack or tribal leaders in the middle of their sacrifice, trying to find ways to chip away at a chest enclosed in a massive casing of ice, or creating the chest itself with mad science experiments.

    Little motion control puzzles are scattered about the stage. An example would be trying to reel in a big fish, or turning a crank to move a gondola, or hammering a stake into a block of ice. Point 'n click is the scheme to move Zack around. When you shake the Wiimote, Zack's companion Wiki transforms into a bell, which, when rung, turns nearby enemies into..... various objects. It's an oddly specific mechanic but it turns out to be really wacky and important to the puzzles.

    large.jpg treasure_island_z_121.jpg treasureislandz_7a.jpg

    The best feature of the title is its innovative "HirameQ" system. Of course there are many ways to go about solving problems-- but players are rewarded for trying the wackiest and most cognitive methods by an IQ point system. Each problem gives a different score based on the merit of its solution. At the end these points are tallied, and in each level you can try over and over again to get a perfect score by going about every problem in a different way.

    So what does Zack & Wiki do so particularly well? A large part of it is its crushing difficulty. Significant thought has to go into solving each and every puzzle, and often precise timing is involved, leading to crushing defeats which reset the level unless you buy revival items beforehand.

    Difficulty aside, Zack & Wiki is one of the few Wii games to use motion controls in an actually innovative way which enhances the gameplay. Rather than just "insert the key in the door", it's "match the pattern on the lock via rotating and turning", making every puzzle more engaging. The IQ system and multiple solutions both help to create lasting appeal and nudge players into seeking more intuitive solutions rather than just going down the beaten path.

    Finally, the fantastic character design, sound effects, and music create a thrilling, wacky atmosphere that engages the player and keeps them hooked throughout the title. There's so much that Zack & Wiki does right, it just has to be experienced firsthand. Though it suffered poor sales worldwide, Z&W received critical acclaim and won several awards and nomination for its innovative controls and perfection of the puzzle genre.

    Genre: Point 'n Click Adventure
    Release Year: 2007
    Developer: Capcom
    Published by: Capcom
    Released For: Nintendo Wii

    If you enjoyed this week's edition of GBAtemp Recommends! Please leave a comment in the thread. This helps us monitor feedback and ensures we keep posting these articles in the future.

    If you would like to see the original archive of our previous entries, you can look at our archived content here.

    Thanks for reading, and give this gem a try!
     
  2. Deboog

    Deboog GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    It's a great game! A shame so few devs make point and clicks anymore.
     
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  3. grossaffe

    grossaffe GBAtemp Addict

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    Hardly the point-and-click to end all point-and-clicks, in my opinion. I've long been a fan of the genre, and with all the praise this game had gotten, I checked it out. Ultimately I found it to be rather lacking and the use of motion controls felt forced.

    The genre has seen quite a resurgence lately, actually. Revolution came back with a new episode of Broken Sword, Double Fine returned to their point-and-click roots with Broken Age, Two Guys From Andromeda have even reunited after two decades apart and are close to releasing a spiritual successor to Space Quest with their Spaceventure. And then there was a comment by Tim Schaffer that I took as a throw-away joke when he was pitching Broken Age, which was the comment that adventure games are still alive in our hearts and minds... and Germany. Well look no further than German developer/publisher Daedalic Entertainment for a slew of fantastic point-and-click adventures including the Deponia series, Edna and Harvey, Machinarium, etc..

    It's actually a pretty good time to be a point-and-click fan, I think.
     
  4. XDel

    XDel Author of the Alien Breed Odamex Projekt.

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    More are being made, and ScummVM's supported back catalog is HUGE and worth while!
     
  5. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

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    Oh man, Zack and Wiki. It's a fun game, but the amount of trial and error is ridiculous, and if you mess up, you have to play the entire stage again (and they aren't exactly short!). I was unable to bring myself to complete what I think was the final level.
     
  6. matthi321

    matthi321 GBAtemp Regular

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    its a fun game
     
  7. Yil

    Yil GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Absolutely fun if later motion controls aren't broken.
     
  8. eduall

    eduall GBAtemp Regular

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    I always forget to play this game that is highly recommended! :unsure:
     
  9. mario5555

    mario5555 Advanced Member

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    "one of the Wii's all-too-few third party titles"

    I think you mean "one of the Wii's all-too-few GOOD 3rd party titles". They had 3rd party support, its just that 99% of it was shovelware though. This isn't one of them.


    If you look at it from 2016 eyes, then no this game isn't anything special, if you look at it from 2007 eyes, then yes it was innovative and fresh (as the point and click genre hadn't gone through it's resurgence yet, even Telltale had yet to establish themselves as Sam & Max was just launching and had come out not even a year before this game launched).

    But to cover your other points, point and click was a dead genre in 2007 (made for the odd PC titles) from the mid-late 90's boom with Lucasarts and the Myst games. In the last 10 years with Telltale leading the way, it has come back strong, but you need to look back to understand why people who played this game in 2007 have such fondness for it today even if with your 2016 eyes, you think it's just meh.
     
  10. grossaffe

    grossaffe GBAtemp Addict

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    I wasn't speaking in terms of 2007 as what I was responding to wasn't speaking in terms of 2007. Such as the "point-and-click to end all point-and-clicks". Certainly not true in 2016, and equally not true in 2007 as there was a long history of such games that were far better.

    The talk of the resurgence of the point-and-click was certainly meant to be a 2016 statement as it was a reply to someone's disappointment that there aren't developers making them anymore. As for when I played Zack and Wiki, I believe it was before the resurgence really happened, or if not, before I had discovered it. But having already been a veteran of the genre, it wasn't, in my opinion, up to par with the much older games in the genre. Maybe it was something fresh for people who'd never been introduced to the genre before, but it was nothing special in my book.
     
  11. DarkWork0

    DarkWork0 GBAtemp Regular

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    While I do like the game, I feel that it really isn't a point-and-click adventure, more of an adventure puzzle game that only uses point-and-click as a form of movement just because of the still new way to play games with the Wii. If the game was released on another console, I imagine we would be discussing this game as previously stated, an adventure puzzle game.