Monday, July 5

Game: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure Click for more info

Zack & Wiki is a game where you have to think. Its cerebral dominoes for the casual gamer, where reaction time is less important than being able to think logically and rationally. It's joy to play, especially each time you manage to figure a play out, or have a well thought out planned executed to perfection. It's also fun to play, with lots of colour and humour to distract you each time you become unstuck with a problem.

But despite the general goodness of the game, there are also a couple of major flaws which if not managed properly can actually wreck the whole thing for you.

The first is how final some decisions can be. Unlike other games in the genre, it's possible to paint yourself into a corner with a wrong decision - or indeed even die - resulting in a complete restart of a level. Coupled with the inability to save mid-level, this sometimes makes experimental trial and error (something which is pretty vital in some of the levels) a time-expensive activity and I've become frustrated more than once with having to do 90% of a level all over again just because I messed up at the end. Yes, there is a hint and rewind system, but it's not implemented very well and is a bit useless in this type of game.

Secondly we have the controls. Being an early Wii game, Zack & Wiki used motion controls at its core - you point and click to get Zack to walk to places and pick things up and operate stuff. This coupled with a bouncy camera and inaccurate pointer (and people say HD doesn't matter on the Wii...) means it's sometimes impossible to make Zack do what you want him to do the first time - something fatal during some of the more active scenes. Object interaction (rotating, pushing, pulling etc) fares better, but still isn't perfect.

Although I'll maintain that these are pretty critical flaws, they are things that a gamer can either adjust around or live with. I'll still recommend Zack & Wiki, and at ten hours it won't take up too much gaming time either.