TGS '07: Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure Hands-On

We take a look at the updated TGS build of upcoming adventure/puzzle game Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure for the Wii.

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We initially saw Zack & Wiki at E3 back in July when the covers first came off. On the opening day of TGS, we managed to get some fresh hands-on time with Zack & Wiki, including a demo that had been updated from the version just recently shown at the Leipzig Games Conference.

The level we saw was set in a jungle, and it showed off some of the key features of the Wii Remote's gesture-based control system, which will be used to interact with the game world. Simplicity is the order of the day, with a minimal heads-up display to access important tools, and an onscreen indicator to point your way around. You press the A button to select and move your character to the desired location.

Once we had worked out the controls and negotiated the stairs, we were met by a tree with a key attached to it. Unfortunately, the key was much too high for our character to reach, and we were forced to move on in search of an object or a method of getting the elusive key. Clay pots were scattered around the platform, and by hovering the cursor and interacting, we performed a scripted pick-up-and-throw maneuver that smashed a pot so we could collect the coins inside. While on our pot-smashing rampage, we came across a snake living inside one. When confronted, we were able to use our magical bell to not only subdue the snake's attacks, but to turn it into something a little more useful--specifically, an extending-arm grabber toy. Ringing the bell is as simple as shaking the Wii Remote in your hand.

Once we had a way to reach the key, all we had to do was pick up the grabber, take it to the tree, and reach up. Here we were introduced to the item system. The grabber arm is activated when you hover your cursor over an object that can be interacted with, at which point you press the A button. During the interaction, the camera zooms in to a close-up view of the key, and then you thrust the Wii Remote toward the sensor bar to stretch up and grab the key onscreen. The key put up a bit of a fight, and to get it off the chain we had to shake and pull, which eventually broke the rope keeping it in place.

When you hit the trigger button on the underside of the Wii Remote, you bring up an exploration mode, which locks you in place but puts the camera in free mode. This tipped us off to the location of a chest on a lower level that looked as if it might fit the key we had just liberated. Confronted by a locked door downstairs, we found the intended use for the key. Similar to the grabber-handling mechanic, the opening of the lock required us to use the Wii Remote to turn the key to open the door.

We were met inside by an environmental puzzle: namely, a giant spike-filled pit, ripe for falling into. We used the look-around mode to find a small switch on the wall that looked as if it might disarm the trap. Drat, too short again. Unfortunately, given that you can only carry a single usable object at once, we had to drop our grabber to get the key. After retrieving it from upstairs, we used it to grab and pull the chain. Further shaking of the Wii Remote broke the ceiling free, and the debris crashed down to cover the spikes, which allowed us safe passage to the chest. On opening the chest, we were rewarded with a piece of armour, part of Barbaros' outfit, after which we were challenged to find the remaining pieces across other levels. Our demo was completed with the successful opening of the chest.

Our hands-on demo involved only the Wii Remote, without use of the Nunchuk. We don't know yet if there are plans to implement the Nunchuk for additional control. Zack & Wiki is a nice mix of puzzle-solving and adventure, and it looks as if it's going to be plenty of fun.

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