Hey, the Wii Has Adventure Games!

At least, it has adventure game. Zack and Wiki is, at its heart, a point-and-click adventure game. It’s fun seeing a game on a new console make all the same old adventure game mistakes.

They do a nice job of keeping things manageable by only letting you carry one thing at a time, which greatly simplifies the puzzles you can solve, and a number of the puzzles are satisfyingly twisty. They lean heavily on mechanical whatsits that you have to frob in just the right way, but they also are doing a good job of teaching you how to use Wiki’s special bell-ringing powers to solve puzzles. Each level that we’ve gone through has gotten just a little more complex. It’s a learning curve that is actually curved.

It’s a shame they use so many 1980s-era unfun elements. There’s a lot of unexpected, instant death, which they keep track of so you feel like a loser. Worse, when you die, you go back to the beginning of the level, unless you’ve bought a platinum ticket, which then gets used up. Money is limited, as you might expect, so you can get to where you have to play a level over and over and over again, dying with every mis-step. (I’m looking at you, “Keeper of the Ice”.) It discourages exploration and experimentation, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do in an adventure game.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s still fun. I’m just sad that no one on the design team seems to have paid close enough attention to the last thirty years of adventure games.

2 thoughts on “Hey, the Wii Has Adventure Games!

  1. I’d suggest renting it and seeing how you like it. I’m enjoying it enough that it was worth the money for me, but you may not be as charmed by its cutesy anime graphics and occasionally fiddly puzzles.

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