A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game has only mild cartoon violence -- but when you make a mistake, your character can die. No gore is shown and you can come back to life and retry the puzzle. We set the minimum age at 8 to reflect the difficulty level of the puzzles; a great feature of the game provides parents with a way to help by circling areas kids should investigate. Unfortunately, the lead character likes to chomp down candy bars.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
The premise of ZACK & WIKI: QUEST FOR BARBAROS' TREASURE is simple: Zack needs your help finding treasure so he can become the greatest pirate in the world. The goal in most of the game's 24 environmental puzzles is for Zack to get to the treasure. Standing in your way will be a variety of goons or monsters, mysterious objects, and physical barriers. Helping you is Wiki, a magical creature with a tail that can spin like a helicopter, who hovers near Zack and has the magical power to turn ordinary items into useful tools.
Each puzzle starts with a flyover, giving you a bird's-eye view of the landscape and the location of the treasure. The key to solving the puzzles is to figure out what you can manipulate in the environment, and in which order you must do things. You solve each puzzle by using the Wii remote in a variety of creative ways. To move Zack, you point and click; clicking on things around you will reveal money and hidden objects. As you work your way through the game's progressively harder puzzles, you will use the remote to twist open doors, cast a fishing rod, play the piccolo, shake animals to morph them into tools or weapons, and so much more.
Is it any good?
Every once in a while, a video game developer does everything right. What makes Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure so special is that it combines a quirky cartoon adventure featuring a young pirate boy and his whirly-gig sidekick with outstanding environmental puzzles that get your creative juices flowing. Plus, to keep kids from getting frustrated, the game builds in a hint system and the ability to redo fatal mistakes. And, as icing on this video game cake, the game is loaded with hilarious dialogue.
With over 30 hours of gameplay, the puzzles can be played slowly over time. There are also Mini games to explore. Plus, the game allows others to get involved as advisors who can draw circles around areas to investigate. This is a fun way for a parent and child to play together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes this such a good game. It is the puzzles? The characters? The silliness of the dialogue? How often did you use the hint system? Zack and Wiki are the rare characters with no movies, TV shows, or long-running game series under their belt -- did you like playing with new characters? Why do you think they make more games featuring characters you already know?
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