They're on a quest to pay off their considerable debt.
Er, scratch that.
They're on a quest for treasure.
It's jokes such as those that are running rampant throughout the entirety of Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure. And, this blogger can easily say it is one of the best games to grace the Wii yet.
The game starts off with Zack and Wiki on a junk plane, bound for treasure. As part of the Sea Rabbits pirating gang, Zack and Wiki are at the very bottom of the totem pole. Suddenly, they're attacked by Captain Rose and her cadre of goons, who're after a map in their possession. The pilot bails (Johnny Styles, who is one of the more lovable members of the cast), and Zack and Wiki jump ship.
Landing on a weird island, they stumble upon a treasure chest that houses the head of the legendary pirate Barbaros. Once he's freed from his prison, he informs you that if you find his other pieces (17 total) and put him back together, he'll give you his legendary ship.
So, the game introduces you to the Sea Rabbit hideout, which acts as the game's HUB. From here, you're thrust into environments (or stages) where the ultimate goal is snagging another piece of Barbaros. The difficulty of each stage ranges from pleasantly breezy to horribly frustrating. But, never does the game frustrate so much that you want to put the controller through your TV down and walk away.
Solving puzzles in these environments, from small things like picking up a rock to expose a hole to bigger things like using Wiki to transform a snake into a grabber so you can reach an item up high will give you a HirameQ. HirameQ is described by the game as "how we quantify people's imaginative power , their energy, and their courage to challenge - all raw materials for puzzle-solving, and essential for finding treasure." HirameQs can be higher if you're quicker to solve a problem in a time-sensitive situation.
And, as you can imagine, different puzzles call for different uses of the Wiimote. And not since WarioWare: Smooth Moves has a game been so excellent in its use of all of the possible movements and positions of the Wiimote. You'll hold it on its side to play it like a flute, you'll have to crank it like you would, well .. turn a crank and you'll have to hold it horizontally and drop it, as you would let go of a large object. The game really acts as a shining example for good control design in a Wii game.
Visually, the game isn't so bad, either. The character design might be more recognizable and identifiable with the young ones, but the environments are nothing short of amazing. Varied and fully alive, you'll find navigating each to be nothing short of beautiful. When it comes to graphics, Zack & Wiki hardly finds time to disappoint.
Overall, the game is easily one of the best on the console, if not one of the top five best. It's clearly set the bar for controls in a Wii game, proving that the scheme is a viable solution outside of shaking the Wiimote wildly. It's a herald back to a time when the adventure game reigned supreme and shows that the genre can be revitalized to provide fun and new experiences. You owe it to yourself to pick up this game.
You won't be disappointed.
Final score: 9/10