We were fortunate enough to be invited to to spend an hour or so playing Capcom's Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure. As always, we'll let X-play do the heavy lifting of an in-depth review and instead give you some brief impressions.
It's easy to see why IGN felt the need to begin a "Play Zack and Wiki" campaign on the web: With its cute, cartoon characters and no-violence policy, a hardcore gamer's first thought upon checking out Zack & Wiki is likely to be something like: "Ewww...This is a kiddie game...and it's on the Wii!"
Their loss. Zack and Wiki, with its family-friendly vibe and cel-shaded cartoon style, is a very good game. Maybe a great game. And while an intelligent kids will almost certainly dig it, so will intelligent adults.
There's a lot to like here: Stylish visuals, challenging puzzles, and a nostalgic re-imagining of the point-and-click adventures of yore.
Players of Zack and Wiki take on the role of Zack, a cartoon pirate, with a flying monkey pal named Wiki. The object is to point and/or click your way to the titular Barbaros' chests, one on each of the game's seven levels, each guarded by unique obstacles and puzzles.
Zack finds and uses a variety of different objects and tools on each level to solve increasingly difficult challenges. We checked out the Ice level, and were genuinely tested in our attempts to free the chest from the ice cube in which it was stuck.
Luckily, the other people in the room was with us were happy to provide suggestions: The game is perfect to play in a group. Being "spectators" and yelling out suggestions can be nearly as much fun as being the guy with the controller. Hence the "fun for the whole family" part of Zack.
Even with the help (and heckling) of fellow gamers, we still used Zack and Wiki's hint system a few times. Just to test it, we swear. (It's not like we needed a hint or anything, seriously.) The hint system provides tips in exchange for currency, so in a perfect world, you wouldn't need it, but in the real world, you'll be glad it's around. The hint-system nicely solves the adventure games' eternal problem of being challenging without having players end up helplessly stuck.
Objects in the game are manipulated with the Wii-mote, so a saw requires a sawing motion and hammer demands a swing. These "doing stuff" mini-games are fun and entirely intuitive. Little instruction is needed.
Overall, we were very impressed with Zack and Wiki, and can't wait until it comes out on October 23rd, and if that makes us less-than-hardcore, so be it. You be all hardcore. We'll stick with fun, imaginative games.