Zack & Wiki

Tonight, my oldest daughter asked me if I would play Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure with her. Zack & Wiki is a puzzle adventure game for the Wii, released back in 2007, but a great game. (The Smithsonian ranked it as one of the top 80 from the past 40 years, and it won GameSpot’s Best of 2007 Adventure Game Award.)

In any event, we were playing a level called “Frost Breath.” There is a 4 by 3 grid of mirror holders. Really, there are 11 mirror holders with the bottom center position as a laser cannon.

The laser cannon can be pointed in 5 different directions — assuming standard position, they are at 0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees. Each of the mirror holders can hold a mirror in 4 positions, but some allow the mirror to face N, S, E, or W. Other holders allow the mirror to face NE, SE, SW, or NW.


One possible scenario

The goal is to hit the big ice kitty with the laser. The first shot is easy. However, the kitty gets angry and causes some of the mirror holders to be destroyed. Combine that with the fact that the level is randomized every time you play it, and the player only has 3 mirrors to place, this is a tricky level.

Working with my daughter, we had to figure out which direction to aim the cannon, and how to position the mirrors so that the laser beams bounce the correct way to hit the target. Talk about having fun with angles! It almost reminded me of some of the billiard problems we see in textbooks, but I think much more enjoyable (and more difficult even though the angles were all multiples of 45 degrees).

Although I beat the game years ago, not that I have been refreshed to this puzzle, I am curious if I can work it into a lesson or a review with my students.

Have you ever played Zack & Wiki? Any ideas how to make this academically appropriate?


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