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Project Treasure Island Z - first look hands-on

Finally. That's the first word that popped into our heads when we saw Project Treasure Island Z in action on the Wii. Finally, someone gets it... and gets the Wii. Finally, someone besides Nintendo understands the console's revolutionary potential for innovation and immersion. Finally, a family-friendly game that's not necessarily idiot-friendly as well. Finally.

On the surface, Project TIZ is a simple story of pirates and puzzles. Zack, a determined-looking tyke with big eyes and an even bigger skull-emblazoned captain's hat, dreams of one day becoming the world's greatest and strongest pirate. In order to do so, he must traverse the usual cartoon universe of whimsical characters, adorably intimidating enemies and themed settings such as "fiery caves" and "creepy castles." Picturing a merge of Wind Waker and One Piece will give you a good idea of what to expect.

In order to progress, however, Zack must solve a series of environmental puzzles using whatever tools he can discover in his surroundings. And that's where the innovation comes in. Each of the game's 500 interactive items is controlled directly by you, the player, with the Wii remote. That might not seem like a big deal at first - after all, we've already seen half a dozen uninspiring titles that use the remote as a gun or sword. But Project TIZ promises to go a lot further, requiring you to use the remote as a key, as a crank, as a saw, as a lever, as a scoop and even as a musical instrument. You can use it to push, pull, slide, turn, rotate, smash and shake objects around you - whatever it takes to continue onward in your adventure. And these are just the methods we tested in one night of play. In a game that will supposedly run over 40 hours, the number of possibilities is staggering.

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