Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Review

Captain Toad

Super Mario 3D World is one of the best games on the Wii U, with some of the best platforming gameplay in the history of the Mario series. But among the highlights of 3D World were the Captain Toad segments, in which Captain Toad would navigate small stages without the ability to jump. But these stages were in short supply, leaving many players hungry for more.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is here to answer that call. It takes the same basic concept of those 3D World bonus stages – navigate small levels and solve puzzles, no jumping – and not only gives players more of it, but expands the concept in many thrilling and creative ways.

Captain ToadTreasure Tracker tweaks the rules ever so slightly. Instead of exhausting a stage of its green stars as he did in 3D World, Captain Toad now only needs to reach a single (gold) star to complete a level. But each stage also houses three diamonds – which you’ll need to unlock more levels – as well as a bonus objective (finding a hidden item, collect a set number of coins, use a minimum of a stage’s trinkets, etc.). The bonus objective isn’t revealed until after you’ve played through a stage once, so you’ll usually find a good reason to go back to replay levels to mark off every objective.

Most of the stages are small, diorama-like entities, with their entirety being visible on-screen from the get-go (only a select few stages are large enough for the action to scroll elsewhere), and they’re all puzzles based around a single mechanic.

In some stages, 3D World’s Double Cherry returns, leaving players to navigate stages while controlling multiple Toads at once. Some levels have Toad flipping the stage over, piece by piece. Some of the best stages see Captain Toad (or Toadette) riding mine carts, which may not have the hectic action of Tropical Freeze’s mine cart stages, but they do bring a unique take on puzzle-solving.

Every stage is a showcase of a fun idea and gameplay hook, and the attention to detail is surprisingly deep. It’s amazing how many creative directions Nintendo takes the Captain Toad concept. Only a handful of stages are truly head-scratching, but they are consistently fresh.

Captain ToadAnother highlight is how well Captain Toad integrates the Wii U Gamepad. As mentioned, most of the stages are bite-sized, and this allows for the camera to search every nook and cranny of the environment. Players can rotate the camera 360 degrees around most stages, and even go for a bird’s eye view to find every last piece of treasure. Players can control the camera with either an analogue stick or through motion control. The former is ideal for newcomers, as the motion controls can be a bit too sensitive, but their implementation in the aforementioned mine cart stages (in which players get a first-person perspective of the action on the Gamepad’s screen) is some of the best on the system.

Touch screen controls and yes, even blowing into the Gamepad’s microphone are used at points to alter the environment and aid the Toads from point A to point B. It may not provide any radically new uses of the Gamepad, but Captain Toad uses the it’s features in various meaningful ways, and they never feel forced.

Aesthetically, the game is beautiful. Yes, it’s using the same visual scheme as 3D World – and even borrows some of that game’s music – but it’s a testament to just how gorgeous that game was that it still looks and sounds so pleasing a second time around. And Captain Toad uses these materials in enough of its own ways to not just feel like a rehash (though a little more original music would always be welcome).

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker also boasts a surprising amount of content. The adventure is divided into three ‘episodes’ (one in which Captain Toad is the star, one where Toadette takes center stage, and one where they both share the spotlight), with each episode housing a good chunk of levels. An additional “Bonus Mode” has a good number of special stages, including some from Super Mario 3D World (retooled to accommodate for Captain Toad’s lack of jumping), provided you have Super Mario 3D World saved data on your Wii U.

Captain ToadOn the downside, the game isn’t quite so creative when it comes to its boss fights. You’ll only encounter a handful of boss monsters throughout the adventure, and all of them are variations of the same two bosses. They provide some fun, but with how creative the game is in most of its other aspects, the lack of variety in bosses is a bit of a disappointment.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker may not be the biggest or best game on the Wii U, but it is one of the best showcases of the Wii U’s features, and another great addition to the system’s increasingly impressive library. And it’s charming like nobody’s business.

 

8.0

 

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5 thoughts on “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Review

  1. jdh5153

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about Captain Toad since it’s release. I may finally get a Wii U sometime this year, and I’d definitely pick this up alongside it. Sounds quite enjoyable!

    -avideogamelife.com

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  2. Matt

    I want this game badly.

    Due to the whole Nintendo in Brazil debacle (the one where their official distributor around these parts has given up on the country due to the high taxes), I have yet to find a copy of Captain Toad! Well, to be fair, I did find one yesterday, but it was 107 dollars (I kid you not, I just did the math), and I am obviously not going to spend that kind of money on a game that is being sold for 40 bucks over in the US.

    So, in order to keep me busy until I do find Captain Toad, I am currently going through Super Metroid so that I can finally get 100%, since it seems that whenever I beat that game there is one or two pieces of equipment that ellude me!

    Anyway, now that my rant is over, I can say that your review is great. I am disappointed by the repeated complaints about the bosses that I have been reading, because Captain Toad looks like a game that could have put together some rather creative battles.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. themancalledscott Post author

    Ouch! Hopefully you’ll be able to find the game at a reasonable price. And yeah, aside from the boss fights (which actually aren’t bad, just repetitive) the game is pretty great.

    Speaking of Super Metroid, that’s one that I myself need to play 100% through. I’ve actually done the whole “200.6%” thing in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, so it would be nice to completely finish the other half of Metroidvania.

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