Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a new franchise for Nintendo which was has spawned from a series of side missions within Super Mario 3D world. What’s started as a few simple puzzle levels involving Toad in a bid to retrieve a lonesome gold star, has now created a fresh new franchise for Nintendo starring none other than Toad himself.
Back in early 2015 Captain Toad Treasure Tracker was released on the Nintendo Wii U consoles and I for one was certainly a big fan that truly enjoyed my time with the newest IP from Nintendo. Now, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker has made its way to the Nintendo Switch family and has had a few improvements and modifications along the way from a few additional levels, amiibo support and a graphics boost as well.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a puzzle game at heart but not in the traditional sense that you may be thinking and it’s certainly no Columns or Puyo Pop Fever. The object of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is simple; to collect the gold stars. You are presented with a level or setting that’s themed on the Super Mario 3D World universe, and your goal is to navigate a path for toad to reach the gold star and thus ending the level, except there’s one small catch or two. Unlike other titles in the Mario universe, Toad cannot attack or jump, making it far more of a challenge to reach that coveted gold star.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker starts you off slow with its introductory level that involves you walking your way to the top of a small cliff and rocks to retrieve a gold star. Once you’ve completed your objective it’s off to the next level, it’s as simple as that. In terms of a story it’s pretty thin, in fact almost non-existent in true Nintendo fashion. But it doesn’t matter as it’s not really needed nor does it enhance the gameplay in any way. In short, Toadette’s been kidnapped by an extremely large bird and your job is to find her and bring her home.
The games controls are also quite simple making it easy for almost anyone to pick up and play. The main controls are your thumbsticks, with the left thumbstick controlling toad’s movements and the right thumbstick controlling the camera view/angle. In fact, the right thumbstick is extremely important for looking around to ensure you can find your path firstly, but also to see behind walls, blocks, enemies and secret doors. A quick press of the Y button will allow you to zoom in for a closer look, and should you wish to traverse the level in a hurry, pressing the X button will allow Toad to run that little bit faster.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is jammed packed with levels that will test your ability to navigate some complex 3D worlds, some 70 levels actually. By comparison to Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker makes those levels seem both tiny and easy in comparison. The amount of effort that has been put into the design of these levels is truly commendable. Nintendo have done a top job here and it almost feels like Mario Galaxy with each and every map you enter has its own theme, feel, enemies and style to it. It’s just fantastic.
Aside from trying to obtain the gold star at the end of each level, you can also try and collect the three diamonds that are hidden within each level. Plus there is also a gold mushroom that’s hidden within each level that will have you searching every single nook and cranny to find. Also, little Toad icons are now present in levels which was previously only available if you touched the Toad Amiibo to the Wii U gamepad in the original version. There is certainly plenty of replayability with the collectables as I found myself repeating levels trying to complete various challenges such as time limits, collecting certain amounts of coins and trying to survive unscathed, all adding to the challenges.
Nintendo has also introduced multiplayer support in the sense that you can have a second player join you in your adventure. The second player takes one of the Joy Con controllers and can essentially keep enemies at bay, move platforms and can shift the camera and world around. The Switch version also removes the need to blow into the microphone on the game pad in order to raise or lower platforms which was a feature of the Wii U version, thank goodness for that.
In terms of drawbacks with Captain Toad Treasure Tracker there really isn’t a whole lot that’s worth complaining about. However, I must draw attention to the fact that although this is essentially a Wii U port of the original Toad Treasure Tracker I feel that the Nintendo Switch version could have tried a little harder. I still am unsure as to why four Super Mario 3D World levels were removed to cater for four new Super Mario Odyssey levels instead? Could these not simply have been added on as more pages in the book? I would have loved to have seen more than just four new levels included here that would have made the experience worthwhile for those Wii U owners that have completed the original title. As it stands I am hard pressed to encourage those Wii U owners to repurchase the title for their Switch systems for the sake of just four new levels.
Graphics & Sound
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is bright and colourful as you would expect from a first party Nintendo title with tremendous amounts of detail of its characters, enemies and environments. There is certainly a noticeable upgrade visually with the Nintendo Switch version running at 1080p in docked mode and 720p in handheld mode. It’s silky smooth and never misses a beat with both modes churning along at 60fps, and there’s no day one updates in sight either. In terms of sound, its classic Nintendo with groans from Toad that resemble words and background music from various other Nintendo titles which is adequate.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker took a simple puzzle mission from Super Mario 3D World and turned it into a fantastic new franchise that I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. Originally when I played the Wii U version I wasn’t able to put it down until I unlocked every level, secret and more. That will still be the case here for new players to the series, however for those who have previously played the Wii U version there is little to no reason to pick up Captain Toad again for just four levels. However if you have never had the opportunity to play Captain Toad, it is an adorable puzzle game that’s true to the Nintendo franchises and worlds you’ve come to love and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.
Thank you to Nintendo for providing a copy of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker for review.