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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Nintendo Wii U

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Nintendo Wii U

box artPlatform: Nintendo Wii U

Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date: December 5, 2014

Genre: Puzzle Games, Platformer

Nerd Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by Steroid Gamer

Are you ready for adventure?  Captain Toad is.  In fact, he’ll even tell you so before each level begins.  In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker players get to control Toad and his girlfriend/friend/running mate/co-adventurer, or whatever relationship she means to Toad, Toadette.  What is your job as the walking, talking mushrooms?  Collect power stars.  Seems simple enough right?  At first it is, until Wingo, a giant bird wearing a turban, comes along and steals Toad’s power star along with Toadette!  Now it’s up to the pint sized Toad to go and rescue Toadette and regain control of the power star.  For what it’s worth, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is also a prequel to Super Mario 3D World even though that’s where the game’s original concept came from.  Mario timeline’s may not be a priority for most people, but I thought I’d inform you all regardless.

jungle

Toad can’t jump on Piranha Plants. So Watch out!!

If you have played Super Mario 3D World then you’ll recognize the simple-puzzling gameplay.   In each level it is your job to help guide Toad or Toadette, both are playable at some point during the game, to the level’s Power Star while remaining unharmed as you navigate through an assortment of puzzles.  Puzzles range from anything and everything you’ve seen in previous Mario games.  The reason things are interesting this time around?  Well, each level is, roughly, in the shape of a cube and you can rotate the whole level around in varying degrees.  Moving the course around often times reveals a hidden item.  It could be a collectible, some coins, a 1-up mushroom, or perhaps a secret entrance that helps Captain Toad progress further.

Those Boos are up to their tricks again.

Those Boos are up to their tricks again.

All of the levels are designed in very clever ways.  The gamepad works as the primary and only controller, but it’s not integrated in a way that makes it feel very important.  The gamepad is used in a few unusual ways such as; tapping highlighted sections of the map (which indicate they can shift positions), freezing enemies in place, throwing turnips, and blowing into the gamepad’s mic in order to move some platforms.  It may not come as a surprise, but none of the gamepad specific interaction is anything special.  Sometimes I even found it to be cumbersome because despite being able to see the entire game on the gamepad, it mirrors what’s shown on your TV, my instincts still wanted to look at the larger HDTV sitting in front of me.  The gamepad play wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t always great either.  It felt forced and, at best, gimmicky at times.

Your primary objective in each level is to collect the golden power star at the end of each level, but there are a few secondary objectives as well for the purist out there to keep themselves busy.  Each level has three hidden silver gems to collect, which double as the Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker’s progression system.  As you dig deeper into the game your progress will be halted unless you have “x” amount of silver gems.  This will come to now surprise to Mario veteran’s as this is the norm in most games.  The only difference is typically the power stars themselves unlock more levels in the game. Honestly, despite some of the gems being hidden in really creative ways, and is some cases impossible, you shouldn’t have much trouble collecting enough gems to progress.  The bar, or amount of gems needed to unlock future levels, is extremely low so don’t sweat it if you can’t find all three in a given level.  You can move on and come back later.

Is it weird that Toad is surrounded by more mushrooms, yet they can't walk and talk like him?

Is it weird that Toad is surrounded by more mushrooms, yet they can’t walk and talk like him?

Each level also has a hidden objective which varied from things such as; taking no damage, collecting 100 coins, or finding the hidden golden mushroom.  These are optional and don’t serve any real purpose besides giving you something else to do.  If you can manage to collect all the silver gems in every level and complete the hidden objective than, yet another objective pops up.  This one is simply just a time trial where you compete against the clock to finish a level under the set time.  It might seem like there is a lot of “extra” objectives to do in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, but don’t let that fool you.  The game is very straightforward and is pretty easy to complete.  There are a good chunk of levels in the game, but if you are just completing a level once, and not necessarily going for all the extra objectives, you could probably beat the game in three hours.  There are three episodes in Treasure Tracker, episodes contain about 18 levels a piece, and even a bonus chapter that unlocks after beating the game.  So there is plenty to do, but I’m not sure the quality of all the extra stuff is worth your time.

The lighting is breathtaking in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

The lighting is breathtaking in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

I didn’t think it was possible after seeing Super Mario 3D World, but Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is absolutely beautiful.  Like 10 out of 10 knockout beautiful.  The levels are varied with themes frequent to the Mario franchise like Boo’s castle, sunny beaches, and lava levels.  None of this was a surprise, and while I might be taking some of this for granted I expected nothing less than perfection from Nintendo’s visuals.  However, I was surprised with one key ingredient.  The lighting.  Yes, you heard that right.  It may come as a shock to hear or at the very least something you wouldn’t think of as making a huge impact on a game like this, but it does.  The lighting is gorgeous and helps accentuate all the right characters and environments in all the right spots.  It left me speechless on many occasions, so much so that instead of gushing about it more I’m just going to offer you some advice.  If you ever get a chance to play Toad Treasure Tracker, or see it in person, just stop and take it all in for a minute. It is a thing of beauty.

Multiple Toads! Yup, the double cherry power-up from Mario 3D World is back.

Multiple Toads! Yup, the double cherry power-up from Mario 3D World is back.

The level design is equally as impressive.  Toad and Toadette are unable to jump, but that doesn’t mean the enemy forces let up.  The mushroom duo can run, climb, and that’s about it.  They can’t throw punches or kick a Goomba in the face and as previously mentioned, these toads are unable to get airborne.  The premise may sound like its setting up for a tough challenge, but each level is a challenge in a way you’re probably not accustomed too, not one you can’t handle.  Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is all about testing your brain power.  How can I slip past this Shy Guy without him noticing?  How do I get past this giant horde of Goombas?  The answers are there, trust me.  You’re just going to have to think outside the box.  The beginning levels and about two-thirds of the game don’t provide any brain teasers too difficult.  Instead they provide joy, laughter, and fun. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was a frustration free game.  The slower paced gameplay was great and provided a nice and relaxing journey.  The latter few levels of the game amp up the difficulty but don’t worry, by the time you reach that point you will have learned every trick in Captain Toad’s book.  The game does a great job at teaching you the rules and boundaries of its universe, so by the time you reach the later, tougher levels you’ll be more than ready to take them on headstrong.

Get used to seeing this pain in the neck.

Get used to seeing this pain in the neck.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an amazing adventure.  Nintendo splashed plenty of color, charm, and ingenuity in its levels that will leave you smiling.  Smiling not only because of the visuals alone, but because how smart you will feel after you’ve successfully guided Captain Toad to the nearest power star.   Surprisingly, the lighting was one of the brightest stars in the game, doing a superb job of making characters pop of your screen and feel life like.  Each level’s design was a mystery in its own and a blast to try and decipher. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker builds upon the simple levels of the same style found in Super Mario 3D World to a great effect.   Nintendo has taken what was a small distraction in a previous game and fleshed it out into a fully fledged entry of its own.  Fortunately for all of us, the resulting adventure is one of whit, excitement, joy, and pride.  A journey that Captain Toad and Toadette are more than willing to share with you and you won’t want to miss it.

zoomed out

Written by Sean Collins

Sean Collins


Sean Collins (aka Steroid Gamer) started playing video games when he was 8 years old. His first console was a Nintendo 64 and his first game was Mario Kart 64. He fell in love immediately and has been playing games ever since.

My current systems include; N64, Gameboy Color, Gamecube, Wii, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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