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February 9, 2015 / Jett

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Review

Having played bit roles in Nintendo games since the original Super Mario Bros., Toad finally gets an opportunity to shine in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Using the Toad mini games from Super Mario 3D World as a base, Nintendo expands on that experience with dozens of new levels on a disc that’s less than full price. Is Toad’s debut a real step towards stardom?

Things start off with Toad and Toadette on a treasure hunting adventure. After finding a star, Toadette is kidnapped by a giant bird and it’s up to Toad to save her. As you would expect from a game set in the Super Mario universe, don’t expect much of a story here.

Instead, the focus is Toad’s traversal through the dozens of puzzling levels. Unlike a traditional Mario game, Toad can’t jump. His backpack is too heavy for any sort of vertical action, so most of the game is spent with his feet planted on the ground. Instead, all of the levels are designed around puzzle-solving. In particular the camera becomes a critical part of the experience, as you’ll need to manipulate the camera in ways that reveal new entrances and other secrets hidden within each stage.

It was a novel approach then and one that’s still fun now. For the most part, Nintendo successfully builds on the Super Mario 3D World proof-of-concept with larger levels with more intricate puzzles to solve. Nothing here is particularly challenging, though it’s a joy to explore each world and work though the different challenges put in front of you. I especially like the cherry challenges that require Toad to

Some of the new wrinkles to the action don’t work as well as you’d hope. For instance, the touch screen is often used to rotate knobs and move platforms through touch. Neither felt better by using the touch screen versus a button, and I actually found the transition between the Gamepad screen and my television needlessly jarring when the game asks you to switch between the two. Shooting levels that require you to aim the Gamepad also don’t feel too great work work too well.

Since the game isn’t a full-priced release, it isn’t particularly long. For me to play through it took about six hours. If you really want to blaze through it, you could be done even quicker. What kept me around longer was the side objective of collecting all of the diamonds and completing the secret objectives. I didn’t finish everything the game had to offer, but there’s clearly incentive to replay levels in order to 100% the game.

A few missteps aside, there’s a lot to like about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. By exploring this gameplay concept to the fullest, they’ve created a great puzzle platformer that’s chock full of Nintendo quality and charm. Take a bow, Toad and Toadette. Your debut adventure is one that even Mario would be proud of.

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