Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Review – Fun on Repeat

This video game was first released on the Wii U console in 2014. I’m reviewing the updated version on the Nintendo Switch, released July 13th.

Pros and Cons

+ A cute, charming appeal we’ve come to know and love from Nintendo games

+ Limited controls and abilities enhance the puzzles and make them more challenging

+ A simple story that is accessible to players of all ages

– Repetitive and reliant on new objectives in past levels

– Vastly overpriced for the amount of content

– Multiplayer is a complete waste of time that should have been left out

Full Coverage

I always hesitate to say that a game is meant for children, but Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker checks most of the boxes. Cutesy soundtrack, funny characters, accessible gameplay. Most Nintendo games have a universal appeal – especially competitive games with such a massive following as Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart. Captain Toad just isn’t one of them.

At first, I wondered if anyone would repeatedly enjoy something as repetitive as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Many of the puzzles are too easy to feel rewarding, even as they make the most of the Switch’s handheld touchscreen and rotating camera. The game is definitely short, especially considering its $40 price point.

And yet, I enjoyed it enough to keep playing. It’s relaxing fun, even if it feels like a side dish to a larger game.

The game expands on the ‘Adventures of Captain Toad’ levels in Super Mario 3D World by giving the Captain Toad character his very own game. Captain Toad is a limiting character to play as – he cannot jump or attack – but this is to the benefit of the game’s puzzles. Unlike Mario, you can’t just jump out of the way of a Goomba, or a Shy Guy. Part of solving each puzzle is rotating the camera around the small world you’re on to spot hidden pathways, items, and traps for enemies, which is great fun and is well-implemented.

The base story is simple: Captain Toad has to rescue Toadette from Wingo, a massive bird with an appetite for stealing your girl. Before or after you’ve finished the story, every level can be replayed to beat a special objective. Some of these involve not being seen by enemies, others involve finding a hidden collectible. There’s also a ‘hide and seek’ element, where you must find a pixelized Toad hidden somewhere in the map. Unlike the Wii U version of the game, you don’t need an Amiibo to unlock that mode.

I played the game on the Nintendo Switch, almost entirely in handheld mode. The cartoony graphics serve the small screen well, though they are also crisp on a full TV. The new multiplayer mode is atrocious on any screen – one player controls Captain Toad, while the other confusingly manipulates the camera angle and stalls enemies by throwing turnips at them. I feel two characters on the screen would fight to move the camera, so this felt like a lose-lose situation.

The game is cute, cuddly, and fun – and for the most part, it stays that way. The biggest issue with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is that the levels are very repetitive, to the point of being off-putting. If you’ve already played or beaten the game on the Wii U, there’s not much else to see, aside from the new Super Mario Odyssey based levels. I wouldn’t recommend dropping $40 just for those, but I would recommend new players give the demo a try to see if the game is for them.

-Sean Daniel   sendtopervin@gmail.com

2018-08-04T08:10:44-05:00