Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is the latest and greatest puzzle platformer from Nintendo. Normally when I hear platformer, I think of a mustached man jumping around the Mushroom Kingdom, but unlike Mario, Captain Toad can’t jump. Instead, Nintendo has taken the platformer genera that we have come to know and love, and flipped it on its head. The platforming in Captain toad is all about the puzzle solving, and how you manipulate the environment, rather then how you traverse it.
You’re main goal is to guide Captain Toad, and Toadette around beautifully crafted dioramas in search of gems, coins, and the golden star at the end of each stage. The game is all about perspective, and it’s one of the first games I’ve seen where the camera plays a huge role. Spinning the camera even the slightest bit changes the way you originally perceived the layout of the level to be, and doing so will reveal hidden paths and obstacles, as well as treasure you may have originally thought was unreachable.
The game boasts 70+ bite-sized levels that span a variety of beautiful vistas, and landscapes from beaches, castles, and mountains, to locomotives, and even outer space. Every stage looks absolutely stunning, and it may just be Nintendo’s most beautiful game to date.
While each stage only requires you to grab the star to move on, there are also bonus objectives, and 3 hidden gems in each level, which unlock some really awesome late game content that I will try not to spoil too much in this review.
As you journey through the game, you will run into a handful of unique boss stages, but instead of the typical boss fights we are used to in other games, Captain Toad changes it up. Rather then focusing on fighting them, you have to outsmart them by moving Toad, and Toadette around them, as most of the bosses are puzzles themselves within the stages, which feels fresh and new.
While the game focuses heavily on the way the camera is used, the camera controls are unfortunately the biggest problem with this game. The main problem is that there are two ways to control it. You can use the right analog to spin the camera which works great, but the gyro sensor that is built into the Wii U game pad also controls the camera. Even your slightest movements are picked up by the gamepad, which sometimes send your viewing angle into a tizzy, which is unfortunate since there is no way to turn this option off. What’s even more annoying, is that there is a constant onscreen prompt telling you how to use the camera controls, which takes up a huge chunk of the lower screen and blocks a good amount of your sight.
Another issue that I have is the scaling of challenge and difficulty. I blazed through 80% of the game with little effort, and collected most of the stages hidden gems on a single try, without ever needing to head back into them. The game never really picks up in difficulty until the late secret post game stages are unlocked, and by that point, if feels too late. It’s some of the post game stages that really shine though, and even change up the entire formula of the game, making me hungry for more of those types of levels, and wishing some of the concepts were fleshed out into their own separate modes.
All in all, I really liked Captain Toad. Even though it took a while for the challenge to kick in, some of the dioramas where absolutely breathe taking to look at, and the fact there were 70 plus levels crammed into a budget title really made me feel like I got my monies worth. Captain Toad Treasure tracker is a fresh new take on the puzzle platforming genera, and it is definitely worth a play.
+Lots of levels for a budget title
-Annoying on screen prompts
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker may have a few minor annoyances when it comes to camera controls and on screen prompts, but if you are a fan of puzzle platformers and getting a lot of bang for your buck, then you’ll definitely want to play this “toadally” awesome game.