NS Review: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
As someone who completely adored the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World, I was VERY excited when Nintendo announced that they were going to release a game entirely made of these levels. Needless to say that Nintendo, as always, didn’t disappoint.
Nintendo have created over 70 perfectly-realised little puzzles in the form of beautiful diorama-style boxes. The dynamic, carried over from their first appearance, centres around Captain Toad’s inability to jump. This means that each level needs to be negotiated simply by walking around the space, using the camera to see your way around. The big change is the Captain’s new ability to pull up turnips (like in SMB2) to attack enemies, making him not entirely as helpless.
Carrying over the artistic style from 3D World, each one of the levels is completely beautiful. A high-definition wonderland, and pretty much perfect lighting, coming from an unseen source throughout every moment. The cartoon-esque art style of the original title is simplified even further to better suit the simplified protagonists. The chosen style is, in short, perfectly suited to the style of the game that it is part of.
The music in the game is one of my favourite aspects. Captain Toad has some of the most wonderful music in gaming. The soundtrack of the game borrows heavily from 3D World with it’s own music also added. The music is wonderfully jaunty and not only encapsulates the overall feel of the game, but also the care-free attitudes of the characters.
But, is the game any good itself? In short, incredibly so. Each of the levels is not only a perfect self-contained creation, but each one not only has several items to find, but also a hidden objective to both discover and complete. If you couple that with the additional converted levels from 3D World to unlock, the sheer amount of content, even in a game as short as this, is staggering. It may be small, but it’s perfectly formed.
Using the premise introduced in the character’s few levels in Mario 3D World, the little guy that can’t jump gets to star in his own puzzle platformer. Captain Toad, joined by his buddy Toadette, embark on an adventure to collect stars and fight birds.
It’s a solid game that’s worth your time, and a fairly short game compared to most Mario games out there but I feel the length is suitable for the kind of game that it is. It explores its concepts, offers some fun challenges that make the player think, and doesn’t wear out its welcome.
The levels are all set in small areas where the player can fully rotate the camera around it, while also being able to tilt up to get a top-down view of the map. The right control stick on the GamePad can be used to move the camera, although motion controls can also be used. The primary fault in the game for me is the inability to disable the motion tracking. I almost always used the right control stick, and having the camera move suddenly because I adjusted my position was a nuisance. A few ‘mine cart’ levels offer two different views, with the screen showing the surrounding areas and the GamePad displaying a first-person view of Toad as you try and shoot anything that’s near you. Playing these levels felt a little awkward as I never knew what screen to look at, and I almost always stared at the GamePad for the whole level.
Since each level is set in a compact area, I found myself focussing more on collecting everything on the stage than I would do in the main Mario series. The prizes in each level are the single star that is to Toad what the flagpole is to Mario, and also three gems that are a little harder to find. I felt more motivated and encouraged to collect not just the stars and gems, but also all of the coins. Various bonus levels that pop up throughout the game challenge you to collect as many coins as possible in the given time. It’s quite surprising that the game doesn’t tally your total coin count for your entire play through, akin to New Super Mario Bros. 2, though it does record the highest coin score for each level individually.
All in all, it’s a charming spin-off that puts the spotlight on one of Mario’s recent side characters, with intriguing level design and a sparkly soundtrack that takes the best from Mario 3D World.