By Patrick Klein
Nintendo has always been good at taking some of their original ideas and make them feel fresh and new again. Captain Toad is no exception to this. Other than Super Mario Bros. 2 (Super Mario USA), Toad was always a side character that was commonly used as an NPC in the Mushroom Kingdom and a comic relief character. Now Nintendo has given him a chance to shine in his own IP, and shine he does.
Captain Toad was originally a mini game in the WiiU game Super Mario 3D World. The cute mushroom-headed character, now doning explorer gear and a massive head lamp, has gathered a crew of 3 multicolored-headed Toads and gone out into the world to help Mario collect Stars. You would take the WiiU gamepad and use the touch controls to move and manipulate the mini stage to help Toad move around and collect stars scattered about. The mini game was a hit and so Nintendo decided to take the concept and make a full fledge game out of it.
The story starts with Captain Toad and his female friend, Toadette, off adventuring at some ruins and they find a power star. Shortly after collecting it, a giant bird swoops down and steals it from them. Toadette takes action and grabs onto the star as the bird takes flight and ends up being whisked away, along with the power star. Now Toad has to embark across the world to find Toadette, while collecting all the treasures along the way. The story is simple, but it does the trick in driving this 8-10 hour journey.
The main purpose of the game is to collect the power star in each of the game’s 64 mini maps. Toad is a weak character and cannot jump or fight enemies like Mario can, so you have to figure out other ways to get around obstacles. The power stars are fairly easy to collect if that’s how you want to play the game, however there is a lot more that you can do. Each level also has 3 gems that are hidden around that require a bit more thinking if you hope to collect all of them. And if that’s not enough, every level has a secondary objective that you can find out about after collecting the power star. These objectives can range from find the hidden golden mushroom to defeat every enemy on the board. I found these objectives a lot of fun and can really ramp up the challenge in this game.
Still not enough gameplay? Again, after collecting the power star in the level, the game offers another game called “Find the Pixel Toad.” An 8-bit Toad will be hidden somewhere in the level and you have to either keep a good look out, or listen to his 8-bit cry as you get closer to his location. A lot of times I relied on the cry because he is NOT easy to find. Once you do see where he is, all you have to do is get a clear tap on him and you win.
So what did I think about the game? I liked it. This is a pretty chill and simple game, but the levels are all different enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m just repeating the same tasks every time. The game starts off really easy but will get harder after the first 10-20 levels, but it’s challenging enough that it makes you think about what you have to do if you want to collect everything in one go. The music is also simple, but it fits well with the colorful and bright nature in the game. I personally recommend that if you play this game, you should play it in tablet mode. A lot of the puzzles work a lot better on the touch screen vs having to hold down a button and drag the right analog stick. I would say my biggest complaint in the game was the camera. It worked fine in the beginning levels well enough, but I found myself constantly changing the zoom and maneuvering it around just so I could make sure Toad wasn’t about to walk off a ledge.
In the end, Captain Toad is simple. You can see it in the levels, hear it in the music, and feel it in the overall atmosphere of the game. But that’s not to say it’s a bad game, quite the opposite in fact. While simple, I had lots of fun, and after finishing a level, I just wanted to dive into another, and another right after that. So, my verdict? Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a chill game that’s great to play if you just want relax and have fun. The overall vibes from the game are light hearted, and you typically won’t find yourself getting frustrated with the puzzles.