Hands-Off Preview: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – A Hidden Gem

on July 24, 2014 10:00 AM

Super Mario 3D World featured puzzle levels which starred Captain Toad and these stages served as fun little diversions from the madness of the rest of the game. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker takes the basic concept of these extra levels and expands them into a full game. This is a title which takes patience, forces you to think and which also adds a neat co-op experience.

The goal of each stage is to reach a giant yellow star but actually getting to that star isn’t going to be easy, however. Toad is not Super Mario. He doesn’t have the ability to jump and is severely limited in terms of what he can do offensively. Instead, he must rely on his wits to either defeat — or in most cases — run from his enemies.

Although the game has enemies in it, they are not your main focus. This is called Treasure Tracker for a reason. You’ll have to scour the game world to find all manner of hidden goodies. To do this, you’ll have to constantly switch the camera angle around using either the Wii U’s built in gyro-sensor or the right analog stick. Certain secrets will not reveal themselves unless you move the camera to a specific position. While each level may appear simplistic, they hold many, many surprises which are all cleverly hidden.

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The level that we got to see at the recent Nintendo event was the mine-cart level that was shown during Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse event. This level is actually unlike a lot of the levels in the game because the player can actually see what Toad sees in first person on the Gamepad’s screen.

The game has no co-op in the traditional sense but we were all participating during this stage as our Reviews Editor, Allisa, played the level. Since she was focused on the Gamepad screen, which only had a first person perspective, she had a harder time seeing what was around her. Although she could have seen her surroundings better by moving the Gamepad around, it was easier for us to tell her where to aim Toad’s radishes. With the radishes, she was able to kill enemies, grab loot and uncover secrets.

Most of the levels in the game aren’t on rails (literally) like this one. Usually you can freely explore them at your own pace. Although the giant yellow star is clearly visible in most stages, the trick is how to get to it. Since Toad can’t jump, you have to manipulate the world around him in order to raise him to specific platforms. In particular there are some levels with elevators which you can bring up or down. These are typically multi-story elevators which can sometimes lead to their own secrets.

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The game will also feature boss battles. However, since our buddy Toad isn’t a warrior, the boss battles are more about dodging their attacks. Besides a giant monster trying to kill him, the levels still require Toad to find treasures and to collected the giant yellow star.

It’s interesting how Nintendo took a mini-game and made it into a full-fledged title. I also like how this game utilizes the Gamepad and makes it a critical component to finding treasure and other hidden items. The co-op stuff is fun too and reminds me that there is something lost when playing online. Playing with people in the same room with you who are yelling at each other cannot be replicated in an online space.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker may not be a title that people will be talking about as much as some of the others being released but it’s one that’s gotten me to seriously consider getting a Wii U. Finding secrets is something I love to do and I can see myself getting absorbed into this game while trying to find every single little thing. It’s certainly an impressive little title that will hopefully do well.

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Tony has been a gamer ever since he came to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was a kid. He's been a geek since he could draw his first breath and will be one until he draws his last. In addition to video games, Tony loves Comic Books, Anime, Science Fiction and Fantasy. If it's geeky then Tony is most likely into it.