The concept of Captain Toad came from the Super Mario 3D World bonus challenges and given how fun it was, Nintendo decided to make a full blown game out of it.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker starts off very simple to let players understand the controls and how to manipulate the camera to find gems and other passageways. The levels are formatted in a diorama style and players will be navigating around the level to obtain a star to reach the next area, while collecting gems along the way. Players will have to collect a certain amount of gems in order to unlock certain levels later down the line.
Toadette is also playable in her own unique sections of the game, instead of the player choosing between the two at the start of each level. Her inclusion adds even more variety to the already unique gameplay.
Speaking of gems, the addictive nature of collecting gems strangely feels a lot like star ratings that you would see in mobile games such as Angry Birds. Collecting only one or two, at least for me, gave me the urge to go back and find the rest by manipulating the camera to see if there are any hidden passages I haven’t went to yet. I ended up going through every level to collect every gem and completed each bonus mission objective, which you unlock after beating it the first time.
The extra objectives usually pertain to finding Golden Mushrooms, collecting “X” amount of coins and so on. While simple, they extend replayability to a great degree, taking the benefits of said mobile games without the massive drawback of having to pay for certain content or extra items.
Going into controls, the choice between using the analog stick or the GamePad’s gyroscope was a great addition, since using only the latter in Super Mario 3D World was always a pain. I tried to keep my eyes glued to the television when playing Captain Toad (because it obviously looks a lot better there), but it was as if the game was meant for viewing on the GamePad.
It felt a lot more comfortable to use off-screen play rather than the TV screen it honestly as you’ll mostly be looking down to move things around with the touch screen or in some instances blow on the GamePad’s microphone. Unfortunately, because of these mechanics necessary to game completion, using any controller other than the GamePad isn’t possible.
As for the graphics, the high definition really shines through; the colors are very vibrant and really pop out on the television. However, when using off-screen play, the GamePad does make the colors look a little washed out. Disappointing since that’s where your eyes will mostly be spending time on as I explained earlier.
The music in the game is pretty fitting (very cute at times too) and a blast to listen to as you explore the diorama-like worlds.
My favorite feature of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was that I felt in control, and wasn’t timed or pressured to move quickly around the stage. This highly encouraged exploration and experimentation, versus the rushed and overly pressured feeling from the original Super Mario 3D World levels.
I highly recommend this game for casual players and Nintendo fans alike. It’s a title that shouldn’t be brushed over this holiday season. My only real qualm here is that it feels more like a $30 game than a $40 one, so for those who are on the fence you may want to wait for a price drop.