Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's Special Episode DLC is a Sweet Treat
Captain Toad's first DLC proves that the explorer still has much to offer fans of the puzzle game.
Ever since Captain Toad has graced Nintendo games starting in 2013, I’ve had an incredibly soft spot for the happy-go-lucky adventurer. His moon-related appearances in Super Mario Odyssey are a delight and a chance to explore levels. Back when Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker launched on the Wii U, I whipped up my own video walkthrough on YouTube back when Nintendo was claiming copyrights out the wazoo.
When the Wii U game was ported to the Switch, I eagerly gave Nintendo more money for ostensibly the same game. In DualShockers’ review, we gave the Switch port an 8/10 saying…
“Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a faithful port of the Wii U puzzle game — one that makes no compromises for the entirely handheld experience. Despite some missed opportunities that Nintendo could have latched onto, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a game that shouldn’t be missed for anyone looking for a relaxed mental challenge.”
The recently announced and released Special Episode DLC addresses the “missed opportunities” that we thought that Nintendo had missed out on when the game launched last July. Combining the free patch incorporating full-blown co-op with this paid DLC, these 18 new levels reminded me why Captain Toad is a special puzzle game and helps this port stand out from its previous incarnations on the 3DS and Wii U.
Rather than chasing stars this time, the good captain is after shiny crowns. Outside of that, not much has changed in the formula. Levels start out much like the early tutorial levels in the base game, but quickly ramp up in a thought-provoking manner. Some one-off levels appear as well, like the touch block style levels or a mine cart level. I wish these were markedly different than their original creations, but they lean more into familiar territory.
Most of the levels (33% of them, in fact) involve defeating Boos with Captain Toad’s trusty headlamp. Any level with the Boos feels intentionally designed for the newly implemented co-op play. Two headlamps are better than one for quickly disintegrating Boos. From the reminder at the start of each level to the presence of Double Cherry power-ups, it’s practically a requirement to have two characters to succeed in these Boo levels. When a second player takes control, the Double Cherry power-ups disappear, further cementing this design principle. While these levels aren’t grueling when playing alone, it does feel off when playing by yourself.
The five new worlds are an absolute treat: Ranging from a sunken pirate ship to a candyland with molten chocolate lava, it’s fun to see new environments to solve puzzles with Captain Toad unique ground-bound mechanic. Each level has the three diamonds to collect and a special clear option for an additional checkmark. There are no pixelated Toads to find at all though, which is a bummer because that was just one more thing I loved clearing off each level checklist when I played the base game. The labyrinth also returns with a couple of additional surprises to up the ante as you run around collecting coins while being chased by a shadowy mummy Toad.
At $5.99, the price feels right for the levels you get with the pack. It does feel like these should have been a part of the Switch port’s initial launch to help differentiate the game from the Wii U version, but it’s nice to see a five-year-old game get a small chunk of DLC. Hopefully, this paves the way for more and meatier DLC or a full-blown sequel with my favorite incarnation of Toad.