At Nintendo’s NYC office, I was able to get my hands on another upcoming holiday title, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which is a game based off the popular side missions in Super Mario 3D World. To be honest, I’ve been greatly looking forward to this fun, minigame filled title and with my appetite whet from my previous romp I couldn’t wait to jump back in.
For those who may not be familiar with the concept, Captain Toad is a game in which you play as either Toad and Toadette and must traverse through a number of puzzle based platforming levels. The catch is that neither one of them can jump (due to the weight of the knapsacks they carry) and so the player must navigate each level without this ability and make it to the goal, collecting coins and green stars along the way.
This time around I was able to try out three new levels, each with its own gameplay style. The first was a brief but challenging level that tested reflexes and skills through a path made up of blocks that would fall after a few seconds of holding Toad’s weight. There were a few “safety” platforms scattered around that allowed me to rest, restore health and even throw turnips at enemies for safer passage. Thrown right in the center of the level was a boost panel, which forced Toad to run at full speed and made that section even more perilous.
After playing through that level, we moved on another featuring Toadette, who will also be playable in her own unique sections instead of the player choosing between the two at the start of each level. This area was a nice breather as the majority of it revolved around riding on a raft and pelting incoming enemies with turnips. Once that part was over, the final area was easy to navigate and I soon completed it.
Finally, I played a level that was quite a bit more difficult for me, seeing as it was purely puzzle-based. Toadette needed to drop down from a high bell tower, then navigate through bushes and treacherous stretches of foes in order to open the door and reach the goal. I hilariously failed this segment due to my aforementioned terrible puzzle skills but I still had plenty of fun playing.
A noticeable difference between the original side levels in Super Mario 3D World and Captain Toad is the lack of time limit. This creates a much more relaxed pacing that doesn’t force you to make crucial mistakes, and does away with that artificial “push” to hurry in completing levels — you have the choice now in how long you need to beat whichever level.
Another huge improvement on this game is camera control. In 3D World, you could only use the Gamepad’s gyroscope to move the camera, resulting in incredibly awkward positioning at times. Being able to control the camera using either the right analog stick or the gyroscope makes all the difference, and gives proper focus back to the game itself, not having to constantly twist and turn your arms around for that one perfect viewpoint. I did enjoyed using the Gamepad exclusively in certain areas of each level, since it gave me a completely different angle that was often necessary to view hidden paths. Complete off screen is also possible by using this feature.
The more I play Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, the more I become enamored with the title. The sheer uniqueness of each level coupled with the charming graphics, music and characters make for an excellent way to round out the holiday season.