A Diamond in the Rough?
Originally released on the Wii U back in 2014, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was re-released on the Nintendo Switch and 3DS last year. The aim of the game is to solve puzzles as either Toad or Toadette in a 3D “platforming” (more on those quotation marks later) format and to collect diamonds along the way. I recently got my own copy of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – after choosing it over Yoshi’s Crafted World – and this is what I thought of it.
Described as ‘diorama’ – “a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures”, the levels found in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker are complex enough to keep you busy whilst still being accessible to any-level gamer. The game is comprised of 3 episodes, the first 2 contain 18 levels and the 3rd has an impressive 28. Along with this, once you have competed the 3 episodes there is an additional “bonus” tab that features levels inspired by Super Mario Odyssey as well as reissues of levels from the previous episodes however this time around, you are in control of not 1 but 4 Toads, making the whole thing a logistical nightmare. There is also optional DLC for the Switch version, so as you can see there is plenty to keep you busy.
Each level has a different theme, many of which are familiar to fans of previous Super Mario incarnations as they feature the likes of Shy Guys, Boos and Bullet Bills. The only thing making these obstacles trickier is the fact that Toad can’t jump… meaning it’s not as simple as jumping up to grab the star. Instead, Toad (or Toadette) must solve puzzles to allow access to the star and optional diamond collectables. If you think you might need help figuring out the puzzles though, don’t worry! It’s so easy to include a friend in the game using the second Joy-Con, just switch to 2-player mode during any part of the level. By doing this, you then have 2 Toads navigating the level to help you reach that all important star. My only issue with 2-player mode is that although the levels are small and you are mostly able to see the entire thing from one position, there are secret passage ways and hidden entrances that will remain hidden unless you turn the camera around 360° using the Switch’s shoulder buttons. As you can imagine, having 2 players with free control over the camera, switching views can be quite frustrating. One moment you’re carefully traversing over a narrow ledge and the next you’re watching your player 2 shoot through a pipe because they’ve decided that they need to see what they’re doing now. In fairness though, I don’t think this game would work with a split screen mechanic.
To me, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker feels like the game that keeps on giving. When I had completed all 18 levels in episode 1 and the credits rolled, I genuinely thought I had finished the game and had overpaid for something like 2 hours of gameplay. I was pleasantly surprised to receive another 50+ levels to explore after this. It is a simple, relaxing game with beautifully designed levels that are challenging without becoming mundane or taxing. It feels like a deserving addition to the Super Mario franchise and I look forward to hopefully one day, receiving a sequel. Although I am yet to play Yoshi’s Crafted World, I am confident that my decision to purchase Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker over it, was the right one.
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