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New Toad title a true treasure

Dec 9, 2014

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Captain  Toad: Treasure TrackerToad, that pudgy supporting character in countless Nintendo games of yore, is probably most famous for his numerous apologies in the original Super Mario Bros. game on the NES. In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for the Wii U, he proves that methodically traversing a level on foot can be just as fun as flying through the air as a raccoon.

Treasure Tracker doesn't quite qualify as a AAA game, but nonetheless, it's the first Nintendo game featuring Toad - who is joined for some levels by his female counterpart Toadette - in the title.

After fans reacted very positively to a few puzzle levels starring Toad in 2013's Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo decided to create a full-fledged game, and Treasure Tracker was borne as a digital-only downloadable game on the Wii U.

Captain  Toad: Treasure TrackerCreated in the same vein as the Adventures of Lolo titles on the NES, Treasure Tracker includes dozens of levels that can only be completed by taking full advantage of the camera, and manipulating objects. The primary objective is to reach the Power Star at the end of the stage, though each level includes Super Gems, which you'll need in order to unlock later stages.

And just like Lolo, Treasure Tracker's protagonists are slow and unable to jump (ironic for a character named Toad!), but this only adds another delicious layer to the strategy involved with completing each stage. A Shy Guy in a Super Mario game could be disposed of with a simple jump, but in Treasure Tracker, it'll take a lot more planning to figure out how to get around or get rid of even the most harmless-looking enemies.

Captain  Toad: Treasure TrackerThe game relies heavily on the camera, which can be turned 360-degrees horizontally, as well as vertically. It may look like you're standing in front of a nondescript wall from one angle, for example, but turn the camera 180-degrees and you'll see that there's a shiny item waiting right behind that wall. The challenge, then, is to figure out how to get to said item, whether that involves breaking the wall, climbing up and over it, or dropping down behind it from another section of the level.

The camera does work wonderfully the majority of the time, though there are a few instances where it doesn't seem to line up the way it should, it's slow enough that it causes a death by enemy, or there's so much going on in the level that it makes it difficult to find the resolution to a particular puzzle.

The game also only has two levels of zoom, and again, while this suffices most of the time, it would be nice to have a third choice between FAR AWAY and EXTREME CLOSE-UP.

Captain  Toad: Treasure TrackerThat nitpick aside, Treasure Tracker is full of charm, and one of the reasons it works so darn well on such a consistent basis is because it doesn't feel like a hardcore, brain-busting puzzle game, even if it is one.

Most players will be able to earn one or two Super Gems as well as the Power Star on most levels without too much trouble. Getting every hidden item, though, will require repeated visits to many stages, but that's at the discretion of the player.

Each level has a secondary objective, such as finishing without taking damage, or earning a certain number of coins. These add yet another layer of optional difficulty to each stage, though it does admittedly feel a tad underhanded that they're only revealed after finishing a level, forcing the player to go through each stage at least twice.

Captain  Toad: Treasure TrackerThe upside to this is that while most levels are relatively small, they're a ton of fun to play through, even on repeated visits. In fact, don't be surprised if you play some levels a handful of times or more before stumbling upon a previously-unseen secret.

Nintendo also did a wonderful job of breaking up any monotony that may rear its ugly head by offering plenty to do beyond the straight-up puzzle levels. Players can revisit a few Super Mario 3D World levels controlling Toad in place of Mario, take on coin rush challenges, or zoom through occasional mine cart stages. There are even some boss levels that could have been disastrous in a puzzle game, but actually work quite well.

Nintendo is clearly eager to spread the love when it comes to its famous characters, and if Treasure Tracker is any indication, Toad is ready for a little star power himself in the future.

 

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Format: Nintendo Wii U
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site: http://captaintoad.nintendo.com

Rating: 8.5 / 10

 
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