Another day, another Wii U port but this time it’s the diamond in the rough Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. This is a game that came about as a result of Super Mario 3D World where there were mini-levels for Captain Toad to explore and capture stars. These levels were so unique in its formula that they spawned a spin-off game four years ago for Captain Toad.
The genius of Captain Toad is that you are given bite-sized levels that are usually solvable in three to five minutes. The entire level area is shown to you at the beginning of each level and you adjust the camera to view your surroundings. There are many nooks and crannies to be found as there could be a hidden entrance tucked away under a path, behind a wall or anywhere you can think of. You are constantly looking for these hidden areas to not only get you to your goal of reaching the star but to find three hidden gems in each level. These gems are then used to unlock future levels and for those that are completionists why wouldn’t you want to find all the hidden gems? Also, unlike Mario, Toad can’t jump and you are forced with either walking or climbing your way through each level. This adds a bit of complexity to the puzzles but also brings a relaxed playing atmosphere as you can leisurely walk through each level to complete it.
While most levels let you view the entire level at the beginning there are some that like to change up the formula. These include levels that have you traversing in a mine cart along a winding and fixed path. You move along in the cart and shoot turnips at blocks and enemies to both find gems and protect yourself. These levels were a joy to play and a nice mix-up of the traditional type levels. Another type of level that you will encounter is the boss levels that are also different as they usually have you following a path to reach your goal of a boss fight or star. The bosses you play in these levels are just full of animation and detail and are intimidating as they are usually much larger than Toad.
In terms of the differences between the Switch version and Wii U version, they are nearly identical except for the addition of four new levels and a few other additions. Those four levels are modeled off of Super Mario Odyssey levels from Sand, Cascade, Metro, and Luncheon Kingdom. All are fantastic additions and are a true homage to Super Mario Odyssey, but unfortunately, Nintendo also removed four levels at the same time. Nintendo also changed up the gameplay for some levels. As the Wii U had the capability of the gamepad’s touchscreen some levels had you touching the gamepad to move objects around. For the Switch version, this is still the case in handheld mode but when docked it uses the gyroscope from the controller you are playing with to control a cursor on the screen. This does take some getting used to at first and while it isn’t an optimal solution it does what it is intended to do and serves its purpose.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is another marvel of a Nintendo game. It feels right at home on the Switch along with all the other Wii U ports. What makes Captain Toad such a fun game is the cleverly designed levels, the unique way of solving puzzles by moving the camera around and also by the immediacy of beating levels. If you haven’t played this game already for the Wii U then what are you waiting for?
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]