Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch has proven to be a better home for many Wii U games than the Wii U, and now the same can be said for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. The adorable puzzle game feels just as creative as it did years ago, and the Switch release is both graphically gorgeous and mechanically sound. There isn’t a whole lot of new content, but make no mistake, this is the definitive way to play Captain Toad.
If you happened to miss the game the first time around, the crux of Captain Toad is solving miniature self-contained puzzle levels. The game plays out as three different books that involve either Toad or Toadette going on an expedition to save the other, and find treasure of course. There isn’t much story, as you’d expect, but a few cute cutscenes do highlight the overall experience. The main attraction here though comes with the brilliant diorama puzzles, each of which feel incredibly unique, and oftentimes sport unique mechanics.
Toad doesn’t have the same skill set as Mario, in particular, he lacks the ability to jump. You’ll need to solve each area by running, pulling items out of the ground, using touch controls to tap enemies, and spinning the camera around to find secret areas. You also have full control over the camera and can swing it around the entire map, as well as zoom it in on Toad. The goal of every map is to collect the star at the end, and each one has three different gems to collect, an extra optional objective, and a hide and seek game that you unlock after beating it.
Captain Toad’s limitations require you to think about how to solve puzzles in different ways, using turnips to throw at items to collect them for example, or having to touch a series of blocks to shift their position and find a way up higher. It’s a challenging game, but never so challenging that it becomes frustrating. It’s not overly difficult to beat every level, but the real challenge comes in getting every gem and completing every objective, something that really requires diligence.
In terms of what’s new, the Switch version of Captain Toad adds on four new levels based on Super Mario Odyssey. Like the other levels in the game, they’re short, but each one uses mechanics Odyssey players should be immediately familiar with. They’re great new additions, and the New Donk City level, in particular, is a blast. It’s just unfortunate that the Super Mario 3D World levels didn’t make it into the Switch version as well, as there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to include them and the new Odyssey ones.
A few other minor changes have been made to the game, like removing platforms that originally required you to blow into the mic on the Wii U GamePad to move, and replacing them with other types of platforms. Just like the original version, you can touch things on the touchscreen to interact with them, like stopping enemies in their tracks. Playing in handheld mode is the ideal way to play Captain Toad because of this, but if you do play in TV mode, there’s a cursor that appears on-screen at all times and you can pull the right trigger to interact with items. A two-player mode is also introduced with the Switch version, letting one player control Toad and the other the cursor to interact with. It’s a simple co-op experience, but nevertheless can be fun if you have two players.
Captain Toad was a good-looking game on the Wii U, but the extra power of the Switch makes the title’s art style really pop. The vibrant and imaginative levels easily make this one of the best-looking games on Switch, whether it’s a port or not. Loading times are practically seamless now too, with the game booting up instantly and levels only taking a few moments to load.
It’s been four years since the original release of Captain Toad, and yet, the game still feels as wonderfully unique as it did then. There’s nothing else quite like it, and the Switch version looks and plays wonderfully. The overall experience is a short one, but there’s plenty of replayability, and it’s an experience that any Switch owner should jump on.
Score: 4/5 – Great
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